Archive for August, 2010

Jews, Muslims, Christians, and the National Football League

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

The religion of football often conflicts with actual religion.

Before getting to actual religion, Favrewatch 2010 has now concluded. The grizzled 40 year old veteran looked in the mirror, saw his (bearded stubbly) shadow, and now he is playing six more months of winter football. Thank the (football) heavens.

http://www.nfl.com/trainingcamp/story/09000d5d819d7d11/article/favre-not-100-percent-healthy-but-hes-fully-committed-to-vikes

Now that # 4 is back, new religious football conflicts abound.

There is an old joke about a Christian minister who goes golfing on Sunday and skips church. He gets a hole in one, but an observer wryly points out “who can he tell?”

A song by the late Jerry Reed called “The preacher and the bear” involves a minister who goes hunting on the sabbath when he should be preaching as well. A bear chases him up a tree. The minister says to God, “If you can’t help me, at least don’t help that bear.”

For Jews and Muslims, September of 2010 brings the holiest days of our calendar.

For the Israelites (also known as Hebrews, the descendants of Jacob), the Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah begins at Sundown on September 8th, goes through the 9th and 10th, and ends at Sundown on the 10th.

For the Mohammedans (the sons and daughters of Ishmael), the holiest day is the end of Ramadan. Due to certain calculations, Muslims are not yet completely sure if that day falls on the 9th, 10th, or 11th.

While there is much conflict between various people of different religions, one thing that can unite people across all strata and stripes is the National Football League. I don’t care what God you believe in, even if the answer is none. If you are a good person, you are welcome in my home on an NFL Sunday.

Being an NFL player can often be difficult for deeply religious players. Some religious Christians walked away from lucrative NFL contracts because they did not want to play football on their holy Sabbath Sunday. The Reverend Billy Graham has lamented that the Super Bowl is played on Sunday.

Glen Coffee is only 23 years old, and was entering his second season with the 49ers. Out of nowhere, he just quit football. He said that he felt that God wants him to spend his Sundays engaged in Christian activities. Raiders running back Napoleon Kaufman left the game in the prime of his career to focus on his ministry work.

This is not crazy. People putting God first are not being hypocrites. They are being the exact opposite.

For deeply religious Christians, every Sunday is a holy day. The decision to play or watch football can be a sincere spiritual struggle.

(Although to the best of my limited knowledge, nothing in Christianity specifically prevents such activities.)

Christianity tends to be more faith based, while Judaism and Islam are more legalistic. Specific issues are often explicitly spelled out, whether we like it or not.

Islam has the holy month of Ramadan. One Muslim player on the Minnesota Vikings is balancing Ramadan with playing in the NFL.

http://www.vikings.com/news/article-1/Abdullah-Awaits-Ramadan-Fast/61f6b6cb-6275-40c5-93bb-61ca8a5dc270

Husain Abdullah plays safety for the Vikings. During Ramadan, which falls early in the NFL season this year, he will not be eating any food or drinking any water from sunup to sundown. He can eat breakfast around 5am, and then have dinner around 8pm. Every day for 30 days, he will fast for 15 hours.

He will also be playing football. Like other religions, Islam would allow an exception if his life was at risk. He and the Vikings are working with team nutritionists and doctors to prevent this.

I truly admire Mr. Abdullah’s devotion to his faith and his profession.

Judaism is a little more complex than Islam because on the Sabbath Saturday, work is explicitly prohibited. Religious Orthodox Jews would most likely never make it to the NFL. The games are on Sundays, which is fine. However, the years of preparation would be prevented because high school games are played on Friday nights and college games are played on Saturdays.

One Orthodox Jewish person does have a Super Bowl ring from his playing days, but Alan “Shlomo” Veingrad did not become religious until he stopped playing. His journey is also inspiring.

http://tygrrrrexpress.com/2010/02/meeting-alan-veingrad/

So many people have had to balance their religious faith with sports. While the athletes have the real hard decisions, it is tough for fans as well.

Many Christians have to decide whether to go to church or watch their favorite NFL team on Sundays. Some people try to sneak walkmans into the services. It is tough.

The late Larry Miller used to own the NBA Utah Jazz. He was a devout Mormon, and even when his team was in the NBA Finals with a chance at a championship, he would skip their games that fell on Sundays. For a man to miss his own team play is tough, but his religion came first.

The late New York Jets owner Leon Hess had to miss a game against the rival Giants because of Yom Kippur.

Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders is Jewish, as are some other owners. They all have varying stances.

For me as a fan, balancing the NFL and my Jewish holy days is always a struggle.

In college, The Raiders played the hated Kansas City Chiefs on Yom Kippur. I taped the game, and 24 hours later, after avoiding all people and newspapers, just as I was about to watch the game, somebody ruined it for me. No good deed goes unpunished.

The spirit of the law in Judaism says that on holy days, activities such as football should not be partaken. The letter of the law prevents turning the television on. Those obeying the letter but not the spirit of the law can just leave the television on the whole time.

My grandfather was an Orthodox Rabbi and a New York Mets fan. After services, I would be the heretic grandson who would “forget” and “accidentally” turn the tv on. My grandmother would admonish me all the while knowing that I knew, and was taking heat for grandpa. My attitude was that he has suffered enough. He was Jewish and a Mets fan. Let him watch. My grandmother took a more literal interpretation of the Old Testament, which did not allow exemptions for bad teams.

One year the Raiders were at the Steelers, and Yom Kippur fell during halftime. On Yom Kippur we fast for 24 hours. My friends and I stuffed ourselves silly in the first half. Since the tv was already on, we watched the second half, and then raced to synagogue.

People who do not understand football can minimize this struggle as selfishness, but most good people want to do the right thing. They want to be good before God, but simply care about their sports. The argument of “nobody is getting hurt” falls flat to religious people who point out that disobeying God is hurtful in itself.

On September 9th, 2010, I have a tough decision to make. The 2010 NFL Season kicks off with a spectacular Thursday night extravaganza. The game is a rematch of last year’s NFC Title Game. The Minnesota Vikings travel to play the New Orleans Saints. Brett Favre will be playing quarterback for the Vikings.

Favre agonized for months on whether to play in this game. I will be agonizing for weeks on whether to watch the game.

The game falls on Rosh Hashanah. The laws of Judaism are very clear.

I could be a phony and have somebody else turn on the tv for me. The problem is that asking somebody to do this is prohibited. They have to somehow guess. Many homes have non-Jewish helpers to work the electricity so the family does not have to do so. I do not have one.

I know how Favre feels. Everybody is insisting that he knew all along what he was going to do, even as he insisted that he really did deliberate long and hard.

Everybody who knows me insists that my mind is already made up, but it is not.

One year when the NFL opener fell on Rosh Hashanah, I figured out that Maloney’s Sportsbar was across the street from the local synagogue. I calculated months in advance when the breaks in the games and the services were. I ran back and forth like Mrs. Doubtfire, switching my Yamulkah (Jewish skullcap) for my Raiders baseball cap. I occasionally got confused about whether I was in the sportsbar or the synagogue. The letter of the law was obeyed, but the spirit of the law was bent severely if not completely broken.

As September 9th rolls around, I really want to see # 4 the Gunslinger make the Vikings game against the Saints a spectacular event. I also do not want the lord to shove a flamethrower up my hide for watching the game on Rosh Hashanah.

Yet is just showing up in synagogue good enough if I am thinking about the game anyway? I know the game would enter my mind. So in a sense I would still be violating the spirit of the law because I would be distracted from the whole purpose of going to synagogue, even if I am physically in the building.

Of course, some could see that as a rationalization to stay home.

