I ain’t never scurred

A friend of mine shared this on Facebook, and I thought it was too much not to share. Behold:

The Tea Party loves a good scare tactic, don’t they?

I decided years ago to not allow my fears to control my vote. (This happened around the time I left the Republic Party, so take that how you will.)  The ominous music, the downbeats hitting with bold-texted statistics, the storm clouds rolling past the Statue of Liberty…it’s like the trailer for a dramatic movie.

Attention Tea Party: This stuff doesn’t scare me, but it does move me…farther away from you. Ideas, not scare tactics, are what it takes to sway moderate, independent voters like me.


A “Pledge to America”…to be boring

"A Pledge to America"

I didn't judge this book by its cover. I judged it by its insides. Its long, boring, insides.

I decided to sit down and read the GOP’s “Pledge to America.” Kick the tires a bit, give it a fair shot. I used to be a pretty conservative Republican back in the day, so maybe this will reawaken the elephant in me.

In a word, No. Here are my random notes, taken while reading:

It’s only page 3 before they jump into the anti-gay agenda, pledging to “…honor…traditional marriage.” This comes just one paragraph after pledging to “advance policies that promote greater liberty, (and) wider opportunity.”

This is where the GOP loses me, where I no longer feel connected to the party. Limiting marriage to two members of the opposite sex doesn’t promote greater liberty and wider opportunity. It does quite the opposite. And I don’t understand why people who are for limited government want to expand government when it comes to the private lives of two consenting adults.

That point is driven home just two grafs later when they say “the blessings of our liberty buoy the hopes of mankind.” Unless, of course, you’re gay, then you can’t get married, or adopt children, or serve in the military. But beyond that, yes, liberty.

On page 6 they tell us they’ll simply repeal the health care overhaul, which is totally awesome. I had no idea they could do that. I was under the impression that once it became law, it was game over, man. So why were they so worked up with that whole “Kill the bill” thing, if they could simply repeal it later?

Oooh, they go after Keynes again on page 14. Here’s one of the great things I learned about Keynesian economic theory last summer: Yes, homeboy did propose increased government spending to act as a stimulant when they economy is in trouble, but he also recommended the use of tax cuts as another way to encourage spending – the idea being people will spend the extra money. Hmmmm…who’s the Keynesian economist now? Basically Keynesians believe the government should act to help the economy, not just wait for built-in stabilizers to help shorten a downturn.

Really, guys? Still trying to blame the mortgage crisis on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? I did some research on this and found ample evidence to suggest that it was private sector loans that were the real problem (here’s one example: “Private sector loans, not Fannie or Freddie, triggered crisis”). I’m still not buying this one.

Holy crap, it seems like they use the phrase “common-sense reforms” a lot…often in place of any specifics.

Glad to see on page 38 they’ll hold “President Obama and his administration responsible for any Guantanamo Bay detainees they release who return to fight against our troops or who have become involved in any terrorist plots or activities.” Does that mean they’ll do the same for the 18 confirmed and 43 suspected detainees who returned to terrorism after being freed by President Bush? Surely it does, right?

P.S. – There are lots of pretty, patriotic photos in this document. Here’s a fun game to play: Count all the cowboy hats pictured, then see how many non-white people appear in the photos.

In all, it’s a relatively boring read, with all the usual platitudes. Democrats have bashed it, sure, but now conservative bloggers are calling it out, too. I’m intrigued to see what effect this has on the November midterms. This will likely not go far enough in the eyes of Tea Partiers, but really, who else are they going to vote for besides Republicans? My guess, though, is this could splinter conservative votes in places like Alaska, where the defeated “mainstream Republican” candidate is writing as a write-in against the Tea Party-approved, official Republican candidate.

Color me unimpressed, and still not ready to return to the Republic party anytime soon.


“O Mary! God hath chosen thee and purified thee…”

This book is evil, says people who have never read it.

Like that quote? It’s from the Quran.

No. Seriously.

There’s this conversation I’ve had with some of my more conservative friends, the same sort of talk I hear on conservative talk radio. “There’s some scary stuff in the Quran. It instructs people to kill the infidels.” I usually ask them for chapter and verse, which they – of course – can’t give. It usually turns out that they haven’t even read the book. “But I’ve heard…”

Where have they heard? Not from a Muslim, I can guarantee.

That’s why I appreciate the essay NPR ran today on its Web site, written by Anisa Mehdi. Mehdi, an American Muslim, makes the case that not only should Terry Jones know what it is he would be burning in the Quran, but Muslims should too. Observe:

The Quran tells about miracles performed by Jesus — some unfamiliar to the Bible, like talking when he was a baby and breathing life into a clay bird, but also recognizable miracles, like healing lepers and restoring the dead to life.

The chapter of Mary also tells stories of Abraham, Moses and Noah. Surely these are figures of prominence in the Christianity of the Dove World Outreach Center.

It’s a great read, and it can be found here: Before Burning Quran, Know What’s In It.

Not trying to convert anyone here. I’m not a Muslim myself. The uproar of the Cordoba Initiative’s Muslim community center and the Dove World Outreach’s Quran burning have made reminded me of the importance of understanding my faith and the faith of others.

