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This is the personal weblog of Aakash Raut, established Sept. 2002. It will cover current affairs, worldwide & national topics, local & university events, and provide insight and commentary on contemporary issues and the news from his perspective. Enjoy!

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    Sunday, August 31, 2008

    Draft Notice

    In a rare case of completion, I published below a recent entry that was in progress. And this one is dandy, if I do say so myself:

    "That Don't Impress Me Much"
    (Shania Twain meets Barack Obama) [and Sgt. Hook!]

    [Now, on to the Convention! (though please watch below, as I - hopefully! - get more working content published, pinged - and maybe even read! ;-) ]

    Syndicate this Site, and Atom RSS feeds
    University Blog - Atom Feed - RSS

    Also, I recently received my third e-mail (since I started this blog... Wow, it's now approaching on six years!) - at least the third one I can recall - asking me to publish an RSS feed.

    When Bill Dennis e-mailed me about that, it was probably in the interim between when my original RSS feed stopped being hosted, and when I started using a new one, as Blogger decided to inherently include an Atom feed service.

    I was thinking that the others who might have experienced trouble "syndicating this site," or adding it to their "blog feed readers" (known as aggregators - that was the word! ;-) may not have seen the RSS image-links, on my sidebar. Just looking at my template now however, I see that one of those images has redirected its url, so perhaps it wasn't loading properly... and the other seems to be dead, and ends up nowhere. (Perhaps the specific url just needs to be updated.)

    Anyway, here at the locations of my RSS feeds:

    University Blog - Atom Feed - RSS

    Also, you can subscribe to my blog, using Bloglines:

    Thursday, August 28, 2008

    Practice for the Republican National Convention
    (I'll be there, in Minnesota!!)
    Live-Blogging Obama's speech

    Despite not planning to post new entries, until I've published the ones saved as drafts below... I thought, when I saw this speech beginning, that I should start my laptop again, to live-blog - As practice for Minneapolis/St. Paul (was just talking to the new CR Chairman at another U of IL, about plans for this, as part of the CRNCs STORM "Top 40" contest).

    Hillary was the one "on the ticket" who "travelled the farthest"? Huh?
    [Note: This is about where I started listening... So the part of the statement I heard may be misunderstood.]

    What? Bush has been a much bigger supporter of big government than his predecessor - and than any President since LBJ.

    "Eight is enough" - That's clever... I wonder if any other campaigns, in this situation have used that.

    Senator John McCain votes with President George W. Bush "90% of the time"? Dick Morris just noted that most of the congressional votes are unanimous. (Commending this team... Commending so-and-so... Praising Harriet Tubman, etc...)

    Phil Gramm's statement showed why Pat Buchanan wiped the floor with him (and nearly with Bob Dole as well) in the 1995-1996 presidential primaries.
    [Update (8/31/08): Check out: McCain Throws in the Towel for Gramm -- Says Gramm "Cannot" Win, November 16, 1995]

    Opposing the "ownership society"? Barack Obama should consult with Malcolm X - or Marcus Garvey... Despite their faults, these black leaders understood the value of freedom and capitalism - of self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship.

    When Bill Clinton was President? The labor unions didn't think that

    "Sleeps just three hours..." I used this line, which was in a prior speech.

    Barack Obama supports job-destroying "free trade" deals, despite trying to run away from that, in the primary against Hillary.

    CNN Fact ticker - "Obama won his US Senate seat in Illinois, by defeating Republican Alan Keyes."

    Yes, and he also won over 50% of the vote, in a 7-candidate primary. Jack Ryan was going to lose

    Government should "provide every child a decent education"? "Invest in schools?"

    If he is talking about state and local governments, then that's one thing. But he is talking about the federal government - and therefore, what he is arguing is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

    (Then again, Bush has been a bigger violator of the Constitution, with regard to the education issue, than any President before him. Whatever happened to dismantling the Department of Education, and returning its power to the state and local governments?)

    Cut taxes? Shouldn't the tax cuts (actually, taking cuts) go to those who are putting the most in?

    End dependence on oil from the Middle East? Start drilling now!!

    Clever shot at McCain's age.

    We should not be importing all of that foreign oil.

    I hope he supports nuclear power, unlike many liberals of the past... Whose hysteria prevented this.

    "jobs that can't be outsourced"? Why not stop outsourcing the current ones?

    Investing in education, hiring teachers, ensuring that everyone "can afford a college education" - is not the RIGHT of a President. That is something that must be done by the state - and especially local - governments. (Update (8/29/08): Then again, with regard to ensuring that everyone can afford a college education... That is not something that everyone is constitutionally entitled to. There are already so many scholarships, as well as federal aid and financial assistance from various sources, that students receive. It would be great if everyone could afford a college education, and that is a goal that we should strive for, but what does Obama plan to do, to make this happen?)