For those wondering, yes, Jews on occasion really do analyze everything to death. As a kid I worried that my violating the religious laws would cause my team to lose, although it now seems that God likes the teams with the bigger and better players.

If Brett Favre were Jewish, maybe he could convince the NFL Commissioner to reschedule the game. I am going to take a great leap of faith and guess that Favre’s home of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is not a hotbed of Jewish activity.

I have a tough decision to make. I honestly do not know what I am going to do.

I will figure it out, and life will go on. Judaism has thrived for thousands of years, and the NFL has been around for over a century.

They are both older than me, but perhaps an ounce of wisdom will allow me to find a creative solution.

To those who place their religion above sports, I applaud you.

As much as I love navel gazing, it is time to put my thought process with this issue on lockdown.

I am a Jewish football fan. Something has to…and will…give.

eric

Ideological Bigotry Part XXVII–Jews, Gays and Republicans

Friday, August 20th, 2010

My purpose in the blogosphere is to end Ideological Bigotry, especially in my own Jewish community. Once again a liberal Jew in need of cranial-glutial extraction surgery condemns bigotry while offering her own version of bigotry.

It started with a headline in a Jewish newspaper.

“Gay anti-Israel group to march in Montreal
by Jta Newsalerts on Monday, August 9, 2010 at 12:20pm

For the second consecutive year, the protest group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid will march in Montreal’s Gay Pride parade.”

At first this started as typical anti-Semitism. I don’t have time to take on anti-Semitism, especially from imbeciles. The group needs a simple reality check, since they are flawed on so many levels.

First off, there is nothing in a person’s sexuality that has anything to do with politics or religion.

Secondly, the word “queer” is a slur, and most respectable gay organizations don’t use it. If this group wants to be taken seriously (doubtful), they may wish to enter the world of adulthood.

Lastly, there is no correlation between sexuality and intelligence. If these people had an ounce of the latter, they would know that Israel is the most tolerant country of gay people in the Middle East. The left-right divide in Israel is about security. It has nothing to do with social issues. Avi Lieberman is considered the far right-wing, yet he favors gay marriage.

If this group wants to fight for gay rights (or queer rights in their case), they may wish to take on Libya or Iran. Amageddonijad bragged that there ar no gay people in his country. Of course there are no gays. He executes them. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” carries on extra important meaning.

Maybe these people are like the guy from “Life is Beautiful” who points out that everyone hates somebody, so he is now against spiders and Visigoths.

Or they are just anti-Semites who happen to be gay. Their sexuality is irrelevant in this case because nothing in the facts would justify hating Israel based on gay issues.

I had zero interest in this story other than beyond the idiocy of it. Then a woman named Susan Sholin stepped in.

I have never met Susan Sholin. She is some random Facebook person who commented on the article. I know nothing about Susan Sholin except the one sentence she wrote.

All I know is that the Susan Sholins of the world are screwing up Judaism, and poisoning the well of society. I don’t expect her to apologize, because liberals don’t do that. She is so positive she is right that an apology would be impossible.

She is most likely a lost cause of a human being. I have long since given up trying to change people. I now prefer to use them as foils to educate the reasonable people who may not always agree with me, but believe that all bigotry is wrong.

So what does this Susan Sholin woman have to say about the gays attacking Israel?

“Gay and anti Israel is like gay Republicans only worse. Totally disgusting.”

I agree with the totally disgusting part. Ms. Sholin is totally and completely disgusting.

I am still amazed at the creative ways liberals bring Republicans and political conservatives into the conversation in the form of cheap shots regarding issues that have nothing to do with them.

Maybe if Ms. Sholin would have the cranial-glutial extraction surgery she would realize that it is leftists who are attacking Israel. This gay group is a leftist group.

So on the one hand Ms. Sholin is troubled by a group attacking Israel. She responds by bashing Republicans.

In her world, it is easy to figure out why she does this.

Start with Pauline Kael, rumored (disputed) to have said, “I don’t know how Richard Nixon could have won. I don’t know a single person who voted for him.” He won 49 states. She lived in Manhattan on the Upper West Side.

Now go to Harry Reid, who said the other day that “I don’t know how any Hispanic could be Republican.” He needs to meet Marco Rubio, who wants lower taxes and dead terrorists. Cubans have been Republicans for decades, and the reasons make perfect sense.

Now Susan Sholin cannot grasp how any gay person could be Republican.

I am going to explain this for the complete and utter myopia that affects leftist dolts.

Being a Republican means belonging to a right of center political party. Being a conservative means having a right of center political ideology. Neither of these groups have anything to do with skin color, religion, or ethnic background. When the IRS sends out tax refunds, they do not know if the recipient is Pakistani, Laotian, or even some exotic blend of species like Californian.

Liberals do not understand the concept of a political philosophy because they lack one. Hating Republicans and conservatives is the glue that binds them together. This is how cutting taxes is racist, and a plane crash that kills people can be lamented on the left only because Sarah Palin and George W. Bush were not on it.

The left cannot grasp that we don’t want to kill liberals. We don’t root for and openly cheer their deaths. We just want them to shut up and stop being a bunch of whining crybabies. This is not just ideological. It is about peace and quiet. We don’t work hard all day so we can come home to complaints.

The left will ask the usual questions about why I make such a big deal out of this.

Susan Sholin’s bigotry matters because she is hurting her own cause.

Many Republicans are passionate about cutting taxes and killing terrorists. Their is broad agreement among conservatives and Republicans on those issues. On social issues, there is a range across the entire spectrum.

When Ms. Sholin lumps all Republicans together, she ignores the fact that many Republicans are either supportive of gay marriage, indifferent to it, or against it but very dispassionately. Rather than reach across the aisle, she chooses to be a leftist bombthrower and miss out on the chance to gain new allies.

I mean why on Earth would I want to work with this viper when she has started the conversation by demonizing me?

The Log Cabin Republicans are the premiere gay Republican group in America. They are great people. I have met many of them, and partied with them.

(I am in a relationship now, but let me tell you, Log Cabin Republican parties are a great way to meet hot heterosexual Republican women.)

The Log Cabin Republicans do not even agree on gay marriage amongst themselves.

It is not that the left disagrees with us. They despise us so much that they can’t possibly see how anybody could disagree with them, especially if they are a minority. Black, Jewish, and gay Republicans are targeted for vicious abuse. I know.

Susan Sholin is a disgrace to Judaism. She needs to learn the song “To love your fellow Jew…just the same as you…that’s the basis of our holy Torah.”

I am a Jewish Republican, and I have friends who are Jewish gay Republicans. If she chooses to hate them, that is her problem.

It is possible to be liberal without being hateful. Too many liberals just refuse to try.

I condemn the gay anti-Israel group for their stupidity, and Ms. Sholin for exacerbating the problem. We could have been allies, but she is too hateful to work with.

I say to her what I say to the world.

Hineni. Here I am. Republican, conservative, Jewish, proud of it, and here to stay.

Deal with it.

eric

The Pelosiraptor and the Ground Zero Mosque

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

In an effort to spread a worldwide Caliphate, Radical Muslims are trying to build a mosque at Ground Zero.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/builders_leave_door_open_to_unholy_NadIfsGSyhBFOmsS7S2QOL

In an effort to spread liberal hegemony and defeat conservatism, the Pelosiraptor is assisting them.

The mosque must be stopped. So must the Pelosiraptor.

It is so hard to tell the Jihadists from the leftists. They both have the goal of eradicating American society and replacing it with their own version of utopia. They both know that this is their last and best chance for victory. Once conservative retake the country, both of them are done, at least in the short run.

The Pelosiraptor  is trying to save her speakership. In a desperate attempt to try and intimidate opponents of the mosque, she is now talking about investigating those who are against the mosque.

