Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Archive for July, 2007

Chief Justice John Roberts is OK!

Posted by Ryan on July 31, 2007

Chief Justice John Roberts was released from a Maine hospital after having a small seizure yesterday, cleared to go home after spending the night under medical observation.  At 52 years old, he’s the youngest member of the Supreme Court and so far looks like a real strict constructionist.  While on vacation, he fell from a dock as a result of a seizure and received minor cuts and bruises.  But, he’s apparently OK!

He had another small seizure back in 1993 but for 14 years showed no damage or evidence that it came from a stroke, heart attack, or anything else for that matter.  It’s something to watch, but apparently not serious.  I was a bit nervous about this, for sympathetic and political reasons.  He’s a national figure who may have been very ill because of this and a real friend to the Constitution whose presense on the Supreme Court could be felt for another two or three decades.  I’m glad he’s OK.

Pic from the Harvard 100 List.

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment »

Newt Slams Detroit Pubilc Schools

Posted by Ryan on July 31, 2007

On Newt Gingrich’s latest appearance on Fox News Sunday, the former House Speaker spoke about fundamental systemic change as a way to tackle and solve the many problems facing our government.  One point he made was about our failed public schools not being able to compete with private schools since we don’t give charter schools or vouchers a chance to work.  He blames unions primarily.  To illustrate an example of a failed school system, Newt cited Detroit’s horrible graduation rate and minority unemployment, among other things.

Thankfully, the Detroit Federation of Teachers responded:  “leave us alone.”  Talk about a 48% graduation rate with only 22% of incoming freshmen graduating on time and the mighty teacher union has nothing more to say than butt-out.  Classic.  They said nothing about why the graduation rate is so low, or why student performance is so bad, or about what they are doing to help.  Nothing, except the typical liberal “stop being so mean” attitude, that unfortunately recognizes but does not solve any problems.

I belong to a weak and pitiful teachers union and was even elected to a representative post in my building along with ten others last year.  At the districtwide meetings I learned an important lesson about unions:  they assume all their teachers are awesome (no teacher would ever get complacent, “retire into the profession”, be a coach who happens to teach during the day, or keep their job for lipstick money) , making actual student performance a secondary issue next to the “greedy” parents who don’t want to have their property taxes raised for the good of the union. 

In essence, I noticed that they care less about the kid’s issues and more about the union itself.  The meetings were more about sticking to mindless parliamentary procedure and little pet projects the latest union stooge was suckered into, than to substantive issues about giving the Board and parents a reason to hike our benefits and pay through improving student performance.  We have a great school district with superb results, so why aren’t we the teachers getting paid for our results?  We’re nearly mid-range salary in our county, with far better AP passage rates and graduation rates than nearly all the public schools in the county. 

I ran for the representative position because we were having contract disputes and my colleagues drafted me because they thought I could help.  Not very surprisingly, the union lied straight faced to all its members when it inferred that the Board had broken off negotiations late in the game, when it was the union that actually did it!  All the while, they stirred every members like we were pawns in the union’s petty games.  I did not run again for next year, being completely disgusted with my union.  So I am not shocked that the DFT decided to pick on the messenger and not the message:  typical m.o. for unions.  Alas, Newt’s point is made quite poignantly.

ps–I think the old Russian word for a worker’s union/council was… hmm… ah yes, “soviet!”

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments »

Bill Walsh (1931-2007)

Posted by Ryan on July 30, 2007

Bill Walsh died today at the age of 75, losing his battle with leukemia.  He was the famed coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 1979 to 1988, winning three Super Bowls (1981, 1984, 1988), grooming both Joe Montana and countless others, and introducing the league to the innovative “West Coast” offense in the process.  He was perhaps the most dominant football coach in his time retiring with a 102-63-1 record along side his 10-4 playoff record.  Most of all, he is remembered as a pleasant and gracious man, attuned to the effective role of minorities in coaching, and involved heavily with the league even after his induction to the Football Hall of Fame in 1993. 

Pic from SI.com

Posted in Sports | 1 Comment »

Gordon Brown’s US Debut

Posted by Ryan on July 30, 2007

New British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had his first joint press conference with President Bush at Camp David this morning and guess what?  They got along on all the foreign policy issues that matter, including Iraq, Iran and the overall War on Terror!  Brown sounded outright hawkish on the nature of terrorism and the will to keep fighting with vigor.  Also, as a complete slap in the face to Liberals here and across the Pond, Brown said, “we should acknowledge the debt the world owes the United States in its leadership in this fight against international terrorism.”  Well, hot damn!  Thanks!

On Iraq, the southern areas near Basra that the British control will see troop withdrawals based upon, of all things, progress on the ground!  Sounds a lot like our plan, working faster in Basra because it’s ethincally homogenous and smaller than the area America controls.

