Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Well, he’s out.
And I’m left with three great questions that inspire only mediocre answers, if indeed there are any answers that can be provided at all:
One, why vote against Fred? I don’t mean why did they; I mean why should they have. The best answer I ever heard came from our friend in New Mexico, that Iron Eagle III was a bad movie. The answer I hear most frequently has something to do with “fire in the belly.” This is vastly inferior to the Iron Eagle answer, because fire in the belly is a quality best shown by voters, not by candidates. And here’s a news flash: When you go shopping for a car, and you start making your decision based on the twinkle in the salesman’s eye, and the sparkle on the salesman’s teeth — as opposed to whether you’ll be pleased with the car a year from now — that, there, is a symptom that you’re missing some fire in your belly.
Two, why vote for Huck? The best answer I’ve heard to this question, came from Chuck Norris, I think. Something to do with being younger than 84. No, seriously why vote for him? Why should he have received the votes in South Carolina that Fred was seeking? More “animated”? He’s an ex-preacher? His southern accent is more convincing? Please. Am I to believe this was a process of predicting who’d stand the best chance against a democrat in November? Seriously? I’m to believe our thin-skinned secularists would not be agitated by statements like “that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards”?
Three…lacking some kind of reform, does our electoral process have any better chance of installing a quality leader at the head of our government, than a game of roulette? I’ve not heard anyone passionately defend this part of the campaign, where the early-states get to cull the herd before said herd has been inspected by anyone else. Nobody’s tried to improve the process either, other than through this absurd game of leapfrog in which the states move up their primary election dates to one-up each other. The effect thus far: The length of the campaign season has roughly doubled, from just shy of a year, to just shy of two.
I heard on the radio that the one “True Believer” in the presidential race, was pulling out. Now all we have is a bunch of smooth-talkers and professional wafflers, Republican and democrat…people who’ve raised millions of dollars by showing much greater concern about hairstyles and voice inflections, than about the content of what’s coming out of their mouths. And why shouldn’t they be so concerned. They’re still up, Fred’s down. The least cynical conclusion I could draw about the process we have, is that it’s biased toward candidates who are not listed in Iron Eagle movie credits. And y’know, call it a hunch…but I don’t think that’s it.
But the fact that Fred’s out, doesn’t upset me nearly as much as what comes next. Know what I was doing at the very moment I got the word? I was affixing postage stamps to my voter registration form. Millions of Americans just like me never had a say in this thing.
Well, I have some ideas about what to do going forward. I can’t vote for Fred. But I know why I wanted to — it wasn’t that Fred agreed with me on every single position, although he did on many. It’s that Fred represented things. He had the balls to put it in writing.
At this time, I’ll have to ask…seriously…if this is not the “fire in the belly” we really all want. Because I think it is. It takes gonads to write columns, spelling out exactly what your beliefs are. Especially in the year you’re running for President of the United States. This nation was founded by men who had these kinds of cojones. It is a “paper” nation, not a bumper-sticker nation.
Well, whatever personal attributes Fred Thompson has, are non-issues now. But his beliefs are relevant to the decision we still need to make.
Therefore, I’d like to propose a little game at this time with my blogger friends.
Here is the archive to Fred’s statements from his campaign website. It’s very fashionable now when you support a candidate who represents nothing, to evade the truth by uttering those four magic words “Go To His Website” to find out what the charlatan-candidate’s position is. But at Fred’s website, you find something different. You find real positions on issues…archived, signed, and dated. That’s right, Fred is a blogger. One of the most fearless.
And here is the archive from Fred’s column on National Review Online.
The little game I’d like to play, is to simply snip from your favorite ones. Fred does the writing, you do the choosing. And when you’re done, ask some of your blogger friends — whoever is known to you to be dissatisfied with the conservative choices — to do the same. I’ll bet when we’re finished, we’ll have just a few columns that can be easily seen to enjoy widespread support. From those like me, who backed Fred, and from others who…whatever. Didn’t like Iron Eagle. You know who you are — the guys who think Huck or Rudy or Mitt “might do more good than harm,” or “are just as good as anybody else.” Those of you who are struggling to pick the right candidate to get the message out. I know you’re frustrated just like me. Spend a few minutes defining the message.
Let’s find out where the common ground is among us. Maybe by the time we’re done, God willing, someone will be in a position to ask the remaining candidates what they think about all that.
Here are my favorite Fred Thompson columns. They’re sampled from the issues that mean the most to me. I wonder if he said something that resonates with anybody else?
Real American Idols, April 5, 2007
If you tune into the news, you’re going to end up hearing or reading at least the headlines of stories you’d probably rather not know about. Somehow, I know that Paris Hilton may have violated her parole. I’m not sure how it happened, but I even know a little about Britney Spears’s hairdo, divorce, and trip to rehab. These bits of cultural trivia, I really wish I hadn’t digested.