She is claiming that she just wants to know where the money is coming from. She wants to know who is funding the opposition.

She sounds so reasonable in her own mind, but let’s get to the truth. Her goal is not transparency or disclosure. It is about harassing and intimidating political opponents. This is what she does.

When the Tea Party movement became effective, she started accusing them of violence and racism, even though mainstream Tea Party attendees repeatedly disavowed both of those approaches. She never called out the violence and the racism on the left, which was captured for all to see. The left got caught doing it, but were excused. The right was accused of doing it but was never caught.

If Nancy Pelosi really wants transparency and disclosure, then let’s make it fair and equal, since liberals love fairness and equality.

Everybody on both sides of the mosque controversy should be disclosed.

She wants no part of that. Nobody on the left does. She does not want to find out that the proponents of the mosque are being funded by entities who hate America’s guts. Hamas, Hezbollah, and George Soros could very well have their hands all over this.

(Thank you Rush Limbaugh for calling it the “Hamasque.”)

Who is most likely funding the opposition? For one thing, 9/11 victims.

One group who has admitted being against the mosque is the Anti-Defamation League. This is important because when Abe Foxman and liberal Jew actually grow a pair and stand up for something, then you know it is serious. They support virtually everything the left says and does. If you do not have the ADL on your left side, you are in trouble.

I would be happy to pit 9/11 victims and many in the Jewish community against Arab terrorists any day.

I say let’s get a bipartisan commission together right now. Everything should be publicized on television. Every single dollar should be traced from every single source.

The Pelosiraptor does not want this fight, not in a million years.

The left is getting so desperate that they want to tell the right not to “politicize” the mosque. We should be “principled.”

I oppose this mosque on principle. Republicans should not even think of backing down on this one. This mosque should be in every campaign commercial.

The left will accuse us of being divisive. Wrong. The Radical Islamists and their “peaceful” supporters of this mosque are trying to divide America, and the left are letting them due to a common goal of hating American conservatives.

Let the left enable the terrorists. Yes, I said it. They are enablers. I will side with the 9/11 victims.

On this issue, the right is right, and the left is embarrassingly and disgustingly wrong. As is typical with the Pelosiraptor, they are dishonestly wrong.

They want us to back off because we have the ability to club their heads with this issue.

Conservatives need to start clubbing now. Club early, often and repeatedly.

Defeating this mosque is right on every level.

The left wants President George W. Bush to rescue Barack Obama by defending him. That just reinforces his rock solid credibility on the issue of terrorism, which we can now all globally admit he possesses.

My message to the Pelosiraptor on this phony issue of transparency is the same message the Dub gave the terrorists.

Bring…it…on.

eric

Defeating the Ground Zero Mosque With Honor

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

I will not be covering the Rod Blagojevich story because it is far from over.

Personally if the entire world was like me (thank heavens they are not), everything would be put on hold for the Brett Favre press conference. # 4 will have to wait until the weekend, when sports trumps politics.

For some reason, some people consider issues other than Favrewatch. Therefore, I am sticking to the second biggest story of the day.

Many decent Americans of all stripes are against building the Ground Zero mosque.

Many misguided leftists are in favor of building it.

I use the word misguided because I do not think the supporters of building the mosque are evil. I think they have their heads up their hides. A mosque is not a threat to them. They would rise up in protest if something truly dangerous to them was being built, such as a Christian daycare center.

As expected, the left is accusing people against the mosque of being bigots. Leftists is as leftists does. Anybody to the right of Leon Trotsky or the Pelosiraptor is unsurprised by the accusations. Being called bigoted by leftists is boring at this point. It is like being called ugly by Helen Thomas. It means nothing.

I believe the builders of the mosque build it at their own peril, since it will most likely be blown up.

While I am totally and unequivocally against that approach, to ignore the possibility would be naive.

The left lives in a world where everything they say and do is virtuous and noble and principled, while everybody disagreeing with them is either evil, stupid, or both. This is not new. They usually begin sentences on the left by saying something condescending like “I don’t see how anybody could possibly (insert issue of disagreement)…” Of course they don’t. That would involve tolerance, which in their world means agreeing with them always or being terrorized.

There is an honorable way for good people to defeat the mosque project. It involves using the tactics of the left, although for a significantly more decent cause.

The only thing liberal bullies respond to is force. Force can mean military. In this case it means financial pressure.

Liberals love to roam the streets yelling insipid comments like “no justice, no peace!” They boycott companies for sport.

It is time for anybody and everybody associated with building the mosque to be financially pressured.

Bill O’Reilly alluded to this in a very roundabout way by saying that he did not think any construction company would take the job. I am not so sure he is right. It only takes one company to say yes. After all, al-Qaeda killers do find lawyers (usually imbecilic liberal Jews) to defend them.

One lawyer can defend a client. Building a building takes many people.

Everybody from crane operators to cement makers to widget producers should be under the microscope. If we find out that cement company A is bringing the cement for the job, then every other homeowner and business should go with cement company B.

Liberals will call this intolerance, because such tactics are only allowed when they are the ones doing them.

Politicians should be pressured as well. Liberals will complain (everything they say and do involves complaining, so tune it out as one would any white noise. White noise is not a racist expression. Look it up.) that this involves using the mosque as a political issue. It is a political issue, and the politicians up for election in 2010 will quickly see why the mosque is a bad idea. Elections help politicians “get religion.”

(See Harry Reid)

Politicians advancing the idea are either not up for reelection yet (Barack Obama) or leaving office anyway (David Paterson can say whatever he wants, he is now untouchable, and yet even he is troubled by the location).

The Ground Zero mosque should be in every political commercial across America. If Democrats truly have the courage of their convictions (try not to laugh when saying that), they will loudly justify why they support it. I predict they will fold like Harry Reid.

Back to the boycotts. I predict that companies involved in the building will be too gutless to admit their roles. They will try to keep their involvement secret. People should flood the justice department with Freedom of Information Requests until Attorney General Eric Holder has no place to hide. Barack Obama can claim executive privilege and national security to try and keep the information secret. Let’s see how well that works.

Violence is not the answer. The answer is a dose of good old fashioned free market economics. Make companies financially bleed if they help build this mosque.

When the left inevitably tries to hurl bigotry charges, offer to contribute money to any company who builds mosques within 100 feet of the residences of Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Barbra Streisand, and every other liberal imbecile who preaches tolerance but doesn’t really mean it.

Actually, to really enrage them, again, I keep coming back to Christian daycare centers.

If enough Americans role up their sleeves, this mosque will not get built. The only nails being hammered will be the ones in the metaphorical coffins of those who supported this wretched project.

eric

The Ground Zero Mosque–What Nobody is Factoring In

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

I have been asked by many people why I have not covered the Ground Zero Mosque.

The simple answer is because the issue is so painfully obvious to anybody who is not a Jihadist or leftist that my words would be wasted. When it comes to analyzing Radical Islamists, American liberals need to be slapped upside the head by Jack Nicholson as he does his best Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, yelling, “You can’t handle the truth!”

I am not here to preach to the converted or educate the imbeciles of the world. I am here to try and sway those in the middle to come to the right by showing them the utter folly of the left. The Ground Zero Mosque has already caused the middle to recoil in horror, rendering my work duplicated.

Anybody with clear eyes can see that the Islamists in the Middle East will claim victory, fire guns in the air, and celebrate another successful battle in the holy Jihad war against the Great Satan.

Anybody with an ounce of honesty will see that this has nothing to do with “interfaith” dealings. This is one faith dominating all other faiths, which is what Radical Islamists want. Interfaith means having a synagogue and a church in the area.