Overall, a surprisingly positive meeting with Bush.  They seem to get along well and share a mutual respect.  A good start in my opinion, especially since Britain and America are still on the same page about finding and destroying the great evil of our day.  In another surprise, the British people had shown growing disdain toward Tony Blair because of Iraq, yet Brown comes over to America to chat with the sinister GWB.  One would think that he’d give Bush a piece of his mind, yet he realizes that the reality on the ground is that neither the US or UK can just get up and leave Iraq or shirk from our responsibilities in combatting terrorism.  It was big of Brown to be honest with us all despite the potential political repercussions at home.

AP photo.

Posted in Politics, The Iraq Front, UK Politics, War on Terror | Leave a Comment »

Iraq Wins the Asia Cup!!!

Posted by Ryan on July 29, 2007

Iraq defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the Asia Cup Soccer Championship today in Jakarta, Indonesia.  Over the course of the tournament, Iraq won its group, beat Australia, South Korea and then scored the only goal of the championship match against the Saudis in the 72nd minute of play.  The picture below shows the actual moment:

I love seeing this stuff.  If anyone, the Iraqis needed a break on something.  With hard work and heart, their soccer team pulled off an unlikely victory which is sure to be spun as a great underdog story.  And just think, no one had to worry about being tortured based on the outcome!  You’re welcome, Iraq.

Top: Reuters/Supri photo.  Second: AP photo.

Posted in Sports, The Iraq Front | Leave a Comment »

The 9/11 Commission Lives On

Posted by Ryan on July 28, 2007

I’ve had a problem with the 9/11 Commission since they came out with their findings over the summer of 2004.  Jamie Gorelick was on the “liberal” side of the panel (this incessant need for balance on our intelligence panels will probably kill people one day.  When I was a kid back in the 1980s, we had “non-partisan” panels).  Gorelick should have recused herself based upon her actions in implementing the “wall” between our intelligence agencies pre-9/11.  She had a vested interest in justifying her actions and making herself look better to history.  The panel played into this by overlooking “Operation Able Danger” which would have made Gorelick and the Clinton Administration look quite derelict in their duties during the 1990s when Mohammed Atta was named by our intelligence agencies as a threat, though we were unable to act.  I think that detail is kind of important.

So, the Democrat House passed many of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations in a blatant way to try to look tough on security issues.  As noted above, I am suspect of a commission that did not use all the information necessary and available, that had members on it with self-interested goals, and omitted crucial information from the final report.  Roughly 80% of the recommendations are law and most of them make sense, but the hopes that the Democrats put into that commission demonstrates their insecurity on security. 

Posted in Politics, War on Terror | 1 Comment »

John Edwards Finally Got It

Posted by Mike on July 27, 2007

This alone won’t win him the nomination, but John “Gilderoy Lockhart” Edwards finally mastered the political maneuver necessary for his political survival.  He has finally co-opted She Who Must Not Be Named’s “I’d rather discuss issues without actually discussing issues” play.

The gist of this political play is that the liberal who must hide his/her/its political positions must first capitalize on an amusing but ultimately meaningless headline and then cry hysterically something like “This is ridiculous and a waste of time. I’d rather talk about health care, jobs, the environment etc.” In the process of course, they do not and would never discuss their proposals for such issues because their proposals involve unpopular solutions such as more regulations, higher taxes and intrusive government control. But by whining that they would rather discuss the issues rather than actually discussing the issues, the liberal creates the illusion that they are competent on said issues. When this play is used against a spineless Republican, it works.  If the Republican focuses on issues, not so much.

In this clip, Silky Pony capitalized on his haircuts which cost about the same as six iPods by whining about health care and the poor without mentioning the unpopular details of his proposals. He finally got it. It might not be enough, but he finally got it.

Posted in Election 2008, Politics | 1 Comment »

Man Up Republicans!

Posted by Mike on July 27, 2007

It’s only a debate. It’s only a debate sponsored by the Communist News Network. It’s only a debate moderated by Anderson Cooper. So what on earth is this nonsense I’m reading on the internets? According to the Washington Compost, several Republican candidates are talking about skipping the upcoming YouTube CNN debate.

According to Mitt Romney, there is little dignity in Presidential candidates answering questions from Frosty the Snowman. No argument here. However, there is also little dignity in answering questions from just about any journalist. Just about all of them will be hostile toward Republicans after lobbing softballs toward Democrats. Just about all of them will display the intellectual depth of a teletubby. Remember Chrissy Matthews; even worse, remember Wolf Blitzer? Our candidates should not be looking for a forum worthy of a Presidential candidate. They need to work with the system we have.

And for the love Jesus they should not act like Democrats and avoid fora with hostile questions. Conservative ideas are grounded in common sense and are popular with American people. There is nothing to hide. Moreover, it’s not as if our candidates could be stumped by anything a liberal blogger or Anderson Cooper has to say. And if any of our candidates are incapable of winning a battle of wits with Anderson Cooper, then GOP voters need to know about it before February.

It’s often been said that a Democrat who is afraid of Brit Hume does not deserve the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The same is true of a Republican who is too much of a silly nanny to stand up to Anderson Cooper. Man up GOP.

Posted in Election 2008, Politics | 6 Comments »

Real Reefer Madness!!!

