Thursday, July 23, 2015

et ceteras

NAM
Erika and I never considered getting Sarah into pageants because we didn't want her to be a part of the "pageant world," for pretty much the same reasons as all the other parents who don't want that for their daughters.

But -- and you knew there was a but coming -- an exception to that rule happened upon us when Sarah was invited to try out for Florida's National American Miss (NAM) pageant. With NAM being a no-makeup, no-frills event, we felt that the usual pageant blather about building character and self-esteem was, in this case, not blather. After reading up on how contestants are judged; and seeing that contestants can also compete in a number of optional and separately judged categories; and knowing how devoted Sarah is to singing and acting; and knowing how talented she is -- we told her about the opportunity, told her she could audition if she wanted, and left the decision up to her.

She chose to audition, and after auditioning was invited to the actual pageant, which took place in Orlando this past weekend. She performed well in all three of the optional categories she selected, though she did not place in the top five in any of them. She did, however, place in the top 25 of her age group in the overall pageant, which is an outstanding achievement when you consider she had never competed in anything like this and was up against a field of either 129 or 140 contestants (I've heard both figures and don't know which is correct).

When her name was called as one of the top 25, I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I was for her. And while I felt somewhat bad for her when her name was not then called as one of the top five, I also found myself happy that her falling short of that distinction would keep her from getting too full of herself.

Plus -- and I'm not proud of this -- I was a little happy she didn't finish first because then she would have advanced to the nationwide event in California, and I have no idea how we could have afforded that without going into debt. Between entry fees, formal dress, other attire, hotel, etc., these things are expensive!

Anyway, Sarah has already decided to do it again next year and Erika and I are excited for it. Having been through it once and seen the husband-and-wife owners personally working at it and talking with contestants' parents, I am comfortable recommending it for your daughter. It did not escape our notice that all of the top five contestants, both in the overall pageant and in the optional categories, came across as anything other than fake.

NAM's web site is here if you are interested. I love you Sarah! 



Disastrous Deal
In my previous post, I already mentioned my thoughts on Obama's deal with Iran the multi-national Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. I am beyond confident that a large majority of Americans (and a unanimous number of Americans who know what they're talking about) agree with me.

But if you still need convincing that the deal is horrific and dangerous, just consider this: Israel and Saudi Arabia are united in opposing it, and Saudi Arabia is making noise about attacking Iran to nip its nuclear capabilities in the bud.

If you still need convincing after that, just consider that Eliot Engel (the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee) and Steny Hoyer (the House's #2 Democrat) have both voiced their opposition to the deal. And while you're at it, think about the kind of cojones it takes for anyone, much less a Democrat, to openly oppose anything that is desired by The Exalted One.


Disgraceful "Democrat"
President Obama is the commander in chief of all branches of the U.S. military. Last Thursday, a terrorist siding with our enemies in the War on Terror Overseas Contingency Operation deliberately attacked and murdered four U.S. Marines and one U.S. Navy logistics specialist on American soil -- and not only on American soil, but on military property specifically. Because Obama is commander in chief, the murdered personnel were in essence his employees.

From coast to coast, at buildings both public and private, American flags were lowered to half-staff in honor of the slain. Except, that is, for the American flag at the White House, which was kept at full-staff. It was not until after five days of mounting public criticism that our dear POTUS finally decided to have the White House flag lowered to its proper position.

It is easy for us conservatives to say "What Would Reagan Do" if such an attack happened while he was in office, but why just Reagan? What about Clinton? What about Carter? What about either Bush, either Roosevelt, or either Adams? What about McKinley? What about Washington or Jefferson? Hell, what about Martin Van Buren or Chester Arthur?

There is not a single POTUS in history -- other than Obama, that is -- who would not have immediately had the flag lowered out of respect for the deceased, for the loved ones of the deceased, and for the sacrificial spirit of our service personnel in general.

As you may recall, Obama is the same POTUS who had spotlights illuminate the White House in rainbow colors on the very night of the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling ... Obama is the same POTUS who, despite admitting that he did not know the facts surrounding Henry Louis Gates's arrest, wasted no time saying that the arresting officer behaved "stupidly" ... Obama is the same POTUS who has wasted no time broadcasting what he thinks about criminal cases that are still awaiting trial ... Obama is the same POTUS who refers to Iran's Ali Khamenei as "supreme leader," but refers to fellow American politicians only by first name (Diane, John, etc.) rather than observe the traditional protocol of using their titles (Senator Feinstein, Congressman Boehner, etc.).

In the sub-heading above, I put the word "democrat" in quotation marks because democrats, regardless of whether the D is lowercase or uppercase, are by definition supposed to at least have respect for the opinions of those they claim to serve. But Barack Obama, the titular head of the American Democratic Party, clearly has the opposite of respect for any public opinion that is contrary to his own. Instead he has contempt, and it's not an outrageous inference to believe he has contempt not merely for differing opinions but for the humans who hold those opinions. If he did not have personal contempt, he would not take actions that are the equivalent of spitting in the faces of our soldiers and flipping off observant Christians and Jews. And this is my long way of explaining that I did not put the word "disgraceful" in quotation marks because our POTUS is, in fact, a disgrace.


Blago!
I saw this headline and was immediately reminded of this post I wrote more than six years ago. It does not make much sense for me to sympathize with Rod Blagojevich. He certainly appears to be crooked. But I still believe he was railroaded so that others, who were guilty of more, could skitter away unharmed. And I find it encouraging that his sentence has been thrown out and five of his convictions vacated for the time being.


Coming Soon
I have a number of projects in the hopper. Which is to say that I have started several posts which I've failed to finish. That happens when you have a family to feed, your blog does not generate money, and you find yourself eager to write about Topic B before you've finished writing about Topic A.

My plan is to complete those unfinished posts in the near future and finally post them. One is about a threat to our corntry that is receiving scandalously little press. Another is about the recent brouhaha over the so-called Confederate flag. Another is about Planned Parenthood and abortion. Another is about how the Right, despite the Left's claims to the contrary, is where you will really find respect for science among American political thinkers.


Links
One of the most moving letters ever written from a parent to a child. In this case, an adopted child.

More about the book that helped inspire the above letter.

Read this if you think athletes are dumb. Even if you think they are only generally dumb. Seeing its headline made me think of this item I read 23 years ago. The second link is to an article written about Troy Vincent when he was coming out of college. As you may recall, he went on to play 15 years in the NFL; was a team captain for 13 of those 15 years; is now on the Board of Directors for the University of Wisconsin Foundation; was the first active NFL player to serve on the National Board of Directors for Pop Warner Little Scholars Football; and is currently the NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations.


Until next time, take care!