When some nuns wanted to build a church near Auschwitz, enough people realized that legally right can still be morally wrong. It was insensitive, and the church got scratched. Even if the intentions of the builders was noble (it isn’t), true sensitivity means recognizing the feelings of others.

(Jayson Blair Times Spinster Maureen Dowd once commented about Cindy Sheehan that a grieving mother had an opinion that was “absolute.” She does not seem to hold the same view of 9/11 moms who have lost loved ones, since most of them are not leftists.)

Spending time analyzing Barack Obama is a waste of time. The man is gutless. First he proudly stands up for the right to build the Mosque.

(No, I do not think he is a closet Muslim. He is just a guilty leftist who loves the smell of his own rumpus.)

Then when he saw the reaction of the American people, he instantly backed down and said that he was commenting only on the legality of building the Mosque, not the morality of it.

This is garbage, even by Obama standards of being full of garbaggio. Legality was never the issue. We all know (or should know) that the permits were in order.

(Ironically, everybody in New York outside of Islamists have difficulty getting permits for anything. Try getting a zoning permit for a hot dog stand without bribing 30 different people.)

Barack Obama is the defective leftist superhero who was created when Platitude Man and Captain Obvious had a baby.

(Do not make a gay joke out of this, Captain Obvious could be female. You are all either homophobes or sexists for thinking whatever you were thinking.)

If a presidential candidate is asked about abortion, and they respond that it is a “complex moral issue,” that does not tell you where they stand. Barack Obama had a pro-Muslim position in front of a Muslim group, and a different position for non-Muslim America watching television. That is who he is, for those who forgot his various stands on the Israeli security fence depending on who he was lecturing.

President Obama then got defensive when people had the nerve to point out how full of hot air he was. Not only did he not comment on the morality, but he was now explicitly refusing to comment on it.

Mr. President, you should comment on it! Stop being gutless. Take a stand one way or the other. Stand for something. You have an opinion on everything else, yet on this issue you are more interested in following polls than leading. If you disagree with me, justify your position. Stop hiding.

As shocked as I am to say this, the voice of reason on this issue was Redeye host Greg Gutfeld. He suggested that next to the mosque we should build a gay bar. After all, if this is truly about tolerance, Muslims will accept people different from them who practice a lifestyle forbidden by Islam.

My only objection to Mr. Gutfeld is that I am horrified that he thought about this idea before I did. I am usually good at finding the most offensive solution possible and bragging about it. I concede this round. He figured it out, not me.

Yet there is one very serious issue about the mosque that should be analyzed, and nobody is talking about it. It must be discussed.

This concerns the backlash.

Anti-Islam backlash is occurring in small doses. France just banned the burqa. As I said when it happened, I was not comfortable with that action. However, I understood that Christians worldwide have just had enough of Radical Islam.

I don’t want any innocent people of any faith getting hurt. I remember when 9/11 happened, I was terrified for the safety of my very Americanized Muslim roommate. I did not even want him going out in the street for those first few days. He looked at me and said,”Eric, I’m from Philadelphia.” I looked at him and said, “A nutcase on the street might not know that.”

There were random acts of violence after 9/11, including the fatal stabbing of a Seikh man. Seiks are not even Muslims.

I do not want a single innocent life to be shed. Yet if this Mosque gets built…mark my words…it will be blown up. All the security in the world will not stop it.

There are one billion Christians. It only takes one of them to avenge 9/11 by blowing up the Mosque. I do not blame one billion Muslims for 9/11.

(Although I do blame them for not standing up in this country. Muslim leaders have been tepid at best and insidious at worst.)

I will not blame one billion Christians for one bad actor.

I will say over and over again that I am not endorsing violence.

I am just a realist. If that mosque gets built, it will have a very short life span. It will be blown to kingdom come.

Some will say that to do this would not be very “Christian.” While this is true, again, Christian America has had it.

(The Jews will not do it because they have enough problems, and do not need another reason to be afraid. Christians will not have such fears.)

Christianity and Islam are headed on a collision course. Muslims hate references to the Crusades, but Christians have realized that being nice has not worked. Their attitude is that either Radical Islamists knock it off, or Crusades Version 2.0 gets unveiled. It starts by letting Islamists know that Ground Zero will not ever be Islamist territory.

People will spend millions if not billions to build a building that will be reduced to rubble faster than one can say Twin Towers.

Some liberals lamented that to rebuild the Twin Towers would be a bad idea because it would be “asking for trouble.” So is building the mosque.

A rich person wearing expensive jewelry in a poor neighborhood does not deserve to get robbed. A woman wearing a short skirt in a bad neighborhood does not deserve to be raped. Yet in both cases the victim would be exercising bad judgment.

Blowing up the Mosque would be legally and morally wrong. Building it is still bad judgment.

Those insisting on building it do so at their own peril.

eric

First Self-Praiser in Chief Praises Self

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Give President Obama credit. After all, if you don’t, he will give it to himself anyway.

When things go wrong, the First Blamer in Chief wags his finger and blames people. He talks about teachable moments, when the only one needing to learn is him.

Yet when things go right, which has rarely happened during his leadership, he becomes the First Self-Praiser in Chief. Naturally, this is done in a press conference, because his lack of doing is compensated by an overdose of talking.

For those who do not remember, an explosion aboard a BP oil rig on April 20th killed 11 people and created an environmental disaster of epic proportions.

BP immediately took responsibility and got to work trying to clean up the mess. President Obama spent weeks blaming BP for the problem, which was pointless since they never disputed fault. He grew frustrated because the problem was not being solved, he had no idea what to do, and it was affecting his poll ratings.

He turned to scientists, who theorized about stuff and worked on statistical models.

He was ridiculed for turning to everybody from academics to Hollywood movie stars for answers, refusing to concede that those evil oil businessmen might be the only people to solve the problem.

Desperate for a friendly and reassuring face the people could rally around, he turned to a Walrus looking fellow named Admiral Thad Allen. I have no idea if Admiral Allen knew what he was talking about, but he looked authoritative and sounded competent.

After over three months and much innovation, BP fixed the problem.

President Obama did what anybody would do in that situation. He held a press conference this past weekend to dole out credit.

Naturally, he praised himself. He was on top of everything, and would continue to be on top of everything. Being on top of everything is not difficult to do when the heavy lifting has already been done, but let’s not confuse his speaking with facts.

He praised the scientists, although I am at a loss as to why.

I am not anti-science, which is what the left accuses the right of being whenever we question scientific “facts.” There are plenty of fabulous scientists out there.

Yet in this particular case, the scientists did nothing. They theorized, pontificated, and worked on statistical mathematical models. That is what scientists do. Yet they had nothing to do with solving the oil spill.

Given enough time, it is possible they could have come up with a solution, but BP fixed the problem first.

People should be praised for results, but in typical liberal fashion Mr. Obama rewards intentions.

BP deserves zero praise for fixing a problem they created. They did what they were supposed to do, which was clean up their mess.

Yet Barack Obama deserves as much credit for fixing the problem as he does for winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

The more Barack Obama and his supporters prop him up, the more he looks foolish when people cut through the fog and realize that on this issue, he did nothing.

He was not on top of things. His supporters argued that he was simply because he said so.

This was a debacle. Mr. Obama got lucky. What would have happened if BP had not fixed the problem? Most likely, the scientists would still have been theorizing, and he would have just gotten angrier and blamed everybody else.

Barack Obama, like any other man, deserves full credit for getting things right and solving complex problems when he actually does so.

The more he continues to try and take credit for things that have nothing to do with him, the more he turns into the boy who cried wolf.

Mr. Obama did not cause the oil spill. He did not solve it either.