What I’m not going to do now is scold editors for spending more time on Anna Nicole Smith and Lindsay Lohan than the details of our federal budget. To begin with, it would have about as much impact as it would for me to tell some pop starlet, who has more money than I ever will, to put on some decent clothes and behave herself.
I do think, though, that we should be worried when our children are shown over and over again that people who are rich and famous, and are presented as “idols,” get even more rich and famous due to behaviors that would be rightly deemed tragedies in most families. So, instead of telling our news sources what not to publish, maybe I could make a few suggestions for additional programming.
There are young women who are succeeding because of all the old virtues that we want our children to learn and emulate — women whose stories are just as compelling and entertaining as Britney Spears’s. One is Candace Parker, the 20-year-old forward for the University of Tennessee’s Lady Volunteers — who just won the NCAA women’s basketball championship.
Candace has complained in the past when journalists focused solely on her, the Lady Vols’ high scorer, instead of her entire team. I wouldn’t want to offend her, so I will point out that Shannon Bobbitt and the entire team also did what had to be done to win this year — drilling and working out hard in the off season when other teams were taking it easy. Still, Candace is the kind of role model I would want my daughters to look up to. She’s earned academic honors while putting in the time necessary to win Tennessee’s first championship in nine years, and will stay in school despite being eligible for the pro draft. My wife, by the way, is proud just to share her hometown of Naperville, Illinois.
Another role model critical to the Lady Vol’s accomplishment is head coach Pat Summitt, who has more victories to her credit than any other coach in NCAA basketball history — men included. Summit has just earned the first contract for a women’s basketball coach worth more than a million dollars a year.
Now, you may be asking yourself if I’m not just bragging about the Lady Vols because I’m a Tennessean, and I might not even argue with you if you said so. In fact, I’ve found myself humming “Rocky Top” ever since the team took the NCAA cup, but both of these women, and the other Lady Vol team members as well, have shown the discipline, sacrifice, and desire that anyone can and should aspire too. For the sake of our daughters, they ought to get at least a fraction of the coverage our media gives embarrassing, dysfunctional celebrities.
Sanctuary Cities, August 14
If you listen to folks who oppose immigration and border enforcement, you get the feeling they think we put locks on our doors to keep everybody out. The truth is we have locks so we can choose who comes in.
An example of what happens when we don’t make the choice took place August 4th when three Newark, New Jersey, college students with great promise were executed, gangland style. The killers’ ringleader was apparently an illegal alien indicted twice in 2007 for felonies, including the rape of a kindergarten-aged girl.
Why would such a person be set free instead of being handed over to authorities for deportation? The answer is that Newark is a “sanctuary city” which bans cooperation between local officials and federal immigration officials. More than 60 sanctuary zones, including 30 of America’s largest cities, provide a national networked haven for foreign and organized criminals who recruit and operate outside those areas as well. These sanctuaries include Cambridge, Massachusetts; Los Angeles, California; Detroit, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; Austin and Houston, Texas; Denver, Colorado; and New York City.
Plutonic Warming, March 22
Some people think that our planet is suffering from a fever. Now scientists are telling us that Mars is experiencing its own planetary warming: Martian warming. It seems scientists have noticed recently that quite a few planets in our solar system seem to be heating up a bit, including Pluto.
NASA says the Martian South Pole’s “ice cap” has been shrinking for three summers in a row. Maybe Mars got its fever from earth. If so, I guess Jupiter’s caught the same cold, because it’s warming up too, like Pluto.
This has led some people, not necessarily scientists, to wonder if Mars and Jupiter, non signatories to the Kyoto Treaty, are actually inhabited by alien SUV-driving industrialists who run their air-conditioning at 60 degrees and refuse to recycle.
Silly, I know, but I wonder what all those planets, dwarf planets and moons in our SOLAR system have in common. Hmmmm. SOLAR system. Hmmmm. Solar? I wonder. Nah, I guess we shouldn’t even be talking about this. The science is absolutely decided. There’s a consensus.
A New York State of Mind, August 22
When I was working in television, I spent quite a bit of time in New York City. There are lots of things about the place I like, but New York gun laws don’t fall in that category.
Anybody who knows me knows I’ve always cared deeply about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. So I’ve always felt sort of relieved when I flew back home to where that particular civil liberty gets as much respect as the rest of the Bill of Rights.
Unfortunately, New York is trying, again, to force its ways on the rest of us, this time through the courts. First, they went after U.S. gun manufacturers, seeking through a lawsuit not only money but injunctive control over the entire industry. An act of congress in 2005 blocked, but did not end, that effort.
Now, the same activist federal judge from Brooklyn who provided Mayor Giuliani’s administration with the legal ruling it sought to sue gun makers, has done it again. Last week, he created a bizarre justification to allow New York City to sue out-of-state gun stores that sold guns that somehow ended up in criminal hands in the Big Apple.