Posted by Ryan on July 27, 2007

You mean there’s a price to pay for using mind-altering drugs?

(Potheads around the nation stir like somebody might have said something.)

I guess so.  Even with pot, apparently.  Your risks for a psychotic mental illness increase substantially with even one use of marijuana.  It’s still actually a small percentage in the end, but many studies over the years have come to the conclusion that there is potentially a huge price to pay for even smoking a little pot down the road.  There’s about two hundred “I told you so’s” I could list (you know who you are), but I won’t. 

(Cue the potheads: “huh?”)

The scientists also indicate, that despite a popular myth, the vast majority of pot smokers try other drugs and these may be causing the uptick in psychotic disorders.  Not measly anxiety or bipolar issues, but schizophrenia, etc.  Also, people who are prone to psychotic disorders may be attracted to the sensation pot gives them, but not every schizophrenic patient had smoked pot before.  What they know is that pot messes with dopamine, the brain chemical which naturally causes euphoria and also the chemical burned up by opiates like morphine and heroin, leading to horrible addiction to those drugs since your body no longer naturally produces it. 

Potheads I know are lazy, overweight and blame other people for their problems.  I qualify potheads as those who do it at least once a week.  While many have tried it in high school or college or have been peer pressured into experimentation, the indications are that it’s still bad for you, but being addicted is even worse.

(Cue the potheads again, “You can’t get addicted to pot.  I could stop any time I want.  I just don’t want to.”) 

Right.

Pic from Shaffer Library of Drug Policy.

Posted in Anything Else, Culture, Pop Culture | 4 Comments »

Big Brother 8: Mike Evicted

Posted by Mike on July 26, 2007

Apparently some guy named Mike was a contestant on this season of Big Brother; and earlier tonight, he was evicted from the Big Brother house by a 7-2. He is third houseguest to be evicted this season.

This week on the show was the classic example of the old BB cliche “you reap what you sew.”  Mike was not initially targeted for eviction.  That honor belonged to the annoying duo of Kail and Jen. However, Jen removed herself from the block after winning the Power of Veto competition with Mike’s assistance despite a promise from then-HOH Evil Dick that Mike would be Jen’s replacement on the block.  After Jen removed herself from the block, Evil Dick kept his promise by nominating Mike.  The rest is now history.  Although Mike’s decision was not quite Marcellas-bad, it was still pretty darn stupid.  As for fellow nominee Kail, she now joins the other ten remaining houseguests for another week of Big Brother fun.

At the end of tonight’s episode, Dustin (the enemy without gonorrhea),became the new Head of Household. This means that he and his ally Amber are safe. Since I’m rooting for this duo, I hope Dustin can find some consensus nominees like Jen, Zack or Kail. Otherwise, he and Amber will soon become targets themselves. He should have thrown the competition.

For other BB posts, click the reality television category on the right site of this page.

CBS photo

Posted in Reality Television | Leave a Comment »

Oscar the Cat

Posted by Ryan on July 26, 2007

I don’t really like cats, being much more of a dog fan.  I’ve only met a few cats that I genuinely like.  To me, they seem very self-interested, using you for food and warmth and tend to get used to you more than truly like you.  Dogs are pretty dumb comparatively, but they love attention and show a high level of unconditional affection back to their owner.  Yet, the argument between cats and dogs is an age old one that will not be solved here.

But, I digress.

However, sometimes pets can do extraordinary things.  This story out of the UK’s Daily Mail puts a different spin on a cat few would be happy to see under normal circumstances.  Two-year old Oscar the cat lives and has free reign in Rhode Island’s Steere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence (no pun intended).  Oscar’s just a normal everyday cat except for one thing:  he happens to cozy up next to patients who have only about four hours to live and has been eerily accurate in his sense of death coming– more so than some of the doctors! 

Can Oscar really tell when someone’s about to die, or is something else going on?  Is this unique to an animal who’s spent his entire life in this environment where people come in and die on a regular basis?  Maybe we can put a Republican Elephant and a Democrat Jackass into a room and see whose lap Oscar jumps on!  Just kidding, but this is kind of spooky.  Some people think animals have an extra sense that humans have lost in our thousands of years of civilization which deals with these kinds of things.  Maybe, but many families of the dying have come to appreciate Oscar, so he seems to be serving a good purpose.

AP photo.

Posted in Anything Else, Rhode Island | Leave a Comment »

Republican’s Lost Nerve on Iraq

Posted by Ryan on July 26, 2007

This New York Post article outlines something that has been very frustrating to me, as a supporter of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Baghdad Security Plan (aka the Surge).  Its author, Ralph Peters, has been on many talking-head shows on many cable networks complaining about how the Iraq War has been handled since Saddam’s topple.  Yet, he believes General David Petraeus is the best commander with the best plan we’ve had there since the summer of 2003, when General Tommy Franks left.