He did what many people did. He sat and watched, and hoped for the best.

He ran on a platform of hope. In this case hope meant crossing his fingers that somebody would bail his hide out of a political dropping in the polls. Nobody accused him of causing the problem. They just knew he did not have any solutions.

Lady luck came through for him on the oil spill. He will not be so lucky on the economy or foreign policy.

If he does some things right, he will get the credit.

He needs to stop giving it to himself.

The people are not fooled, and they haven’t been in months.

Results will change that. Self-adoring press conferences will not.

eric

Raiders Recap–Preseason 2010 Week 1

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

After 6 months, NFL Football has returned, at least in preseason form.

Screw hyperbole. I am already in midseason form. Let’s play some football.

The Oakland Raiders went to play the Dallas Cowboys at the Jerry Jones metropolis.

http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2010081253/2010/PRE1/raiders@cowboys

On paper this would appear to be a complete mismatch in the regular season. A bad team on the road playing a team with Super Bowl aspirations. It has all the makings of a Dallas blowout. So as tempted as I am to keep reminding people that preseason means nothing, I will try to gleam some information from a game that had positives and negatives for the Silver and Black.

Over the last several years the Raiders have had a decent defense but a pathetic offense. Even an average offense would make this team a .500 team, but the offense has been awful, with few if any black and silver linings. The defense would get exhausted from having no help, and the Raiders would collapse in the fourth quarter of winnable games.

One analysis of this game would say that the trend continued.

Jason Campbell had the Raiders going three and out, a couple of deep balls failed, Jim Plunkett and Tom Flores recalled the glory days while praising Shane Lechler, and Tony Romo moved Dallas down the field with ease.

Another analysis was that the Raiders hung tough, and the defense did look impressive with 5 sacks in the first half. Back to back sacks on Romo kept the Cowboys out of the end zone for the entire game.

By the time both teams pulled their starters on offense, the Cowboys led 3-0. It is impossible to say for certain of the Cowboys would have won a blowout had they stayed in, or if the Raiders still would have hung around.

Darren McFadden was held out of the game as a precaution due to injury. Michael Bush ran well, but we need to see McFadden. Backup quarterbacks Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye were also injured, allowing Kyle Boller to get plenty of playing time.

The backup quarterback for Dallas is John Kitna, so technically when Romo left the game they still had a veteran leader on the field. Only when the 3rd string quarterback came in did the Cowboys truly have a backup playing.

The Raiders did give up chunks of yardage, but in the red zone they clamped down. Despite having no offense, they only trailed 9-0 with 10:40 left in the entire game.The Raiders brought in a back up kicker to try a makeable field goal, which was no good. Sebastian Janikowski is a great kicker, and he will not be replaced.

Coach Tom Cable has very respected Hue Jackson as his offensive coordinator. Yet one play call still has me scratching my head. Campbell had moved the Raiders to a 4th and 1 at the Dallas 30. Cable decided to go for it, which was fine. Yet rather than bang Michael Bush up the middle, Campbell lined up in the shotgun and fired an incomplete pass.

Again, the Oakland defense deserves some credit. One particularly dysfunctional offensive drive followed by a bad punt in the second quarter had Dallas starting at the Oakland 32 late in the first half. On 4th and 1 from the 13, Kitna fired complete, but a perfect tackle led to no gain and the Raiders stopping Dallas cold. In the second half a muffed punt turnover inside their own red zone had Dallas starting at the Oakland 11, but the defense held.

Some would say that since the Cowboys led 9-0 late, the game was effectively over. Even if the Raiders were to come back, it would be meaningless since only backups were playing. Yet the Raiders used to brag about Pride and Poise, which they have lacked in recent years.

Despite trailing 9-0 and having little to zero offense, Boller finally got the team going late. After the third Dallas field goal, the Raiders took over at their own 20. Boller fired 20 yards to Cartwright to begin a 14 play, 5 1/2 minute, 80 yard drive. Bennett than ran for 14 more yards. On 3rd and 10 from the Dallas 46, Boller hit Figurs for 18 yards. On 3rd and 9 from the 15, Boller hit Cartwright for 8 yards. On 4th and 1 from the 7, Boller picked up 2 yards. Boller hit Miller from 4 yards out. The play was initially called incomplete, but reversed on review and called a touchdown. With 5 minutes remaining in the game, the Raiders were within 9-7. It was up to the defense.

The defense did not disappoint. A 3 and out took only 30 seconds and the Raiders had the ball back at their own 36 with 4 1/2 minutes to go. Boller hit Johnny Lee Higgins for 9 yards, and the Bennett picked up 4 yards and a first down. Just shy of midfield, Boller fired a short screen pass to Bennett that he took for 33 yards to the Dallas 18. On 3rd and 2 from the 10, Boller fired incomplete. Cable took no chances this time, with the decision or the person to execute it. Seabass naield the chip shot field goal and the Raiders led 10-9 with 2:24 left. A penalty on the ensuing kickoff had the Cowboys in a deep hole starting at their own 6 yard line.

The Cowboys faced 4th and 1 at their own 30 with 1:21 left. Nicholson hit Johnson for 5 yards. 2 plays later, Nichols fired for Johnson again. The pass was tipped and intercepted by Jerome Boyd, who raced 48 yards for a defensive touchdown. The Raiders led by 8 points with only 37 seconds left.

Dallas took over at their own 20, and on 2nd down Nichols fired deep to Hudgins for 40 yards to the Raiders 40 with 16 seconds left. With 4 seconds left from the 45, Nichols fired deep to the end zone and was intercepted again.

An odd statistic has the Raiders going to the AFC Title Game in 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000. Yet implying they will get there in 2010 is ludicrous. However, if the team breaks the losing streak and is a significantly improved team, maybe this game will matter as a turning point. If the 2010 season is awful, then this comeback meant nothing.

Yes, it was backups. However, the Raiders did show a lot of heart. They did win the game, and that should not be minimized. The Raiders had their 4th string quarterback in there, although he is a former 1st round draft pick.

There is plenty of room to improve, but the Raiders started their preseason on the road with a win. It is a good start. As for the Cowboys, Wade Phillips is already on the hot seat because that is what it means to coach the Cowboys. They have no offensive touchdowns in two preseason games.

As for the Raiders, they got it done in the fourth quarter.

17-9 Raiders

eric

Cathy–Farewell and Good Riddance

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

“Ca-li-forn-ia gurls are un-re-li-a-ble, fro-sted flakes with nuts on top…

Doc-tor Spock would find this song i-llo-gi-cal, oh no oh noooooo…”

For those wondering how the heck Katy Perry (whoever she is) stumbled onto this blog, it is because finally somebody has offered something that is as vacuous and vapid as Barack Obama. Even by California standards, a song celebrating the lack of substance in California has been outdone.

In fact, it might be one of the five most substanceless offerings in the history of words, and the only phrase not offered by Mr. Obama

(Although I can picture him at a Barbara Boxer fundraiser telling the crowd “West Coast Represent!” Boxer would pretend to know what he was talking about.)

The other phrases are “hope,” “change,” “yes we can,” and “Girl Power!”

Ok, I admit it, Mr. Obama did not say the last one. That was the Spice Girls. It is so easy to get confused when one offers meaningless slogans. They all blend in to one giant ball of shallowness.

This brings me to the queen of shallow, a fictional woman who after three decades of babbling and complaining about nonsense will finally be leaving us.

Cathy is saying goodbye on October 3rd for good. Cathy Guisewite (the cartoonist) will still live, but her cartoon character Cathy will go.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/books/13arts-AFTER34YEARS_BRF.html

Men everywhere should high five over this.

