Monthly Archives: June 2010

Mad Men

I just saw a tv commercial, and it made me wonder.

Is Fred Thompson the next J.D. Hayworth?

In the commercial and on the website, former Senator and GOP presidential candidate invites seniors to sell their homes with a government backed reverse mortgage. Unfortunately, some seniors might find themselves in a position to need to do that, and that’s understandable.  However, there are other issues involved with pitching reverse mortgages, such as whether the practice encourages seniors to spend down assets that they might otherwise pass on to children as an inheritance.

I’d want to know more about AAG before I criticize Thompson too harshly on this. But one of my first thoughts when I saw this commercial was that “he can’t be too seriously considering running in 2012.”

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Filed under 2012 Presidential Election, Conservative Movement

Don’t taze me, bro! (The saga continues)

Remember this guy? Now it’s an 86 year old grandmother that cops have gone after, according to Lew Rockwell in a story highlighted on the Drudge Report this evening. Members of the El Reno, Oklahoma police department tazed her while she lay in bed, apparently threatened by her “aggressive posture.”

When are we going to stop seeing stories like this? I doubt anytime soon, unfortunately, for a variety of reasons (on a related note, you’d be stunned – no pun intended – to learn how many municipal police departments in this country now operate paramilitary-style SWAT teams).  

I suppose I should issue the perfunctory “most cops are great, etc, etc, etc,” right about now, before I slam these particular police officers. Frankly, that’s really not my concern.

You can read the story, but basically what happened is that ten police officers entered this lady’s home after emergency operators received a call that she may not have taken her medications. She didn’t want them there, so they stepped on her oxygen hose and tasered her not once but twice, then handcuffed her. She received burns, was bleeding, and became unconscious at one point.

This strikes a real chord with me right now, because I happen to be visiting my grandmother for a couple days in Lincoln, Nebraska. If  police ever did anything like this to her, you can bet I would be furious. Anybody would.

I’m for law and order. And cops have a tough job. Sometimes they’ll encounter situations where force is required. Sometimes it might be a tough call, and I’m not opposed to giving them the benefit of the doubt. This does not appear to be one of those times.

In Columbia, Missouri, a group has started a petition to prevent the use of tasers. From what I understand, their proposal would apply to anybody, not just law enforcement, so I don’t support it. But it’s a decent way to start the conversation about proper use of these weapons by cops.

As a final word, I normally keep things pretty prim and proper on here but let’s just be real. Lona Vernon – the 86 year old woman mentioned above – appears to be a victim. A victim of police brutality. I do not advocate acting on these principles necessarily, but I do not see how the conclusion can be escaped that she would have been justified in using a taser or other instrument of self defense against the armed individuals (the police officers) in her home. If she had done no wrong, had asked them to leave, and they attempted to assault her, I can’t see how she would not have been within her right to defend herself.

Again, I want to be crystal clear that she should not have actually done that. As a practical matter, it probably would have made things worse (heck, maybe this group of cops would have used their firearms at this point).  Additionally, just because something is morally acceptable doesn’t mean it’s the wisest way to proceed. But as something worth thinking about, there it is. (If anybody wants to try to portray me as an intemperate for suggesting an unarmed elderly woman has a right to defend herself against a group of ten armed men, please go right ahead – but be prepared to be put on the rhetorical defensive yourself).

Whatever the details, whatever the reason, there simply would appear to be no good reason for a large, armed group of uniformed police officers (who were told to leave the property) to assault an elderly, unarmed woman as she lay bedridden. As citizens and as human beings, we ought to be outraged and demand action when something like this happens.

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Fox News ditching news?

I’ve noticed that Special Report on Fox News (the cable news channel’s prime time newscast) has moved Brit Hume‘s commentary spots up in the program. I’ve gotta say, I like Brit Hume and I like his commentaries. But I think they should put those in the second half of the program, either right before or after the roundtable discussion.