But the problem he cites is not one in Iraq, which has been getting substantively better over the last three months, but with Washington and the MSM talking about the successes.  I’ve given up on the MSM giving Iraq a fair shake in their reporting, but the Republicans in Washington have lost their nerve and, according to Peters, are too afraid to talk-up the Surge in strong language for fear of being edged out of earmarks for their districts. 

Maybe, but this reminds me of the late 1990s Republicans: too afraid to stand up on principle for fear of being ridiculed by Clinton and the MSM.  Yet, this time, our loved ones are over there fighting to squash al-Qaeda in Iraq– a battle al Qaeda has to win even more than we do in order to keep their reputation in the radical Islamic world.  This time BJ Clinton is nowhere and his shrill wife, She Who Must Not Be Named, is 1/5th the politician he was.  So why are Republicans afraid to speak up, not just on Iraq but also on other issues?  Could it be from a lack of leadership at the top?  Maybe, but I’d like to start seeing at least one party in Congress have a spine.

Posted in Election 2008, Politics, The Iraq Front | 1 Comment »

NBA Scandal

Posted by Mike on July 25, 2007

A crooked NBA official? I am just so . . . shocked.  NBA games always seemed so fair; the calls, so down-the-middle.  This can’t be right.

Posted in Sports | 2 Comments »

2007 Perspective vs. 2008 Perspective

Posted by Mike on July 25, 2007

I did not watch the last Democrat debate because I was not in the mood to listen to the same old liberal nonsense for two hours. However, I did manage to catch news coverage of the debate, especially coverage of the clash between Barack Obama and She Who Must Not Be Named over some moonbat’s dream of a future Democrat President taking a whirlwind tour of tin-pot dictatorships during her first year in office.

Those who saw the debate or subsequent analysis will recall that upon hearing the question, Obama obediently promised to meet with such foreign leaders. Shrewdly, SWMNBN disagreed. At one point (either during the debate or afterward), she even called that promise naive. Although she was open to meetings with hostile nations such as Iran and Cuba, she would only agree to do so if something meaningful could be achieved at those meetings. This response drew praise from commentators on both sides of the political spectrum. Many of these pundits claimed that SWMNBN’s response helped bolster her credentials as a responsible candidate. I agree with this assessment.

The exchange certainly benefited SWMNBN; however, it also illustrated my long-held belief that the Republican candidates are in much better shape than the MSM, Democrats and even some Republicans give them credit for. SWMNBN’s position on diplomacy is not all that different than George W. Bush’s position. Like SWMNBN at the debate, Bush has repeatedly stated that he is willing to meet with leaders of other nations, but only if such meetings would be constructive. The media often criticizes Bush for this position, but they praised SWMNBN for holding what is essentially the same view. Some of this double standard can be attributed to mere media bias, but there is another reason.

That reason is the Bush brand. Whenever the President opens his mouth, people tend to disregard what he says, even when they agree with the substance of what he says.  The fact that people are simply over George W. Bush acts as a kind of filter which prevents them from even contemplating the common sense in the words they agree with.  Bush and SWMNBN have the same position on diplomacy.  They hear her but not him.

Sensing this dynamic for a while now, Democrats have successfully capitalized on the Bush brand to create their current generic advantage; however, their advantage is merely that: generic. For years now, the Democrats have successfully run against George W. Bush but come February or so, they will be unable to do that because the leader of the currently leaderless Republican Party will be someone other than George W. Bush and someone unconnected to his administration.

In 2008, the Republican nominee will be in a position to articulate conservative ideas without the Bush baggage. That person will have an advantage on taxes. That person will have an advantage on the role of government. That person will have an advantage on the War on Terror. That person will even an advantage on the Iraq front to the War on Terror (Remember, she supported the war too and even bragged about it while it was unpopular). Whether the nominee of our party is Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, or Newt Gingrich, that candidate will have more popular ideas on his side and will be unconnected to George W. Bush because in case you haven’t noticed, all four men can claim the “Washington outsider” label for all or most of the last eight years.

Come February 2008, the Republican Party will have a new leader. At that point, people are more likely to pay attention to the substance of what that Republican is saying and compare it to the substance of what the Democrat is saying on a wide range of issues. When that becomes the dynamic around February, things will look much different than they do now.

Posted in Election 2008, Politics | 1 Comment »

You Tube’s George Patton Speech

Posted by Ryan on July 25, 2007

This YouTube video uses George C. Scott’s speech in the movie Patton and remakes it into a War on Terror speech!  Watch it.  It’s funny, frank, and puts things into historical perspective, which is highly lacking from both sides right now– the Dems ignore history and the Republicans don’t bring it up enough.  It’s about a seven minute speech. 

Hat Tip Fox News.  Pic from Flatland.com.

