Monthly Archives: June 2010

I Love You, Dad

As a child, I said these words to my dad on a regular basis. Sometime around adolescence, I stopped saying them. It wasn’t because I stopped loving my father. I guess it was just that adolescent male transition. Somewhere, I don’t know when, the adolescent me discovered that it just wasn’t “manly” enough.

Flash forward to today. I’m the dad now. My young son tells me that he loves me all the time. I cannot express how much it thrills me to hear those words. At some point, I realized that I wasn’t saying them to my dad.

I’ve heard the songs like “Everything I Own” by Bread, written by lead singer David Gates as a tribute to his late father. The lyrics contain a very potent reminder that you need to tell those you love of that fact. I’ve also heard the stories that read like letters to Dear Abby about people who found themselves in that situation. In addition, I know people who experienced that heartache. Stories like that move your heart. These things led me to start hugging my dad more when we were visiting my parents, but still saying the words was hard. Years of not saying them had made it difficult. As I said before, I have always loved my father – I just stopped saying it directly. Even though I stopped saying the words, I found other ways to express my love for my father. However, I now realize that is not enough. Every time I hear my son say: “I love you, Dad,” my heart soars with rapture that cannot be expressed.

I no longer care about society or culture’s ideas or my perception of them. I cannot and will not refuse to say those words anymore. It’s not easy – years of habit cannot be erased easily. I don’t know if that awkwardness exists for every man, or just for me. It doesn’t matter. I love my dad and I will tell him.

“I love you, Dad!”

Is there someone you know,
You’re loving them so,
But taking them all for granted.
You may lose them one day,
Someone takes them away,
And they don’t hear the words you long to say
from “Everything I Own” by David Gates

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Criticizing the NRA’s “carveout”

updated 6/18/2010, 6/20/2010
Note: Upon further consideration, my position regarding this issue has changed. I have chosen to leave the original parts, and simply add new material at the bottom of the article.

Redstate is among the many voices criticizing the NRA for their decision to take the “carveout” in the latest attempt at campaign “finance reform.” Indeed, many NRA members, myself included, do not agree with the decision to take this exemption from a bad and unconstitutional piece of legislation. Even a member of the NRA’s board has joined in the criticism.

It looks as though the leadership of the NRA decided to take the first offering instead of holding out for something better. Though I do not agree with their actions here, I do understand them. The NRA may be mighty (and this shows that the left fears them), but they do not have unlimited resources. They would prefer to spend their time and money fighting for the second amendment and allow other single issue organizations to fight for the first. Therefore, they took the first small victory rather than hold out for the better victory they could have attained. While I understand why they took that action, I heartily disagree with it. First, there is no guarantee that the “carveout” would survive into the final version signed into law. Second, the ‘carveout” would not protect other champions of the second amendment like the state affiliates of the NRA as well as its “rival” organizations. This does not serve the cause of our second amendment freedoms. Third, the law is, itself, unconstitutional and an affront to all free people.

The problem, though, is that this actions has led to people cancelling their NRA memberships and calling on others to do the same. This is not a good idea. I will NOT cancel my NRA membership.

To abandon the NRA because they are not perfect is not wise. If you support the right to keep and bear arms, you should be in the NRA if you can afford to spend the $35/year. If you prefer another group, such as the GOA, then join BOTH. The NRA has something other “purer” groups don’t: numbers. The left doesn’t fear the GOA, JPFO, or any other gun group. They do fear the NRA. The NRA has serious clout because of their history, their reputation, and their numbers.

Despite this disagreement, I will continue to be a proud member of the NRA. They are my best representative on second amendment issues in DC and nationwide.

Let me clarify, I’m glad that the NRA participated in the fight for the first amendment. I just know that when negotiating from a position of power, one does not take the first offer of the weaker party. Am I overestimating the power of the NRA? If this exemption were all they could get, then I could see doing that, but this is the name that makes liberals go into a cold sweat.

I understand that the NRA is not a first amendment organization. They only got into this fight to protect themselves and got out as soon as they were protected. They want to reserve their resources for the second amendment. I understand that. I just think accepting the first offer from the surrendering party is not the best strategy. The NRA is exempt, but what about their state affiliates. Besides, the exception could easily be repealed and allowing the law to pass sets a very bad precedent.

Anyway, that was not intended to be the main point of my post. The point was that I am still a proud and loyal member of the National Rifle Association. Those who would leave the NRA over this would only weaken the cause of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

6/18/2010 (addendum)
The Washington Post reports that the NRA’s exemption to the DISCLOSE act has caused disunity within the Democratic party. This may have the effect of killing the bill. I sincerely hope so.

Upon further consideration of the issue, I no longer oppose the decision by the NRA to accpet this exemption. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a part of me that objects to this, but overall, I believe this is the right decision. I had considered deleting this post as I no longer agree with my original position regarding the exemption, but decided to leave it and add to it so that my reconsideration of the issue might be a part of this record.

As to the people who are leaving the NRA over this issue, my position has not changed. The NRA is the largest and most effective organization defending our second amendment. Leaving because of one or even many disagreements is not a good idea (unless you no longer agree with the right to keep and bear arms). I don’t agree 100% with anyone, even my wife, who I love beyond words. If you believe in our right to keep and bear arms, join the NRA. If you want to join other “purer” groups as well, then do that too. I believe that we need all of our organizations. They help each other (even if they don’t admit it) though they could do a better job at cooperative effort.

6/20/2010 (addendum)
What made me change my mind was thinking of the TV show M*A*S*H. The 4077th is a battlefield hospital in a war, not a civilian hospital in a quiet little town. When mass casualties arrive, the doctors there must engage in triage and meatball surgery. There are more patients than surgeons or time. Now, a TV show is not going to be consistently accurate in their depiction of medical procedures, but these procedures (as depicted in M*A*S*H) are instructive as we are engaged in a (metaphorical) war for our second amendment rights.