Special Report is one of the few shows on FNC that is devoted primarily to hard news, as opposed to commentary, entertainment, or fluff. It’s been one of my favorite news shows for a while  – particularly when Brit Hume anchored the program until a couple years ago – and it’s been an important source of credibility for the oft-maligned network. Hume himself came to Fox News from ABC News, and while he garnered controversy over his Tiger Woods/Christianity remark a little while ago, I think he’s generally been a highly respected journalist with the public and professional media types alike.

Moving up the commentary, placing it right in the middle of the early reporting and news coverage of the program, takes away from the nature of the program as a news program. Even if they do put “COMMENTARY” in big floating letters behind Brit’s head.

The problem with Fox News isn’t that they don’t do real news, as some critics on the left have alleged. The problem with Fox News, as a self described “news channel,” is that they don’t do enough real news. Keep Brit, but keep him his editorial content on the “editorial page,” which in this case, is the last 20 minutes or so of the program.

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Filed under General & Miscellaneous

McChrystal and Rolling Stone

The lead headline on Drudge right now is the Washington Post‘s piece about a Rolling Stone article on Gen. Stanley McChrystal. The Rolling Stone article casts the general – who commands American forces in Afghanistan – in a negative light, citing comments from McChrystal and his senior aides critical towards other U.S. officials. The article comes out this week or next.

I’ve got a question: Why is Gen. McChrystal even doing a profile piece with Rolling Stone to begin with? It’s kind of like the American armed forces doing military exchanges with China – I’m sure there’s a point somewhere but on its face it just seems a bit risky and absurd. Did anybody around McChrystal think they were going to get any positive press from Rolling Stone? What was the motivation here? The general’s press secretary has resigned, and McChrystal has apologized.

Whatever the motivation may have been, something like this would seem to have been doomed from the start. McChrystal may well lose his position, which would be a high price for him to pay, but would also be completely justified in this case. There simply is no excuse for this type of behavior from an American general, and he should have known better. The whole incident is unfortunate.

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Do we live with passion?

My freshman or sophomore year of college at the University of Indianapolis, I took an intro level philosophy course. We had a great professor in Rev. Dr. Lang Brownlee, whose wise and friendly spirit I still remember. One day, Professor Brownlee told us that upon a man’s death, the ancient Greeks would ask one question: “Did he live with passion?”

The echo of that question has haunted man through the ages. Passion is within our hearts, and it is up to us to choose whether we will let loose that passion, and if so, to what end. If we know passion, then we know life. If we do not know passion, we do not know life.

If we live life beautifully, then our lives are a testimony to that which we believe in. Ultimately, there is one most beautiful thing in which and in whom to believe, and that is love, and the divine author of love.

This is not a religious blog and I am not a preacher – I’m quite sure the world does not need more “religion” and “preaching,”or that I would be fit to present such things if it did. However, exploring and experiencing the nature of truth, love and passion has consumed me as of late. These things are not only beautiful, but enable one to see the beauty – or tragedy – of all things, both near and far, in past, present and future.

P.S. Here’s a song I’ve been listening to recently. It’s called “Love Is Gonna Break Through,” by Chris Rice. Here are the lyrics, from his website. You can buy the song on iTunes or purchase the album on Amazon.com, or at a Barnes and Noble or from another other retail music seller. It is a powerful song about love. (Hint: It’s gonna break through!)

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Filed under Personal Living

Landing the Summer Job

Friends, a personal note. As I carry out some career search activities, I also need some part time work. It would be far better if I already had something lined up, but I don’t, and that’s the way it is. I am available from the present moment through the end of summer, or a few months into the fall at the most.

I don’t need anything fancy, just an honest job that I can perform to the best of my ability, collect my wages, and go home. If there’s something out there that allows me to use my unique skills and abilities, or learn something about an industry which interests me, or engage in rewarding social experiences, so be it. But most important is simply to work. I’m hoping for 15-25 hours a week, but I’ll consider anything, whether more or less than that.

If you’re an employer in the Columbia, Missouri area and have a need, or you simply know somebody who does, or even if you just have some advice for me, please feel invited to email me at my personal account, at brian.teague.johnson@gmail.com. Resume and references  available.

I’m determined to find something, and work hard for my employer. As I move through this process right now, any support, advice or encouragement is gladly received. Thank you!

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