Posted in Politics, The Iraq Front, War on Terror | Leave a Comment »

Newt’s Straight Talk

Posted by Ryan on July 24, 2007

I think Newt has a point in his latest comments, this time smacking up the viable Republican Presidential candidates (hence, it gets MSM press).  Among the things he says, he points out:

  • None of the candidates in Newt’s view have a real chance to beat a She Who Must Not Be Named/ O’Bama ticket
  • The debates are a farce, like looking at trained seals begging for fish
  • McCain is going to bail out when he gets the federal mathcing funds
  • Fred Thompson has generated excitement, but Newt’s still looking for Fred to do something

It well known that I like Newt and his ideas about how to make America work again in a pragmatically conservative way.  I also know that he is most likely unelectable nationally, but his presense in this race could be an earthquake to the current crop.  He’ll try his best to point out everyone’s faults from a conservative point of view and get an incredible amount of press for doing so.  The press would not focus on his ideas, but the fact that he’d nail everyone’s conservative credentials except for Duncan Hunter, who he doesn’t respect as an “electable” candidate.  

However, Newt isn’t the perfect conservative either, but he’ll at least envigorate the debate back to the outside-the-beltway view of limited government, strong defense, and personal liberty.  Lately, he’s been the only one not to pussyfoot around the uselessness of these debates to foment discussion on real ideas and plans on how to keep America great, as his latest statements indicate.

Posted in Election 2008, Politics | 3 Comments »

Last Word on “Deathly Hallows”

Posted by Ryan on July 24, 2007

NO SPOILERS IN THIS POST

I finished reading the latest Harry Potter book  in a psychotically small amount of time and now know how it all turns out.  I will not ruin anything for those of you who have not yet read it, but I implore you to get a move on!  There’s shock, adventure, quest, and everything else you’ve come to expect from JK Rowling in perhaps her best, most satisfying book of the series.  I’m going to give it another full read.  It’s definitely the last one, as JK Rowling has said for a long time. 

After all the hype and excitement calms down what are we left with?  A fantasy series that ranks up there with Lord of the Rings and Star Wars as creating a high level of excitement and anticipation for such a long period of time.  We’re left with a great series that has effectively turned kids onto reading for the last decade, though admittedly the last three books have not really been children’s books.  There’s a distinct morality in this tale and a number of Christian images that emerge, on much the same level that JRR Tolkien melded Christian images and ethics into Lord of the Rings.  Rowling’s not Tolkien, no can be, but she’s up there with Tolkien and the other great British writers for the quality, depth and message of her over 4000-page, seven book tale, that is now (finally) complete.

Time picture.

Posted in Anything Else, Pop Culture | 1 Comment »

A Liberal’s Worst Nightmare!

Posted by Ryan on July 20, 2007

Doom and gloom fills the minds of Libs throughout America and the world as their worst nightmare comes to fruition!  For a few hours tomorrow morning, President Bush is going to temporarily cede power to Vice President Dick Cheney according to Section 3 of the 25th Amendment!  Bush is going in for a routine colonoscopy, but I’m sure Libs everywhere are praying (to whatever it is that they pray to) that Dubya wakes up.  What an irony!

So I guess in those few hours we’ll be:

  • bombing Iran, North Korea, and France,
  • torturing people just for kicks,
  • creating the Republic of Halliburton out in the Mideast somewhere,
  • setting up hasty elections in Florida and Ohio just to make sure blacks don’t vote in them, and
  • implanting a chip in Bush’s brain while he’s under anethesia just to make it official.

Oh yes, things will be different, my Liberal friends, when Cheney’s in charge!  HA-ah-ah-ah!!!

AP Photo.

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments »

Big Brother 8: Joe Gets the Boot!

Posted by Ryan on July 19, 2007

America’s favorite recovering gonorrhea victim, Joe, got the boot from Big Brother 8 just a few minutes ago!  This was expected by many, since Eric (America’s Player) was told by viewer poll results to vote Joe out, and most of the House (9-1) saw the same problems.  He was whiney, devious, passive-aggressive, and generally unpleasant from day one in the Big Brother household.  I wanted him out from the beginning and it only took two weeks to get rid of him.  Phew!

In another stroke of luck, the person up on the chopping block with Joe this week became Head of Household, which means he’s immune from eviction next week and has to nominate two people to duke it out this coming week on the chopping block.  “Evel” Dick won the competition making what is sure to be a very predictable week– as indicated by the spontaneous eruption of delight by all but two of the House Guests.  Dick is going after Kail and Jen.  Simple, predictable, direct, and a relief to all but those two.

CBS photo.

Posted in Reality Television | Leave a Comment »

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is Almost Here!

Posted by Ryan on July 19, 2007

No, I did not read the New York Slimes review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but at midnight tomorrow we’ll all know the fate of everybody’s favorite young wizard without the benefit of cheating.  Actually, “DeepDiscount.com” is being sued by Scholastic because it released the book Tuesday, breaching their contract and causing the flood of spoilers to hit the Internet.  I have no idea what’s going to happen in the novel.  I have certain ideas on where the story will go, but I’m not sure enough to go on record like those on Mugglenet (graciously, a spoiler-free site). 