Reclaim Greatness: Lower Taxes. Enforce Laws, November 30
I believe there are millions of Americans who know our security and prosperity are at risk if we don’t address the challenges of our time – the global threat of terrorism; taxes and spending that will bankrupt future generations; and a government that can’t get the most basic responsibilities right for its citizens.
In 1994 when I first ran for the Senate, I advocated the same common-sense conservative positions I hold today. They are based upon what I believe to be sound conservative First Principles, reflecting the nature of man and the wisdom of the ages. It is a basic recognition that our rights come from God and not from government. Essentially, it’s about freedom. A government big enough to do everything for us is powerful enough to do anything to us.
These principles lead me to believe in lower taxes, free markets, private property and fair competition. These principles made America great, and we should rededicate ourselves to them, not abandon them.
Second Amendment: A Citizen’s Right, November 21
Here’s another reason why it’s important that we appoint judges who use the Constitution as more than a set of suggestions. Today, the Supreme Court decided to hear the case of District of Columbia v. Heller.
Six plaintiffs from Washington, D.C. challenged the provisions of the D.C. Code that prohibited them from owning or carrying a handgun. They argued that the rules were an unconstitutional abridgment of their Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights, provides, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The District argued, as many gun-control advocates do, that these words only guarantee a collective “right” to bear arms while serving the government. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected this approach and instead adopted an “individual rights” view of the Second Amendment. The D.C. Circuit is far from alone. The Fifth Circuit and many leading legal scholars, including the self-acknowledged liberal Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, have also come to adopt such an individual rights view.
I’ve always understood the Second Amendment to mean what it says – it guarantees a citizen the right to “keep and bear” firearms, and that’s why I’ve been supportive of the National Rifle Association’s efforts to have the DC law overturned.
Wishful Theorists, March 27
So they’re going to dig up Harry Houdini. They want to see if he was poisoned by a powerful league of spiritualists for exposing their phony séances. The doctor who’ll examine the remains also exhumed Jesse James’s coffin a few years ago — to see if the outlaw outwitted authorities by having another man buried in his place.
People love a good conspiracy theory, which may be one of the reasons that actor Charlie Sheen is going to narrate a documentary about how the World Trade Towers were brought down by the U.S. government. About the same time, Rosie O’Donnell added her credibility to the project.
It was an interesting coincidence that their announcements hit the news just as the military released Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s confession regarding his role in planning the 9/11 attacks — and a lot more. Of course, we didn’t really need his confession, because his career has been so well documented.
Iran, Nuclear Weapons, and the NIE, December 6
The new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran’s Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities doesn’t change my view of that we need to restrain Iran. The NIE confirms that as recently as the fall of 2003, Iran was covertly working to develop nuclear weapons. Perhaps they have since halted their covert nuclear weapons work, but meanwhile they continue to aggressively pursue a uranium enrichment capability, despite the fact that it makes no economic sense as a civilian program.
This program was begun secretly as part of their larger nuclear weapons program and could be converted to bomb-making in short order. The knowledge and equipment necessary to enrich uranium for civilian nuclear fuel is identical to that used to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb; making fissile material for an atomic weapon just takes a little longer. Iran developed this program covertly and illicitly (in violation of its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty safeguards obligations) and pursued it for years before the United States and others found out about it. Iran’s transgressions are numerous: it failed to declare its activities, hid key portions of its program, and acquired material and technology illicitly, among other things. Much of this continues to this day.
As recently as two weeks ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran is not fully cooperating with the agency. IAEA Inspectors continue to have limited access to Iranian nuclear sites and their knowledge of Iran’s nuclear activities is “diminishing.” Iran has rejected the further transparency measures the IAEA has requested. Tehran has also refused to bring into force the Additional Protocol—an agreement that would give IAEA greater access to Iranian facilities to determine whether illicit activities are occurring. If all secret work has ended and Iran’s enrichment program is really for peaceful purposes, why this continued secrecy? What is Iran hiding?
Update: Kathryn Jean Lopez nails it shut.
He raised the bar for detailed policy prescriptions. You get the impression from what he says and from how he says it that he’s got consistent conservative instincts. He’s grounded.
You believed him when he said Saturday night, “It’s never been about me. It’s never even been about you. It’s been about our country and about the future of our country …. Our party is being forced to look in the mirror….” If it was about him he’d probably have kept his comfortable Law & Order paycheck and let someone else brave the Iowa State Fair heat and reporters’ comments on his Guccis and golf cart.
They say he had no “fire in the belly.” As he’s put it: If the worst thing you can say about him is that he does not want to be president desperately enough, that’s not a bad position to be in.
“He’s a depth guy,” is the way Rush Limbaugh described the senator. Much, much worse could be said. He has something politicians ought to emulate, who too often have their thoughtfulness media-trained right out of them from the get-go. You saw it in his policy positions; you saw it when he debated our Ramesh Ponnuru on federalism last year; you saw it at times during the debates — especially the last one in South Carolina, where he was clear, commanding, entertaining — and, of course, conservative.
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