I have nothing against Cathy Guisewite. I have never met her. Her comic strip was apolitical, and certainly not mean. She could very well be a lovely human being.

Yet “Cathy” represented everything that could possibly be wrong with women. If one were to take every negative quality about women and somehow combine them into one gigantic disastrous train wreck, Cathy would be it.

(Men have plenty of bad qualities. We just don’t brag about them in print.)

Cathy was neurotic, obsessing over her weight and her inability to get her boyfriend to marry her. Then he did marry her, loved her just the way she was, and she responded by remaining as obsessive and compulsive as ever. Many times poor Irving would wonder what exactly he did wrong, and why she was upset for no particular reason.

For those who want to save hundreds of thousands of dollars on therapy bills, let me help save people money.

Men are literal creatures. If you want to understand us, take the words at face value.

Comedian Chris Rock phrases it in a very tactless manner. “Men want three things…food…sex…silence…feed me, f*ck me, and shut the f*ck up.”

I am going to be more tactful (for once).

I am a simple guy. Think of me as the doll with the string in the back. You pull the string. It only says three or four things. “I’m hungry.” “I’m thirsty.” “I’m sleepy.” “I want to watch the ballgame.”

(It says one other thing but again I am trying to be tactful here.)

If I am upset because my team lost, it does not mean I think the woman in my life is fat or ugly. It really does mean that I get way too worked up over football. Yeah, guys take this stuff hard.

Picture a conversation taking place between couple all across the globe.

Woman: How do I look in this outfit?

Man: (I am never going to get out of this conversation alive).

You look beautiful (a sincere answer).

Woman: What does that mean?

Man (oh dear lord here we go. My evening is about to get ruined.)

It means you look beautiful.

(This is followed by questions that make a presidential press conference after a scandal look like a walk in the park. The man gets in trouble, wondering how a compliment could go so wrong.)

Again, men have plenty of flaws. Belching in public (which I never do…I am civilized) is not a rite of male passage. It is bad manners.

Some guys are abusers. They abuse women physically, sexually, and psychologically. These men should be locked in a cage where guys like myself can beat the daylights out of them while yelling at them, “Stop messing it up for the rest of us!”

The difference is that men actually try to hide their flaws. If they don’t, they should.

Cathy Comic, who I understand does not represent all women (too many of them, even if not a plurality) celebrates the woman as an insecurity driven lunatic. She even bought a dog as a replacement for the baby that would “never” come. I felt for the dog.

Look, if I go bald, I may have to sell my family for Rogaine. Or I can be sane and accept what life offers. I gained a few pounds and did what people should do in that situation…I bought bigger clothing.

Cathy took pride in her neuroses. This had the effect of many women looking at Cathy and thinking, “I can relate, girlfriend.”

This is not something to be proud of. Driving everybody around you crazy because of neuroses is not positive. Cathy cannot and should not ever be accepted as the norm for female behavior. If it is, the war between the sexes will become Armageddon. Ironically, the women will be mad when we try to fight and also when we try to surrender.

Life is about decisions, and most decision matrices have right and wrong decisions. Yet in the world of Cathy, every decision Irving made was wrong. If “A” is wrong and “Not A” is also wrong, is it no wonder that the Irvings of the world beat their heads against the wall?

I know some will claim that I am playing the role of Dan Quayle criticizing Murphy Brown (he was right, Candace Bergen was smug), but Cathy cannot be “just fictional” and also “resonate.”

Too many women today are nuts. Part of it is the feminist mistake of the 1970s that told them that they did not need men.

(Ironically while many of these women became spinsters, the original flaming feminist leaders happily settled into marriage. They also married upward. There is no sin in finding security in wealthy men, but the hypocrisy was typical outraged activist behavior.)

(A deeper irony was that Cathy was no feminist. The feminists probably hated her for caring what others thought.)

Men and women need each other. We are better off when we communicate with each other in a normal manner. This involves listening to each other.

Yet listening and being tolerant does not mean accepting lunacy. I am not your father or your brother or your ex-girlfriend. I am a totally different guy. The fact that a guy with a goatee and glasses made you feel bad 10 years ago does not mean I will.

For those who think I am projecting my own experiences, I have been one of the lucky ones. Most of the relationships I have had have been healthy. We did not get married, but I did not think they needed to be committed to a mental institution. My grandparents were happy. My parents are happy. I am a basically happy guy.

My friends have not always been so lucky.

I just cannot look at Cathy and think that anything positive can come from her bizarre behavior. It certainly does not make for healthy relationships.

Dysfunction does not have to be the norm. Lunacy does not have to be the order of the day. Constant hassles over nonsense does not need to be what life is about.

As one of my male friends, who married a normal (yes they do exist) woman, once said, “I like coming home to her.”

My parents have a refrigerator magnet that says “happiness is being married to your best friend.” I am sure it helps matters that my mother is not crazy.

I will say for the Milli Vanillionth time that there are plenty of things men can do to improve. This certainly includes me.

Yet if women want a good head start on making things better on their end, be the anti-Cathy.

Observe her, and never be like her.

Cathy, you were not a bad (fictional) person. You were never malicious. You had a good heart.

You were just crazy.

You should have been locked up years ago or given enough sedatives to calm you.

After 34 years, maybe it is time for women to observe a better role model. Between a neurotic weight obsessed lunatic and a model stick figure who is an anorexic’s dream, there is a middle ground. A great example would be “Sally Forth.”

Sally is a wife, mother, and ardent feminist. Yet her husband is not a Phil Donahue pansy (although he does hide on the really bad days, which is understandable). Sally is not a ranting, raving momzilla. Sally is a great portrayal of a woman as a moderate feminist…proud to be female, assertive, yet pleasant.

Goodbye Cathy. Do not let the door hit your rumpus on the way out.

As for your rumpus, I have no comment whatsoever. I don’t make any comments where there are only wrong answers that will take years off my life while allowing me to catch your contagious insanity.

As a friend of mine (who happened to be black) said to me a decade ago, “The differences between black and white are nothing compared to the differences between men and women. As long as you are a man, there is a chance I can understand you.”

May gender relations somehow get better before everyone is miserable and all hope for happiness is extinguished.

It starts by celebrating healthy minds and quarantining the damaged ones far away from the dating and marriage pools.

Screwed up people almost never get better. They only drag the healthy people down.

Cathy was not funny. She was destructive.

Goodbye Cathy. Farewell and good riddance.

eric

GOP Convention 2010–Nebraska

Friday, August 13th, 2010

I had the pleasure recently of attending the Nebraska 2010 GOP State Convention.

This was a fantastic experience. While the nearest airport was in Omaha, the convention itself was about an hour away in Fremont.

Fremont has been in the news lately for passing a tough illegal immigration law. They seem undaunted by political correctness, which made the city the ideal location for a group of real conservatives.

For those who want to be incredibly confused, stay at a hotel a mile from the Omaha airport. The town is Carter Lake, Iowa, and Iowans and Nebraskans make it clear they are very different. The rivalry is a friendly one, but a rivalry nonetheless. I asked the hotel people in Iowa where Nebraska was, and they told me to look across the street. From that vantage point, the states looked quite similar.

The convention was held at Midland Lutheran College. This reminds me of a joke that people in Nebraska who I told it too found funny. I stole it from a comedian from 10-20 years ago.

“My family is from a weird sect of Christianity. We’re Lutheran…We worship Lex Luther. Superman is the anti-Christ.”

Anyway, the Christians I met in Nebraska were as normal and friendly as can be. They were awesome.

