Thursday, October 16, 2003

Looking Forward to Friday's Rush Limbaugh Show

Yes, I know that Rush won't be on. That's ten percent of why I'm looking forward to tuning in. The ninety percent that matters is who will be on: Walter Williams!

Williams is not the smoothest delivery ever to grace the airwaves. He is, however, extremely skilled at explaining economic principles in plain language, using common examples. He uses these examples to guide his politics, as I think anybody intelligent person should do.
The War on Success

That's another way of saying, "I was rooting for a Cubs-Red Sox World Series," or, "I was rooting for the lovable losers". Alas, the Cubs are toast, and I have no doubts that the Yanks will dispatch the Sox tomorrow night.

Thomas Sowell's latest column is entitled, "The War on Success," but he doesn't talk about baseball at all. He talks about the attack on wealth in the U.S. I'd like to think that my comments on the baseball playoffs supplement his article nicely.
Klop Campaign Chugs Onward, Upward

Uphill, more like. It's tough enough to run as a Republican in a district that tends to vote about 80% Democrat, but like trying to turn a lump of coal into a diamond for a Libertarian to run and win in such a district. And yet, Brad Klopfenstein chugs on.

Tonight, members of the campaign team gathered to sift through the list of registered voters in order to find citizens who might be inclined to vote for Brad over the slated Democrat. We stuffed brochures and fridge magnets into envelopes for tomorrow's mail. Over the next few weeks, Brad and the team will continue to knock on doors throughout the district, and to visit neighborhood associations and churches.

Brad has been on hand to monitor the pathetic, money-wasting, time-wasting ballot dispute between Democrats and Republicans, in order to protect the status of Libertarians on the ballot. (Click this link for his letter to the Indy Star some three weeks ago.) Out of his constant attendance, he has gained greater respect with the local news media, earning quotes in Star articles and a positive feature on a recent Fox 59 broadcast. (Click this link to the LPIN website, and then click the link to the broadcast.)

He is doing so much right, and deserves to get so much more in return, but we will probably have to take solace in achieving secondary objectives after the election. He wants to win all of the precincts in his home district, and stands a good chance of doing so. He wants to gather more votes than the Republican candidate, and almost certainly will. He wants to win some of the precincts outside his home district, and should take a handful. He wants to win converts to the LPIN, and certainly will do this too. This is the ground work Democrats have done over the past 20 or so years, and it has served them well, converting a Republican city into a Democratic one.

For me, the most frustrating thing is knowing that Brad's main opponent, Democrat Patrice Abduallah, is doing next to nothing. He's mailing it in, in his own way, sitting back patiently, trying to give us no ammunition, banking on the voting trends of the district to take care of business for him. It's frustrating to be able to predict that he is probably using a winning strategy.

It's frustrating to know that so many citizens will be happier to vote for a Democrat who sees fit not to campaign hard before considering a vote for a Libertarian who does, but those are the results of Democrats earning the votes over years. But the lesson is that the work must be done in order to put Libertarian candidates in the same position 20 or so years from today.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Small Joy in Mudville

The Cubs imploded. So, where's the surprise?

This franchise's very calling card is defeat, and Cub fans identify with it in an almost sick way, which is why I find no irony in a Cub fan interfering with a ball that would have in all likelihood been the second out of the eighth inning. How perfectly fitting.

Now the Cubs and their fans, who were five outs from their first trip to the World Series since 1945, will have to agonize until the end of a deciding Game Seven, and then probably longer. It reminds me of a cruel joke my cousin and I used to tell about my brother.

Q: How do you set Rich up with a small business?
A: Give him a big one and wait nine months.

That, in a nutshell, is the story of Chicago Cub baseball.

But don't mistake me for one who is gloating over this misfortune. The only joy I can take from this is that the Marlin players were looking positively forlorn up until this point in the game, and with a tiny break going their way, the Marlins were energized and capitalized completely, scoring eight runs to leave all wearing blue at Wrigley in a state of shock.

Come to think of it, the resiliance of the Marlins should be the story here, but the mindless support of the perennial underdog is getting in the way.

Anyway, it was George Bush's fault. He was in the stands and interfered with Moises Alou. Damn that rascal George W. Bush!

Monday, October 13, 2003

Keeping an Open Mind

Tim Steyskal, my pal back at WCSB in the late 1980s, had a saying about an open minds: "An open mind is often little more than an open pit ready for backfilling".

That said, I've been intrigued by the consistency and uniformity of the left in its' unwavering attack on George W. Bush. I am so intrigued, that I have decided to adopt this for myself.

For instance- in last week's hockey game, I scored a goal and had three assists. I really should have scored another goal, but my shot missed the net, because I hurried my shot.

Oh- wait! It was George Bush's fault. He's responsible. I would have scored two goals if not for George W. Bush.

That's easy! Now I understand a third of why they do it!
Rush and Drugs -- the Conservative Dilemma

Rush Limbaugh admitted an addiction to painkillers. If Rush were a libertarian, he would have been saying for years that you own yourself, ergo, the use of painkillers is a personal issue, not a societal one. Alas...