    At least his health care plan is not as bad as that of Hillary Clinton.

    "Protect Social Security for future generations"? Then I assume he would support the Bush plan. I wish Bush and the Republicans had enacted it.

    How will he "pay for every dime?" By taking more money from others.

    Eliminating programs that do not work.. Hmmm.... I hope that he really would do this, if he was elected.

    Finally, he uses conservative, pro-family rhetoric. I am glad he mentioned fathers.

    Individual responsibilty.

    *** When he criticized the Iraq war, applause was light.

    When he called for a troop surge in Afghanistan, and criticizes McCain for not being hawkish enough, against bin Laden, applause is higher.

    He did not give any specifics, about the Iraq war, or withdrawing troops. Applause was quite light, when he mentioned this topic... Though he did say that "even the Bush administration" has concurred, in this regard.

    He refers to the liberal hawk Presidents [liberal internationalism, as we've discussed here before], in regard to his foreign policy.

    **** But Barack, you [and other Democrats] do, in fact, take your positions, for political purposes. This is true with regard to foreign policy, and other matters.

    "Reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies"? What about "reducing the number of abortions"?

    Wow - There is such big applause, when he mentions gay and lesbians.

    Immigration: Mothers are not typically separated from their "infant children." That is absurd.

    But at least he mentioned the employers who drive down wages, by hiring illegal aliens. (I wish he had used the term "illegal aliens" - but at least he said the word "illegal," rather than "undocumented workers.")

    I wonder if, in the general election, he will be able to use the right & left intra-movement cleavages on the immigration issue, to outflank McCain. Both liberals and conservatives noted that if John Kerry had done this in the last election, he might have won.

    I agree that that would likely have been the case.

    [Update (8/31/08): In 2006, the Dems finally followed that advice, and they finally won. And if you're thinking of using the Oberweis-Foster special election example, from earlier this year, please don't - Though that's another backlogged entry that needs to be published...]

    The blue-collar, working class voters (Reagan Democrats and Perotistas), are the [pivotal] key, to winning elections - Not other voting blocs. [Update 8/30/08: What I mean is that this segment of the electorate is the pivotal key, to swinging presidential elections to the victor's favor... Statistically more significant than the other groups of voters.]

    Okay, I'll say it: "white" voters... Though working class people of other races are also key, in this regard.

    Outsourcing, NAFTA, GATT, CAFTA, mass immigration - These issues will be key to getting the votes of this pivotal part of the electorate.

    That is how Bill Clinton was able to be re-elected in 1996. (The last time a Democrat won the White House.)
    [Update (8/31/08): I should clarify, what I mean is that, with respect to immigration, Clinton took a tough tone against illegal immigration, and also endorsed a significant reduction in legal immigration, as per the recommendations of the Barbara Jordan Commission (yes, that Barbara Jordan - another topic that I've been meaning to blog about.) But with respect to trade and labor, and those phony "free trade" agreements, a key pivotal reason that we lost in 1992 and 1996, and nearly lost the last two times as well, is because our nominee concurred with the Democrat on those matters, causing many of those Reagan Democrats to either go back to the Democrat nominee, or vote for an alternative party candidate.]

    Note: This is a "Rush Transcript" uhh... rush blog entry. (I should have practiced live-blogging more, during these past years - I really, really wish I had. Maybe I would be better off then, in doing quick-posts and commentary.)

    I therefore plan to edit the above, for clarity, and with hyperlinks. (I know of certain past pieces that would be excellent, for that.)

    I also need to share something, about my upcoming trip to the 2008 Republican National Convention, in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

    But I want to publish this now, as is.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Can't Bear It

    I have several posts-in-progress on Obama & Biden saved as drafts (as I mentioned in my last post), which will be published, either below, or above.

    But I wanted to say right now, that I've noticed that Slick Willie has just resurfaced, and is starting to speak [at the Democratic National Convention in Denver].

    I think I am about to throw up.

    Sunday, August 24, 2008

    Barack Obama: That Don't Impress Me Much
    Barack won't keep us strong in the middle of the night

    Note (8/30/08): Though this entry - and especially the song adaptation - were composed around the time of posting, it wasn't published until 7:30 PM CST on Saturday, Aug. 30th.

    [Update (9/12/08): Trackbacked to Point Five, Diary of the Mad Pigeon]

    Remember those annotated song lyrics (or "lyrical photo essays"), that Sgt. Hook used to post? I had had the idea, awhile back, to do one of my own. That had never been accomplished, until now.