Why all the excitement?  Everyone has their own story.  I only got into Harry Potter two years ago.  I read the first book because I wanted to stay on top of the buzz back in college, saw the movie, and wasn’t too into it.  The second movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was pretty good.  But the third movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was really cool (I loved the Ringwraith-looking Dementors), stylish and the story started to get dark.  Gone were the days of “wow, this is magic?!?”  Then, the fourth movie was set for release in 2005.  Many of my friends had read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and thought it was awesome.  So, I gave it a shot.  Also, my youngest niece was starting to read the books, so we read them together.  It was great, not as juvenile as the movies, and full of depth and adventure!  Also, I went to a private high school steeped in tradition so I can relate to aspects of their school life at Hogwarts.  Book 5 rocked with political intrigue and Harry starting to act like my own 15-16 year old students.  Book 6 may be the best so far–I believe that it could get an “R” rating.

But, why does everyone else like it?  Good story-telling sells.  It’s about Harry Potter and his friends dealing with various crises in the Wizarding world.  Each book catalogs each year at the wizarding high school, Hogwarts.  They go to high school for seven years, from age 11 to 17.  Deathly Hallows will finish the series, being Harry’s last year at the famed school.  JK Rowling draws upon Hero Myth archetypes as well as Tolkien did (who’s heavily influenced every fantasy writer since 1955) and draws the reader into the life of a teenager in a clever and unique world with a perilous mission.  It’s a great read and very complex; she doesn’t dumb down the complexities for the younger audience, rather creates a story that can hit you on two levels.  Also, with each new book, the previous ones get better because the pieces start falling together, leading to multiple reads of each book!

Because this book is the last of the series, it’s going to affect Axis of Right over the next few days:  I’ll be traveling tomorrow and Saturday, Mike’s on a total media blackout because of the Slimes and a bunch of other spoilers all over the Internet and TV news, while Salinger, well, he comes and goes so we’ll see.

WARNING: If you don’t want any spoilers do NOT enter our comments until you’ve read the book.

Posted in Anything Else, Media Bias, Pop Culture | 3 Comments »

A Sober Memory for Ted “Fins” Kennedy

Posted by Ryan on July 18, 2007

On the evening of July 18, 1969, Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, brother of the late President John Kennedy and also of the late New York Senator Robert Kennedy drove his car off a small bridge on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha’s Vineyard after leaving a party with a woman who was not his wife.  He escaped, wandered around here and there for approximately ten hours before returning to the scene, only to find out that his passenger, 28 year old Mary Jo Kopechne, had drowned.  In Massachusetts, leaving the scene of an accident, death resulting, was commonly prosecuted as second degree murder. 

Ted walked away unscathed, a little wet, probably relieved that Mary Jo’s family lawyers refused an autopsy, and with no jail time.  But we haven’t walked away from the fact that this man’s name kept this negligent murderer out of jail.  So, occasionally we still refer to Ted as “Fins”, the “Cape Cod Orca”, “Hiccup”, or any of a plethora of nicknames in order to keep this memory alive to those who may not know or remember.  Politicians should not be above the law.  This incident did have one good outcome– Ted could never seriously be a real candidate for President, though he tried in 1980 (that was against Jimmah, though).  But just think, however, since then the people of Massachusetts have reelected him SIX times. 

Pic from Mostly Cajun blog.

Posted in Anything Else, Politics | 1 Comment »

Harry Reid’s Slumber Party

Posted by Ryan on July 18, 2007

The Senate Dems staged an all-night session to grandstand on Iraq and it failed.  After all the hot air, Harry “The Body” Reid’s stunt did not get enough Republican votes for the 60 votes needed for cloture, with a 52-47 vote on stopping debate.  Reid didn’t even authorize this bill from being debated on a later date!  Essentially, it was a self-imposed filibuster that never needed to happen.  Predictably, they tried to blame Republicans for everything, but this is a Reid and Democrat failure.  If the American people really wanted this to happen, it would have happened, just like the immigration nonsense from a month ago. 

With even a Zogby poll saying that 83% of over 1000 likely voters are displeased with the Democrat controlled Congress, I’m actually still very shocked that the Democrats are still glued to the left-wing fringe that keeps harping on them about cut-and-running in Iraq (by the way that’s a 17% approval rating).  I believe that most Americans are tired of the Iraq War, but I also believe that we’re smart enough to believe that a preciptious exit will be ugly, as we’re just as likely to be in Iraq fighting Iran or al Qaeda again a few years down the road anyway. 

But, the way the Dems are handling this is insane:  threaten to defund the war, trying to force our troops home by running the war as a committee (always a bad idea), threatening to pull the rug out from under Petraeus before he’s done, and all while not following through on any of it!  

How must they feel after this news today about AL QAEDA’s senior member in Iraq being captured and interrogated by US troops?  I thought Iraq was a distraction from the War on Terror?  You can’t win with these people, but I just hope these people won’t be able to win next year!