The following was recently penned by Steve Dasbach of the Libertarian Writers Bureau:

Conservative icon Rush Limbaugh has confirmed the rumors – he’s addicted to prescription pain medication. It’s obvious that he has broken our nation’s drug laws. Which poses an interesting dilemma for his fellow conservatives.

According to Rush and other conservative drug warriors, “drug users ought to be convicted and sent up” as Rush himself put it. Sent up, as in sent to prison.

So here’s the conservative dilemma. Should Rush, a self-admitted “drug user” be “convicted and sent up?”

If they say yes, they’re advocating silencing the most powerful and influential conservative voice in America -- imprisoning a man they admire and respect. If they say no, they’re contradicting everything they’ve claimed for years about the need to fight the War on Drugs with stiff criminal penalties, including jail time, for drug users.

Do conservatives think that society will be better off if their friend and idol Rush serves a long stretch behind bars as “punishment” for his drug use? Or that a long prison term will somehow “rehabilitate” him? If not, then why would they advocate such treatment for the sons and daughters and friends of ordinary Americans?

Conservatives argue that stiff criminal penalties, including jail time, are necessary to deter drug use. But such penalties failed to deter Rush, a strong willed individual who preaches self-reliance, responsibility, and the importance of the rule of law for three hours every day. If draconian drug laws and mandatory minimum sentences didn’t deter him, how likely are they to deter lesser mortals?

One presumes that conservatives embrace the ideals expressed in the Pledge of Allegiance, including “justice for all”. That means the same laws are supposed to apply to everyone, whether it’s a wealthy celebrity like Rush or a faceless inner-city man mired in poverty. In fact, Rush himself has advocated jail time for athletes and Hollywood celebrities who use drugs.

So if conservatives still believe that drug users should be sent to prison, doesn’t that mean that Rush should be imprisoned too?

Some conservatives seem to be having problems coming to grips with this dilemma. When the bombastic Ann Coulter was repeatedly asked if she thought Rush should be sent to prison, the best she could come up with a lame comment that if her mother committed murder, she wouldn’t want her sent to prison. Sorry, but that really isn’t an answer.

Another prominent conservative focused on the fact that Rush got hooked on legal drugs, conveniently ignoring the fact that he bought them illegally, and that the drug laws conservatives support make no such distinctions. As far as the law is concerned, Rush is no different than the person who buys marijuana, cocaine, or heroin.

So how will conservatives resolve this dilemma? Some will probably decide to sacrifice Rush on the altar of principle. Others will demonstrate by their actions that they are simply hypocrites. They’ll support Rush in his time of need while continuing to advocate prison for other drug users.

But perhaps, just perhaps, Rush’s addiction will be the catalyst that prompts fair-minded conservatives to reevaluate their unquestioning support for the War on Drugs. Perhaps they’ll decide that if it makes sense to let Rush decide for himself how to deal with his drug problem, perhaps it makes sense to let other drug users make their own decisions as well.

This isn’t an abstract issue for me. As the father of four nearly grown children, I’ve had to face the challenges posed by tobacco, alcohol, and drug availability that all parents must confront. Of all the fears associated with confronting these issues, my greatest fear has always been the one Rush’s friends are confronting now – the possibility that someone I care for will make a bad choice and have their lives destroyed by the criminal justice system that is supposed to protect us.

Nothing will be gained by sending Rush to prison. Nothing is gained by imprisoning other less-famous drug users either. If Rush’s fellow conservatives resolve their dilemma with compassion, perhaps we can all agree to stop treating drug use as a crime and stop wasting lives. And we can continue to enjoy “Excellence in Broadcasting” for many years to come.

You can subscribe to the National Edition of the Libertarian Writers Bureau. There is also an Indiana version.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Lovable Losers 2

I penned the item below, only to have ABC's Nightline do a feature on the subject, rah-rah-ing the Cubs and Red Sox. Bleah. Thanks for nothing. Ben Affleck was interviewed, wherein he embodied the senseless envy of success right on cue. Er, thanks, Ben.

I found that a search for the phrase 'lovable losers' turns up quite a bit of verbiage, most of it dedicated to the Cubs. There is even a website called Pathetic.

As I write this, the Marlins are leading the Cubs 2-0 in tonight's game, but trail the series 3-1. I still have great faith that the Cubs and their sad-sack fans will have to wait until late in the 21st Century before they can experience the thrill, since the Yanks are bound to continue to dispatch the Sox, and then in turn, the Cubs.

My quest for continued excellence took two hits this weekend, with one survivor. In college football, Ohio State's string of 19 straight victories was snapped. On the NFL gridiron, the hometown Colts lost less than a week after their inspiring Monday Night defeat of the Super Bowl champ Bucs. On the upside, the Colts lost to the undefeated Carolina Panthers. The Chiefs had a miraculous OT win over the Packers to keep their season perfect.

It's still possible for a perfect Super Bowl as the AFC Chiefs could face either the NFC Panthers or Minnesota Vikings in a final battle of unbeaten teams. That would be a million times more exciting than a Cubs-Red Sox Series... which won't come to pass anyhow.

Go Yankees.