    On the way back from the Bloomington (IL) airport [BMI] early this week, my father flipped the station to one that came in (in the McLean County area), and Shania Twain's "That Don't Impress Me Much" came on. (Check out Michael Sean Morris on this... apparently, Shania has had a birthday since then, and his post has the award-winning music video; you can also see it here.) I thought that this might be good, for my first blog lyrical song annotation, with respect to Barack Obama (who was just formally nominated the other night).

    I didn't realize how appropriate it actually was, until I started doing this post.

    "That Don't Impress Me Much"
    Come On Over, Shania Twain
    Written by Shania Twain and Mutt Lange.

    I've known a few guys who thought they were pretty smart
    But you've got being right down to an art
    You think you're a genius - you drive me up the wall
    You're a regular original, a know-it-all

    Oh-oo-oh, you think you're special
    Oh-oo-oh, you think you're something else

    Okay, so you're a rocket scientist
    That don't impress me much
    So you got the brain but have you got the touch
    Don't get me wrong, yeah I think you're alright
    But that won't keep me warm in the middle of the night
    That don't impress me much

    I never knew a guy who carried a mirror in his pocket
    And a comb up his sleeve - just in case
    And all that extra hold gel in your hair oughtta lock it
    'Cause Heaven forbid it should fall outta place


    Okay, so you're Brad Pitt
    That don't impress me much
    So you got the looks but have you got the touch
    Don't get me wrong, yeah I think you're alright
    But that won't keep me warm in the middle of the night
    That don't impress me much

    You're one of those guys who likes to shine his machine
    You make me take off my shoes before you let me get in
    I can't believe you kiss your car good night
    C'mon baby tell me - you must be jokin', right!


    Okay, so you've got a car
    That don't impress me much
    So you got the moves but have you got the touch
    Don't get me wrong, yeah I think you're alright
    But that won't keep me warm in the middle of the night

    That don't impress me much
    You think you're cool but have you got the touch
    Don't get me wrong, yeah I think you're alright
    But that won't keep me warm on the long, cold, lonely night
    That don't impress me much

    Okay, so what do you think you're Elvis or something...
    That don't impress me....

    Saturday, August 23, 2008

    Senator Joe Biden, Liberal Hawk
    Live from Springfield, Illinois

    In my blog entry last night (and in prior posts), I've mentioned that I have had trouble keeping this blog updated, even though I have many entries that I have planned, or partially-composed. I break out of these blog-quagmires however, when something major occurs. Despite my weekend advice in that last post, tendered originally by Angel, I did think it necessary to publish something here, in conjunction with the Obama running mate announcement, since it is taking place right here in Springfield.

    Here's the thing: Last night/morning, at about 12:40 AM, I went back to the home page of "Stop the ACLU," to see if my trackback ping, from that last entry, had gone through. I was surprised to see that that site had been updated, with the news of confirmation that U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) was going to be the one.

    I would have liked to have blogged something at that time [Update: Like our old friend Patrick Ruffini did - at the new "The Next Right" site], but I was exhausted, and needing to get to my car appointment today. I was thinking of sending a text message out, but it was nearing one in the morning, and I was afraid that might disrupt some people (this happened once before). However, when briefly watching the news at Green Toyota on Wabash this afternoon, the CNN anchorlady mentioned text messaging, and how people were staying up all night, or something like that.

    I tried blogging from there, but my car was ready unusually-fast (I hope everything was done right).

    I then decided that I might as well make my way downtown... Being outside anyway. I got here during the speech, and am now at Andiamo. (Amazingly, I got a free table, right here in the tiny main part of this restaurant coffee house.) There are a lot of people still downtown; the crowd seemed to be very large today.

    Well, there I go again. I had meant to post something, having the idea last morning/night, about how Senator Joe Biden is one of the liberal hawks - those who support military interventionism, based upon the Wilsonian principles of the "Clinton Doctrine." I covered these issues in a series of entries in November 2006, in which I pointed out that if Democrats are able to take over Congress, that would not lead to anti-war policies... It could, in fact, yield the opposite. I pointed out that, on the foreign policy Committees in both chambers of Congress, the "Ranking Members" (i.e., the top Democrat, who would become Chairman, if the Democrats won a majority in Congress), were more hawkish than their Republican counterparts (who were then the Chairmen, of those House and Senate Committees).

    Instead of expounding on that, this entry has become a live-blog (kind of), of this event... I thought that would be appropriate, with me being one of the first Springfield, Illinois political bloggers.