Posted in Politics, The Iraq Front, War on Terror | Leave a Comment »

“Bad Newz” for Michael Vick

Posted by Ryan on July 18, 2007

Michael Vick is in trouble.  He managed to stay clear of trouble with his bong at the airport a few months ago.  He also managed to keep his job after flipping off his hometown crowd last NFL season in Atlanta (see picture below).  But if things weren’t bad enough for this “up and coming” NFL star, he’s gotten into some serious legal trouble over, of all things, dogfighting! (Did you ever notice that Michael Vick is always portrayed on ESPN and other NFL shows as the next big thing every season, who everyone is going to have to worry about on the field, yet spends half the time injured or moping, and can barely get his team in playoff contention while playing in the junior varsity NFC?)

Getting back to the issues at hand, Vick and three others are in loads of trouble for his organization “Bad Newz Kennels” which sponsored vicious dog fights-to-the-death as early as 2001.  Vick is alleged to have bet up to and around $23,000 on these dogfights.  Eight dogs were killed at the kennel, whose bodies indicated evidence of hangings, drownings, and even poundings of these not-ready-for-prime-time pooches.  ESPN is not optimistic about Vick’s chances to avoid big prosecutorial trouble on his July 26th arraignment date.  Contributing to ESPN’s pessimism is that Vick is being charged with participating, training and sponsoring the dogfights– across state lines, to add!

With Training Camp around the corner, should the NFL continue to let him play?  Probably not.  As bad as these allegations are, they may prove to be false or trumped up.  However, if the judge believes him to be a flight risk, then that’s a different story.  Also, the NFL has pretty strict behavior standards and these allegations are horrible, which will distract him from play this season.

Top pic of the kennel an AP photo.  Second shot from Scared Monkeys, when Vick disagreed with his hometown crowd’s opinion of him!

Posted in Culture, Sports | 2 Comments »

More Gloom and Doom on Iraq

Posted by Ryan on July 17, 2007

Predictably, on the eve of the Democrat grandstanding with an all-night Iraq debate, this CNN article is full of doom and gloom, showing one side of the story (of course) and taking every opportunity to show how horrible America has been to the Iraqis.  But I noticed something about this article that disturbs me a bit.  It wasn’t the unscientific polling data, it wasn’t the biased interview snips, it wasn’t even the personal stories towads the end– that’s all standard CNN boilerplate.  What bothered me was the sentiment that they seem to blame America for everything, but also don’t seem to want us to leave.  It was one person’s opinion in the article, but it seems to actually reflect the current situation:  people are upset, but feel like they don’t have the power to change things, which is reflected in the lack of political movement we’ve seen out of Baghdad lately.  I have to believe that it’s a historical and cultural thing that we must overcome. 

This also reminds me of a post from a few months ago.  It seems like the Iraqis don’t want us to leave on a practical and strategic level:  the Shiites need us for stability; the Sunnis realize that they’ll be the brunt of the humanitarian disaster if we leave too soon; the Kurds like us in general; and al Qaeda loves a spectacular bombing of anyone anywhere, especially Americans.  The truth is that despite whoever wins the debate in Washington this week, if the Iraqi parliament doesn’t start showing some major legislative results, then I cannot see how the even limited popular support for the war perseveres past the Petraeus report in September.

Posted in Media Bias, The Iraq Front | 1 Comment »

Choose Your Generation

Posted by Mike on July 17, 2007

Nothing is more American than the idea that we are not who we are because of who gave birth to us, but because of the choices we make. The Brazen Careerist has taken this concept and applied it to generations. No longer do baby boomers have to be stuck with the other spoiled brats in their birth generation. No longer are cranky old people who chase children from their lawn automatically lumped into the Greatest Generation. We can choose our own.  Sorry Ryan, millennial is not an option.

Since I’m approaching one of those life milestones, I wholeheartedly accept this idea and am proud to say that I am now a member of Generation Y.

Hat tip: Michael Graham

Posted in Anything Else, Culture | 6 Comments »

Jim Gilmore Drops Out Before Gravel

Posted by Mike on July 16, 2007

Jim Gilmore dropped out of the Presidential campaign this weekend and that got me thinking about another candidate destined for the same fate.

This Mike Gravel internet ad is quite old now but since we never posted it and I think its funny, here you go.

Posted in Election 2008, Politics | 2 Comments »

Rudy Giuliani Forms Judicial Advisory Committee

Posted by Mike on July 16, 2007

Rudy Giuliani plans to announce his “Judicial Advisory Committee” later this week in an attempt to alleviate conservatives rightly concerned about his views on abortion and his thus far pathetic defense of those views. The panel will be chaired by Ted Olson and will include strict constructionist superstar Miguel Estrada. This is an encouraging sign if Olson and Estrada are on board with Giuliani. No one can credibly challenge their credentials on the role of the judiciary.

Aside from the obvious superiority over She Who Must Not Be Named on terrorism and foreign affairs, Giuliani is also more likely than her to appoint more strict constructionists to the bench. The pool of judges from which he would select his nominees would be Republican and he would be surrounded with people like Olson and Estrada when making his decision. Allowing SWMNBN to park her broom on the White House lawn would guarantee that John Roberts would be surrounded with several Ruth Biddy Ginsburg disciples for decades. Faced with the SWMNBN guarantee, I’d settle for the Giuliani gamble. Saving the unborn and restoring the Constitution are more important than sending a message.