Before the convention, I made my way to the Omaha Jewish Community Center. I can say with zero hesitation that this was the most impressive JCC I had ever seen. The place was as big as the Taj Mahal. Omaha only has 6000 Jews, but their exhibit on the history of the Jews of Nebraska and Western Iowa was as fascinating as it was culturally enriching for me. They were preparing for the Maccabi Olympic Games. They were not sure how 6000 people could host 1500 visitors, but I suspected they would pull it off just fine. I look forward to making many Jewish Nebraska friends over the years to come.

As for the convention, while it was only one (very lengthy) day itself, the pre and post convention political events were fantastic.

The evening before the convention featured plenty of socializing. The evening started at J’s Steakhouse. Folks, it is one thing to eat a steak. It is another to eat Midwestern beef in the heart of where it originates.

http://www.jssteakhouse.com/

The crowd had a great time, and then migrated to a hotel where the Nebraska Young Republicans were having an ice cream social. I spoke to the group at that function, and they were very friendly. Matt Pinkerton heads the Nebraska YRs, and they are a solid and passionate group. Also in attendance were of course some of the ladies from the Nebraska Federation of Republican Women. Like their counterparts in other states, they were smart, fun, and passionate about their politics.

The day of the convention brought a bunch of great speakers. Taylor Gage is younger than me, but he managed to keep everything flowing smoothly with a combination of skill and adrenaline. Nebraska is lucky to have him.

For those who did not know, Nebraska, like the other 49 states, has two senators. One is a Democrat, and he gets all the attention. Yet Republican Senator Mike Johanns is well liked and well regarded.

While I confess to being fairly in tune with politics, I had no idea who he was. He is one of those calm, thoughtful, quiet guys, that just puts his head down and does his job without fanfare. Several people at the convention told me that this was just Nebraska culture. They took great pride in being workhorses, not showhorses.

I did speak with Senator Johanns for a couple of minutes, and he is as pleasant and thoughtful as described. When I tell some politicians I do not live in their state, they try to walk away quickly. After all, I am not a voter. They are busy. Yet he was very nice, and treated me with the same dignity and respect he would have given to any Nebraskan. I promised him that I would do my part to help fire his colleague from California.

The keynote speaker at the convention was Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown.

Some people only speak to the VIPs who pony up tons of money. Senator Brown came into the lunchroom and stayed for over an hour posing for pictures and speaking with delegates. He was even very dignified when confronted with one of the tinfoil hat people who wants to abolish the Fed and make a certain Texas libertarian Looney Toon king for life. I do not have the patience of Senator Brown, which is why I am not a politician.

Senator Brown stopped by my booth, and it was nice to meet with him. I will not say what he said, but what I said to him is something I deeply believe.

“Senator, if you need to move leftward on some issues, do it. Just get reelected. Massachusetts is not Idaho. I am letting my friends know that when you frustrate us on occasion, it gives you the freedom to stand with us when we really need you most. You will always get hassled by the left, you don’t need it from both sides. Be with us when you can. Just get reelected.”

I hope other people give him positive reinforcement and stop complaining that he is not 100% conservative down the line. He is not a RINO. He is a moderate Republican, and that is far better than a liberal Democrat. Given how well received he was at the convention, I suspect that the Republicans of Nebraska have a healthy dose of intelligent pragmatism to go with their overall conservative ideology.

The Nebraska Republicans had the conservative ideology, but they were not ideologues. They were normal reasonable people, and beyond friendly.

I made friends I will be glad to know for a long time, from the Grothusens in Dodge (for those who make jokes about getting out of Dodge, everything I saw in Nebraska was gorgeous) to First District Chairman O’Dell. Nebraska is luck to have such solid people at the helm.

This convention did not have vitriol or venom. There was concern for America, but not rage. The people simply want a better world for their children, and are capable of expressing this in a peaceful but serious manner. The rest of the country could learn a ton from the Nebraskans I met.

After the convention was a post convention hoe down at Kracl Farms.

http://www.allbusiness.com/companyprofile/Kracl_Farms_A_Nebraska_Partnership/7F545C3DA38EF4F56B1781A1F42B13D3-1.html

For those wondering about the difference between a hoe down, a jamboree, and a jubilee, I was given a basic explanation. Jamborees (and jubilees I believe) involve many different instruments. A hoe down usually is less elaborate in terms of musical instruments. There was a great country rock band, so it was a hoe down.

The name of the band was “Them Other Dudes.” They were talented and hilarious. I asked if there name was “Them OTHER Dudes.” They corrected me and stated it was “THEM Other Dudes.” I suspect they change the pronunciation as it suits them. Any guys that can jam out to “Ghostriders in the Sky” are fine by me.

Kracl Farms is a family business, and the Kracls are nice people. They live on a gorgeous farm with rows of corn stalks as high, long, and deep as the eye can see. This where Nebraska Cornhuskers are born. To watch the sunset over the corn fields is breathtaking.

The corn came from the Kracls, but a Nebraska hoe down requires beef. J’s Steakhouse came through again, and I got to meet owner Jay Siers. Apparently there is a guy who is more passionate about football and dead cow than I am. With the exception of the United States Military, few people warm my heart like those that bring steaks and burgers across America to my dinner table.

The mosquitos were no match for the girl spraying bug spray with the passion of a warrior claiming to love the smell of napalm in the morning.

After dinner a spectacular fireworks show with July 4th leftovers lit up the night sky. This was a better show than most Independence Day fireworks.

Jay asked me how I was enjoying my Nebraska redneck experience. I was in paradise. Sitting with my feet up on the jeep with a couple of guys, a drink in one hand, and guys in guitars playing as we all sang, “It ain’t me…it ain’t me…I ain’t no senator’s son.”

Warren Buffett may be the Oracle of Omaha (who does not allow tours of his corporate offices, I found out by phone), but his cooking skills can’t be as good as the people I met.

Late into the night I did take time to check out Downtown Omaha. It was Saturday night, and everything was rocking. One bar played a combination of hiphop and country music as races danced together in peace. Nebraska is not the lily white state it is made out to be. Yet regardless of race Nebraskans are real friendly.

One of the things that was conveyed to me throughout the weekend was that if people on the coasts think that Nebraskans are hicks and hayseeds, the coastal people can stay there. Yet these people also made it clear that visitors should be treated as friends and given the benefit of the doubt. They were sure nice people existed everywhere.

While politics was the purpose of the weekend, the main thing I kept hearing about was the notion of Nebraska values. A handshake means something. Your word is your bond. Do what you said you would do.

This may seem simple, but sometimes people make things more complex than they need to be.

Near the end of the hoe down, I met Dawn Klein. When I told her I was having such a great time in Iowa and Nebraska, she suggested I come back. I promised I would at some point. By the end of our conversation, some point became right around the corner.

On 9/11, she is helping put together the Freedomstock 9/11 Restore America Rally, the conservative alternative to Woodstock.

http://freedomstock.net/Success_Stories.html

There will be speakers, and I will be one of them. I normally fly into or out of New York on 9/11, and my plan was to fly from New York to Los Angeles.

Now it seems I will be flying from New York to Omaha, driving to Onawa, Iowa, speaking at Freedomstock, driving back to Omaha, and then flying that night to Los Angeles. 9/11 will have me all across America, and I can’t think of a better place to speak on that day than in the heartland.

Jan Mickelson, a fantastic morning dj in Des Moines, will be speaking there. I will be on his program at some point. I have spoken with him before over the internet, and look forward to finally meeting him.

Most importantly, even if it is only for a few minutes, I look forward to trying to fit either lunch or a snack from J’s Steakhouse.

Oh yeah, hanging on the tractor was fun.

May the great people of Nebraska invite me back repeatedly. I will be honored each time.

eric

GOP Convention 2010–Arkansas

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2010 GOP Convention in Arkansas.