Very kumbaya, I know.


Heer’s hoping

Wishing and hoping

This is Kevin McGown standing in front of the Heer's Building in a Springfield News-Leader photo dated THREE YEARS AGO! The place actually looks less awesome now, but maybe that'll change soon?

The Springfield News-Leader ran a story today on the Heer’s building downtown, where developer Kevin McGown is aiming to recreate the magic of the Piper Lofts in Kansas City. The story included interior photos of some of those lofts and it kinda made me want to move to Kansas City, because I fear that’s the only chance I’d have to live in a place that looks like that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Queen City. But the Heer’s building has been an undevelopable eyesore on the square for years and I – like a lot of News-Leader commenters – are skeptical that high-rent lofts are going to work in that space. I know the numbers presented in the story say the Piper Lofts are full and the demand for luxury living downtown is still high, but I’m not buying it. This is still a small enough town where people want to own a house, with a yard, in a neighborhood, and they don’t seem to mind commuting to work.

One thing working the lofts’ favor has to be the new Bistro Market that just opened on the corner of Walnut and South. It’s well within walking distance of Heer’s and would allow those who work downtown to live, dine, play and do their grocery shopping as well.

Here’s the SN-L article: “Oh, the possibilities” — Amos Bridges, Springfield News-Leader

Speaking of the Bistro Market…I might be one of the few people in the Queen City that has not shopped there. The place is always hopping when I drive by. Once I get some spare cash money to throw around, I gotta stop in there.


Mighty MO State lays the first brick

Courtesy of Missouri State University Photographic Services

Chris Douglas' 86-yard touchdown run sparked Missoui State to victory as they open The Most-Anticipated Season in Missouri State Football History©.

Using “Missouri State” football and “laying a brick” in the same sentence is a dangerous thing. This is, after all, a program that has lost two home openers to NCAA D-II schools. But 2010 is a different year, with different Bears and the brick in question is part of MO State quarterback Cody Kirby’s theme for the year.

“If I’m going to build a wall, I don’t set out from Day 1 and say, ‘I’m gonna build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall in the history of man.’ Instead, you say, ‘I’m gonna take this brick and lay it as perfectly as it can be laid,’ every day.”

Kirby and coach Terry Allen’s Bears laid the first brick with aplomb Sept. 3, routing Eastern Kentucky 31-9 to open The Most-Anticipated Season in Missouri State Football History© off in thrilling, if belated, fashion.

This win is legit. Missouri State was 168th in the first Sagarin Ratings of the season, while Eastern Kentucky was 169. The Colonels were picked third in the Ohio Valley Conference and returned 9 starters on defense as well as the 2009 OVC Freshman of the Year in quarterback T.J. Pryor. The Colonels were a formidable foe.

And it showed through the first quarter, as the Bears went 3-and-punt on their first three possessions and fell behind 3-0. MO State was only up 7-6 when junior tailback Chris Douglas took a handoff, rounded the corner and flat exploded through the Eastern Kentucky secondary for an 86-yard touchdown run–the fifth-longest rush in school history.

The momentum from that run – which was a thing of beauty – was enough to help Missouri State outscore EKU 31-6 over the middle two quarters and walk away with a victory that lives up to the pre-season hype. There’s reason for optimism after that win. Here’s why:

1. The Bears showed they have some offensive weapons. Kirby was a known quantity entering the season. But the backfield was depleted, with Jonathan Davis off the team and both Mikael Cooper-Falls and Drew Temple injured. Perhaps a bigger question mark was who’s going to become Kirby’s new favorite target, with Clay Harbour gone to the NFL? While the final offensive numbers weren’t glittering (388 yards of total O), Douglas looked sharp at tailback, Kirby was his usual self and both Jermaine Saffold and redshirt freshman sensation Trevor Wooden made great catches.

2. The defense looks even more improved. MO State limited EKU to just 350 yards of total offense, 35 on the ground, and harassed Pryor into six sacks and a pair of interceptions. They also didn’t allow a touchdown. And this was without junior linebacker Michael Keck, out after suffering a pre-season concussion.

3. This is only the beginning. There were causes for concern, of course, but not necessarily a lot of glaring deficiencies. They appeared to be things that can be corrected in practice.

But I’m aboard the playoff wagon just yet. MO State’s football tradition is not good – to put it nicely – and I’ve been let down before. And the Missouri Valley Conference is an especially long row to hoe for any school with playoff aspirations. Southern Illinois, South Dakota State and Northern Iowa are all ranked in the top 13 in the Coaches Poll, and North Dakota State – picked behind the Bears in the preseason league poll – just went on the road and upset Big XII school Kansas 6-3. So let’s not throw out the baby before the bathwater.

That said, I’m basking in this one for a while. Kansas State will be a challenge to be certain, but as long as no key players get injured, a loss isn’t a big setback. The real fun begins Sept. 25 with the Valley opener at Illinois State.


Required Reading:

“Wait pays off for MSU in win” — Lyndal Scranton, Springfield News-Leader’

“Grading the Bears” — Springfield News-Leader

“Colonels drop 10th straight season opener” — Nathan Hutchinson, The Richmond Register

Highlights, courtesy of KSPR