For that dilemma to have any meaning though, Giuliani first has to win the primary, which let’s face it is the real reason he is forming this committee.  Winning the primary however will not be an easy task for the Mayor, nor should it be. His previous explanations of his jurisprudence are nothing short of troubling. While his name dropping has been fine (he supported the Scalia, Alito, and Roberts nominations), his belief that a strict constructionist judge could uphold or overturn Roe v. Wade still shows an ignorance of Constitutional law that is difficult to explain away to people who have read the Constitution.

Giuliani’s problem is that he is a pro-choice candidate in a pro-life party. This issue is literally a matter of life and death. Because he might nominate decent judges, conservatives should take a chance and support the Mayor if he gets through the primary. However because he might nominate decent judges, conservatives should not take a chance and allow him to get through the primary.

As for this committee, it will help a little bit, but not with those who appreciated God’s take on the subject.

Link via Lucianne

Posted in Election 2008, Judicial Watch, Politics | 3 Comments »

Graham and Webb on “Meet the Press”

Posted by Ryan on July 15, 2007

This YouTube video of this morning’s debate between South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham and Virginia Senator Jim Webb on “Meet the Press” clearly demonstrates the difference between Democrats and Republicans on the issue of Iraq.  Initially, Graham allows Webb to speak his peace on his positions, then when Tim Russert asks Graham to respond, Webb repeatedly interrupts him and makes a personal swipe at “the hard month” Graham has had on immigration.  Then, as Webb is getting the last word, Graham and Webb talk over each other in a way that tries to make Graham look like the bad guy, which is consistent with Tim Russert’s standing philosophy that the Democrat position is the default correct one and the one we are left with before each break. 

However, this debate also demonstrates my feelings about the two parties right now:  Webb and the Democrat Party in general act like spoiled kids who think that if they whine long and loud enough they’ll get their way, while Graham and the Republican Party in general act like wimpy parents who know what they should be doing but succumb to the persistent whining of their children.  Webb whines about the polls and tries to sound informed, while Graham has the moral and constitutional high-ground, but plays Webb’s game instead of staying principled.  It’s sad that our troops are getting caught in the middle of the Democrat temper-tantrum and the Republicans on the verge of acquiescence.

Posted in Media Bias, Politics, The Iraq Front | Leave a Comment »

North Korea: Don’t Trust, but Still Verify

Posted by Ryan on July 15, 2007

According to Gary at Team America, there are three kinds of people in this world: and we know which kind Kim Jung-(mentally)-Il is!  That being said, news that North Korea has temporarily halted its nuclear reactors after receiving some much needed oil shipments comes to me as being suspect.  I don’t trust North Korea or the ability of the IAEA to take a tough stand if a violation were to occur.  “Don’t trust but verify” should be the mantra from five of the six-party talkers when it comes to dealing with this maniac.  It all seems fine after this little step, but the minute North Korea gets sketchy, Dubya and crew need to pull back on our end.  I have a feeling we’ll take three steps for every two North Korea takes, to our detriment, and call it progress.  We can’t make the same mistakes with these guys as the Clinton’s did back in the 1990s.

IMDB picture.

Posted in Anything Else, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Catholic Primacy

Posted by Ryan on July 14, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI just reinforced his interpretation of the Second Vatican Council which states that the “Catholic” church was the one that “Christ established here on Earth.”  Protestant and other churches are missing something, according to a reinforcement of the Pope’s own work back in 2000, while John Paul II was pope.  Questions arise as to why he has to reinforce this notion at this time.  Some say internal Catholic politics, others think that it’s just putting everyone on the same page during this period of ecumenical outreach by the Catholics to the Orthodox and Protestant churches.

I see Benedict’s point as Pope.  The word “catholic” means universal and the Roman Catholic Church is the only Christian sect that can trace itself back to Peter and Paul, and by extention Jesus himself.  Reorganized and codified by Emperor Constantine in the AD 300s, the Catholic Church was historically the first universal/unified church and the one with the oldest traditions.  Catholics have always maintained that scripture AND tradition are necessary to understanding the great mystery.  Protestants felt they needed to separate themselves from a church that they had believed was corrupt, not because of Christ, but because of church politics and from traditions they deemed spiritually harmful.  So, they embraced the Bible without the centuries old tradition along with it. 

The Catholic Church as an organization is roughly 1700 years old, but the Orthodox, Coptic, Anglican and Lutheran churches are also now centuries old themselves and have established their own traditions with which they are happy.  What should be done with them?  It’s a difficult question for a pope trying to create a dialogue toward reintegration.  Benedict seems to be trying to salvage a broken family of sorts by trying to get everyone back together under the same roof.  Whether or not rhetoric like this will help, I think it is good that the churches are at least talking to each other, which is always a great step in the healing and reconciliation process.

Fox News Picture.

Posted in Religion | Leave a Comment »