    ** A couple of news people, who may be from WCIA news, came in here, with a video camera... I hope that, if people see me here on television, they don't think I was here to support Obama/Biden. I want to make clear that the only reason I came here was to try to cover the event, in the Blogosphere (esp. considering the lack of good entries here, unlike in past years).

    Will post my thoughts about Biden (in regards to both foreign and domestic policy issues), hopefully in my next entry. [Perhaps later today...]

    [Update (4:09 PM): Still at Andiamo [though all the other customers have left]. Told my parents to tape the WCIA (Channel 3) news at 5:00 PM, to see what happens. Maybe I should have offered to give a young Republican perspective on today's events.** (Had I swallowed this Espresso shot [still sitting in the bottom of the cup, next to me], at that time, I might have been more assertive. They just told me that they are about five minutes from leaving (they quickly ran out of supplies and food today). But I wanted to link to our good friend John Donovan, at Castle Argghhh!

    **Then again, that's what this blog is for.]

    Friday, August 22, 2008

    Rest and Relaxation

    The last time someone posted an entry like this (i.e., Josh Claybourn), I was in a significantly-better time of my life... And also, I was a student then.

    Right now, it is also summer (like then, and considering that I am not taking classes right now - unlike that summer - one would think that I would be more able to take a breather right now. Perhaps that should be the case, but I've found that I've seem to have lost some abilities (or perhaps some - sta-bilities) during the past few years. Then again, I was so much more active and productive during this more-recent period, so that probably explains why I've grown older fast.

    Right now, I am looking for a job, for the remainder of this calendar year. (I am not going to be taking classes, this Fall semester... I already have two college degrees, and I am looking to do something political, during this key period.) I was just mulling over this, earlier this evening.

    And that is precisely why I think that that may actually be the right approach, for at least part of this weekend. While it's important to get things done, being constantly worried and apprehensive won't help with anything.

    So, while it may not feel right, I think I will follow WTH's counsel, for at least part of this weekend. I guess she's right... I really don't have an excuse.

    You probably don't either, so why not take a break - at least for tonight and tomorrow [Saturday]? Don't worry about attending Barack Obama's running mate announcement here in the capital city - Stay up late tonight, sleep in in the morning, and spend the day reading (or listening to books on CD, mp3, or iTunes), watching television (or rented DVDs) [or of course, the 2008 Summer Olympics!], sipping a coffee or latte, or even a Red Bull, if you want the extra zest, and munch on some popcorn (or order pizza [or something else] from Domino's). [Update (8/23/08): For those with an ever-active mind, you can play Trivial Pursuit, or a online trivia games (though I'd recommend a break from the computer - you can just read the cards). Doing crossword puzzles has become a recent hobby of mine - and I've heard it can have some benefits as well.]

    I mentioned in my last post that I have had troubling clearing my ever-growing backlog of blog entries (which has been happening for awhile), and it's been hard to get around to composing and publishing. I think that I'm going to have to at least post something during (or more likely, after) Senator Barack Obama's announcement of his running mate, since it's happening right here in Springfield. (I'll be at Green Toyota at the time, because I finally scheduled my Camry general inspection appointment, for the early afternoon.**) But I'll try to make that posting short; I've been spending way too much time behind my laptop screen anyway.
    [Update (11:11 PM): Check out Gribbit's Thoughts at "Stop the ACLU" or at his own blog.]

    I think I may turn in a little early tonight, so as to have more energy for tomorrow.

    Then again, maybe not. (See above.) I suggest you follow that advice above, and Angel's advice for this weekend - at least for tomorrow.

    Let the Democrats worry about who their Vice-Presidential nominee will be.

    Put aside, in your mind, your thoughts about the upcoming Fall semester.

    Put aside what awaits you at the office - or wherever else - at work on Monday.

    [Update (11:33 PM): Check out this thoughtful gem I just found from Michael at the superb 2Blowhards site.

    Make sure you are at church on time on Sunday. But for tonight and tomorrow: Kick back, relax, and smell the roses.

    When we don’t get enough rest, we have difficulty concentrating, thinking clearly, and remembering things.
    Trust me. This I know first hand. Ha.

    - from "Woman Honor Thyself"
    How does Miss Angel know me so well!? ;-)

    ** Note: I had to cancel the last two Green Toyota appointments I scheduled last week, for my Camry; on Tuesday, it slipped everyone's minds, as we had family over (visiting from Calgary), and on Friday, I canceled it, to attend the latest stop on the "Hot Air Tour" (Americans for Prosperity) - that didn't go well (unlike in Milwaukee [though there was a hiccup there too] and in Tennessee [except perhaps Nashville] and the TarHeel State, though Al Gore and John Edwards would disagree! ;-)... In fact, the wind over Festival Park on the Peoria Riverfront prevented the hot-air balloon from getting very far off the ground.