Triage is separating patients into categories and priority levels. Basically, some patients will live even if they have to wait. These patients can be ignored for the time being until the more urgent patients are taken care of or if their condition worsens. Other patients will die no matter what can be done for them or would require a level of care that could not be provided due to the number of patients and limited resources. As unpleasant as this is, these patients must be ignored in a crisis situation. Patients with an intermediate level of need are seen first.

“Meatball surgery” is a colloquial term for battlefield surgery. It is done quickly with the goal of stabilizing the patient enough to survive. This would allow the surgeons to move on to save other patients or transport the patient to another hospital where the surgical “fine tuning” could be done.

In this “war” to preserve our liberty we must triage or pick our battles. Some fights are more strategically important or even easier to win. Other fights must be avoided or postponed.

Similarly, we sometimes must perform “meatball surgery” – not putting full resources into a worthy fight in order to have resources available for other fights. The 4077th would “patch them up then send them out” to another hospital in order to maximize resources. The NRA joined this fight, achieved its objective, then handed the fight to other organizations – ones that are dedicated to preserving the first amendment. The NRA is mighty and greatly feared by the opponents of liberty, but it does not have limitless resources. The forces of statism are fighting this war on many fronts with the resources of wealthy progressives behind them. Unfortunately, there are more battles than can actually be fought at any given time.

Just as any physician who values the Hippocratic Oath will be pained at having to follow these emergency procedures, I and others are not completely satisfied with the outcome of this situation. However, I now believe that the leadership of the NRA made the right decision here.

The NRA’s statement regarding the “DISCLOSE Act.”

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Limited Government – Fast Food Style

I’ve eaten at more fast food establishments than I can count. Some are quality and some are not. 

One of my favorites is Chick-Fil-A. Famous for their spelling-impaired cows, Chick-Fil-A has made a name for themselves by selling an amazing number of menu items that feature chicken. You can get it grilled or breaded and fried; patty, strips, or nuggets; on a bun, in a wrap, in a salad, or by itself. They even do chicken for breakfast! Chick-Fil-A basically does one main thing (with a variety of smaller things in the side) and does it well. 

In-N-Out Burger is another favorite of mine. This west coast establishment also has a “do one thing, do it well” philosophy. Where some fast food joints have over twenty combos, In-N-Out has three. (Of course there is also their “not-so-secret secret menu,” but that is just a re-arrangement of existing menu ingredients.) Missing is the bewildering array found at most fast food restaurants – there is a beautiful simplicity to their menu. I’ve watched employees in so many eateries have to look up seldom-ordered menu options. In my own (brief and fruitless) fast food experience, I had to look up things as well. At the well-oiled machine that is In-N-Out, I have never seen an employee bewildered at what something is. Their kitchen is open, so customers can see what is going on inside. A large window in the drive-through ensures that customers there can see in as well. Again, we see an eatery that does one thing, and does it well. 

Both of these culinary delights are quite popular despite not having the bewildering menu array we have come to expect from fast food restaurants. I would assert that the simplicity of their menus is a leading contributor to the quality that customers appreciate in their products. 

Now, contrast that with our government. Over the past century or so, the size and scope of our federal government has grown considerably, as have those of the states. Government is doing for us many things that we ought to be doing for ourselves. As a result, the bureaucratic intrusion in our daily lives has grown crippling to our liberty and the economy. Taxes, permits, fees, regulations, paperwork… the list grows rather than shrinks. 

In an attempt to “straw man” the concerns of conservatives, tea party activists, and others; those on the left have often accused us of wanting no government or even being anti-government. This is not at all what we want. We want what our Constitution mandates: a government limited to a few specific areas. Within those areas, the federal government has tremendous power and authority. Outside those, it has little to none. 

By seeking to do everything and taking authority away from the states, the people, private enterprise, private charity, and private organizations the federal government has bloated itself beyond reason. This is not just an argument against high taxes or high spending. The very fact that the government is trying to do things that is not designed to do, has no constitutional authority to do, and is not effective at doing is causing it to fail at it all. 

I would rather have the “lean machine” government that was both effective and respectful of the Constitution and the people. Eateries such as Chick-Fil-A and In-N-Out Burger are able to focus on quality through their relatively simple menus. The government would do well to learn from their “do one thing, do it well” philosophy. 

Hindenblog asserts that President Obama’s attempts to straw man fans of limited government opens the door for us to talk to others about just what limited government is all about.


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How I Spent “Earth Hour” 2010

Yes, I know it’s been a while since March 27. I just finished putting this video together and so here it is:
How I spent “Earth Hour” 2010 by turning on every light in the house (and a few outside).

Some enviro stick-in-the-mud is going to be offended by this. I’m more offended by the nanny-statist mentality that seeks to take away my freedom in order to satisfy the demands of enviro-socialist watermelons (green on the outside, but red on the inside).

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America bashing open borders hypocrisy

I don’t have any intention of doing video blogging on a regular basis, but every now and then, I have something to say that just strikes me on the spot wherever I am.
This is an older piece that I have had on my youtube account for a while and decided to post it here just in case anyone cared to see it.

Transcript: (just in case you don’t want to play the video)

Hey, you know the bash-America crowd is often times the same as the open-borders-let-everybody-in-no-restrictions crowd.

That kind of amazes me because if America is just this awful horrible place “Oh, it’s just so bad, it’s so bad” then why do they want to let these people in?

I mean, my goodness! If you have any compassion for those people at all you’d say: “No! Stay out! Stay out! America’s bad! No, you don’t want to come here!”

This kind of hypocrisy just kind of amazes me.

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