I almost didn’t make it to Arkansas. Due to a bizarre set of circumstances, it took me 34 hours to get from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to San Antonio to Dallas, and finally, to Little Rock. After that, the drive to Palm Springs was a piece of cake.

The convention itself was one of the shortest conventions I have ever attended. In less than half a day all of the business was done. In the past Arkansas has even wrapped up the entire convention in only 2 hours, while some states (even small ones) need 3 days. This convention lasted 6 hours at most, but the pre and post convention activities provided plenty of political importance.

The convention itself was in Little Rock, but much of the convention action before and after was in Hot Springs, about 45 minutes away.

In Little Rock, the night before the convention, the gubernatorial dinner took place. The main speaker was Jim Keets, the Republican nominee for Arkansas Governor.

I was not at the dinner because I was speaking to the Garland County Tea Party in Hot Springs.

I cannot praise this Tea Party group enough. Diane Silverman leads this group. In addition to this special pre-convention gathering, she also has meetings Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. She even gets different people at her meetings. The problem with most Tea Party groups is that they hold rallies, have speakers, and then do nothing after the rallies end.

Mrs. Silverman’s group actually follows through. They are backing several candidates, and I got to meet and hear many of them speak. Every Tea Party group in the country could learn from the Garland County group. They are intelligent, passionate, and most importantly, productive with their time. It was an honor to speak to them twice in the same week, before and after the convention.

Two of the candidates the Garland County Tea Party is backing include Rick Davis for Judge and Tommy Thompson for County Assessor. Normally a person way off on the left coast would not care about such local races, but these are good people, and local races get overlooked. Most people never care about the assessor until their taxes get raised through the roof. Most people never focus on judges, then complain when a liberal activist judge blocks the will of the people by judicial fiat. People cannot complain unless they do their part. Check out Mr. Davis and Mr. Thompson.

At the convention itself, my highlight was meeting former Congressman Asa Hutchinson and his wife Susan. Susan Hutchinson is one of the loveliest human beings you will ever meet. She is kind, warm, empathetic, and funny. She is a devout Christian with a deep love for Israel. She and her husband have always supported Israel. No, they did not try to convert me. Like most Christians, their affection for the Jewish people is biblical and noble. There is no hidden agenda.

I have always admired Asa Hutchinson since he was one of the Clinton impeachment managers. I know he did the right thing, and he conducted himself with dignity while the left was trying to trash his reputation to protect another Arkansas fellow in the White House who acted with none.

What Mrs. Hutchinson let me know is that her husband has done many other noble deeds as well. He successfully prosecuted the Aryan Nation in Arkansas. For those who think that nothing has changed in the South, try being a bigot and breaking the law when Asa Hutchinson is coming after you. Bill Clinton was deemed to be the first “black president” by an insulting standard of what that means, but it was Asa Hutchinson who was truly enforcing civil rights in the most important way possible. He broke the Aryan Nation in his state. Like most truly good people, he did this quietly. I am mentioning it because somebody should, and he is too modest to do so.

One of the things I noticed at the convention was how diverse the attendees were. Leftists in the media love to point out the number of Caucasians in attendance at GOP functions, but this convention had plenty of Republicans who happened to be minorities. The number of Republicans who happened to be black was higher than at any other convention I had attended. The treasurer is a black man, and I can tell you that merit is alive and well in Arkansas. I look forward to his gubernatorial campaign in eight years.

A major highlight of convention weekend came at the post convention rally. The Paint Arkansas Red Rally was put together by Garland County GOP Chairman Alan Clark.  had the honor of speaking at the rally, and making friends with Alan was a great experience.

In an act of bipartisanship, Alan had Arkansas radio host Dick Antoine emcee the event.

(Initially I was going to emcee it, but I deferred to Dick. I did not know the politicians, and they deserved proper introductions. Dick provided that in spades.)

Dick is actually a Democrat who voted Democrat in the 2008 presidential election. It may seem odd to have a Democrat host the biggest GOP rally of the weekend, but Arkansas people are very friendly. They don’t get in the gutter across party lines. They take great pride in the honor in which they conduct themselves.

Dick and Alan teased each other, but it really was good natured. Alan did not convert Dick to the GOP, and Dick failed to convert the entire crowd to his side.

Dick’s son Drew Clark chairs the Garland County Young Republicans, and he has them energized. The young man is a workhorse, balancing a couple jobs in addition to his political responsibilities.

One of the candidates for congress was a former Miss Arkansas who is as physically stunning as she is made of steel. A former Army girl with several brothers serving America, she made it clear that Arkansas were not going to be separated from their guns. She is only 5 feet and 100 pounds, but she pointed out that “somebody needs to go to Capitol Hill and look Nancy Pelosi straight in the eye.” She is a former assistant to Mike Huckabee, and Arkansas will be lucky to have her in congress.

Naturally when I spoke to the Arkansas crowd, I pointed out that they were “the loveliest bunch of Astroturf I had ever seen,” and that, “when I heard the Pelosiraptor use the word astroturf in a sentence, I thought that another immoral liberal woman had just admitted to being in Bill Clinton’s pickup truck.”

The keynote speaker at the rally was gubernatorial candidate Jim Keets. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the convention, and I liked his style at the rally. I prefer standing up on the stage in a rigid manner. He easily waded into the crowd and spoke in a style that was pleasing to all involved.

I was surprised and honored when I was summoned to Mr. Keets in front of everybody. I was by myself getting a soda when I was told to get back to the center of the crowd where Mr. Keets was.

He said that I “should go to Capitol Hill and replace Al Franken because you are a lot funnier than he is.”

I am a believer that one should never upstage somebody else, and I was not going to forget that he was the next governor and I was just a guest. So I very gingerly had him move the microphone toward me one last time.

“It was my honor sir. I believe you should come to my home state of California and replace everybody. You can have any job you want.”

I then left the microphone to him, and he lit up the night sky.

After Mr. Keets spoke, musician Rick Roberts played his guitar, doing mostly John Denver covers. The left loves to make GOP and Tea Party rallies out to be violent groups of mob activity, but this was a love-in. I referred to it as Woodstock without the hippies and drugs. You can’t get more peaceful than a group of people singing John Denver songs.

After the rally, Alan took the volunteers out to dinner. Given how awful my sense of direction was, I was glad that one of Alan’s friends is a respected police officer. The officer gave me his personal cell phone in case I got lost. He said he would rather hear from me at 3 or 4am than find out about me. I was told by others that this type of caring is simply what Arkansas is all about.

I got to meet the ladies of the Arkansas Republican Women’s Federated. Their new president is as nice as can be. Their next state convention is in April of 2011. Whether then or at other times, I look forward to being back in Arkansas many times over.

I did not manage to meet the Jewish community of Arkansas on this trip, but I did get to go the Clinton Presidential Library. I went in with an open mind, and left convinced that Mr. Clinton was simply peripheral. Many good things happened during his time in office, but not because of anything he did.

The thing about Mr. Clinton was that he was very immodest. He takes credit for things that would have happened without him.

This only made the GOP Convention and Paint Arkansas Red Rally even more important, because it showed the contrast. The people I met were not interested in taking credit for everything. They just wanted to get the job done. They were committed to electing conservatives, but they did not treat the other side as evil.

The Arkansas Republicans and conservatives I met, from Jim Keets to Alan Clark to Diane Silverman to the Hutchinsons, were just simply good people following the main ingredient of “Arkansas values.”

It starts with a healthy dose of “love thy neighbor.” After that, it only gets better, and that is before the Southern barbecue is cooked and the Razorbacks come on tv.

eric