    I also wanted to mention that while I did get a top-of-the-line, custom-made, Toyota Camry (V6 XLE), the brand-new (then) Camrys were made in the USA. I was on top of this issue, before Barack Obama [and remember when he took a different stance, when running for U.S. Senate, against our candidate, Dr. Alan Keyes... who also took the traditionalist conservative stance, on trade and economic nationalism]. This excellent OP-ED is one of those, on my previously-mentioned "backlog", that I wish I had a change to write about.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    [Update (8/22/08): Since I posted this, I've noticed two items featured on the HP AOL default home page, for my Internet Explorer browser, which are directly related to one paragraph of this entry:]

    - An Olympian's Gold Medal Focus,
    posted: 2 DAYS 5 HOURS AGO comments: 119 filed under: Health News

    -- [Update Update (8/23/08): Michael Phelps has a new book that will published, later this year ("Built to Succeed"). The prior one, which I linked to in this entry (below), is being re-published as a paperback (Michael Phelps: Beneath the Surface). [Hat tip: Hilary Lewis]

    - Gold Medal Couple: Michael Phelps and Australian Swimmer Stephanie Rice,
    Fanhouse - Olympics

    - Also, for the Numb3rs-minded, you might want to check out this post, from a new weblog I just found out about (having been out-of-the-loop again, for awhile), via the Ecosystem. (I wonder where my weblog has fallen to, in that ranking.)

    Not going to take it anymore

    I'm mad... And have been so, since about the last day of last month.

    This summer has been different than last summer (less hectic and grueling, thank goodness!), but one thing that is the same, is that I have continued being gypped, by a number of people and groups.

    Facebook "Note" from last summer: "Not Acceptable"

    During this time, it seems I still haven't had the focus, energy, desire, or time to publish new entries (only drafts for them). Even the new "placeholder" tactic I tried (see April post below), doesn't seem to have worked.

    My new laptop, despite having been purchased only a few months ago (by my parents, from Circuit City during the "Relay for Life"), already seems to be acting up, despite supposedly being the top-of-the-line. (I wish I'd been able to purchase a MacBook! [Or "Macbook Air"!!])

    Anyway, because I didn't want any more time to pass, without new content, I thought I'd just use this space, to post short items, with material about very-current hot topics. I published that Paris Hilton ad (on Obama and McCain) below (actually, a link to it, posted by the amazing Linda T. Muller at Pat Buchanan's blog).

    I thought I should also post something here, about the 2008 Olympics, currently taking place in Beijing, China.

    Check out Howard Phillips and The Conservative Caucus

    Why did our government boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics? (Were others right to boycott Melbourne in 1956? What about 1976 in Montreal?) Should President Bush be boycotting this Summer's Olympics in Beijing?

    BTW: Liberals also urged a Bush boycott this time around, including the suggesting of it as possibility by Senator Barack Obama - whom I just a few hours ago heard will be returning here to Springfield, to announce who his running mate will be. (I was glad, when checking Howard Phillips blog [after linking to it above], to see that it won't be the heroic Colonel James Webb, as that would make things just too conflicted and mind-wrappingly twisted, especially for those of us who are traditionalists, or on the Old Right.)

    I wonder how Michael Phelps would've felt about that. After hearing the news yesterday, about him and President Bush, I wonder if he's a Republican (like other Olympians are). That wouldn't be surprising (despite First Daughter Jenna Bush now being married), considering his drive and motivation, and overcoming of obstacles. (I wish I could find the keys, to be able to overcome, as he and others [such as Kyle Maynard] have.)

    - - - - - - - - - -

    Beijing China Summer Olympics 2008

    ||| Daily highlights |||| Medal count |||

    Another method, of filling this blog space with fresh content, is to publish, as new entries, good comments that I have recently posted at blogs (but in some cases, was never published there). That might be what will be published here next (either before or after I fill in the drafts saved below, and click the "Publish" button).

    VIDEO: Paris Hilton Responds to John McCain’s Celebrity Ad

    Web-posted by Linda Muller [check out]

    Also check out: ["Don't go" Guerrilla Congress] #don'tgo

    Update: Barack Obama compared himself to Paris Hilton first? [Hat tip: CR Nation]

    And, John McCain's response to Paris Hilton's response ad:
    - What the McCain campaign said. [Dr. Steven Taylor is not impressed...]
    - What they should have (!?) said.