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Republic. I like the sound of the word. It means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. Some words can give you a feeling that makes your heart warm. Republic is one of those words. - John Wayne

Saturday, September 20, 2008
 
SlowJoe Biden: Patriotism Is All About The Benjamins
by Cordeiro
SlowJoe Biden, who many people have already forgotten is Obama’s choice for VP, has a new yardstick for patriotism. It isn’t respect for the flag, the ability to recite the pledge of allegiance or sing the national anthem. Biden’s standard for whether or not you love this great nation is all about the Benjamins. Actually, it’s all about the Benjamins you send in to Uncle Sam each year on April 15.

According to SlowJoe, the more you pay in taxes, the more patriotic you are – especially if you make over 245 large in a given year.

As of this writing, I have yet to cross the arbitrary Obama-Biden “rich” threshold of 245 large. Actually, I’m well short of that line, but it is one I hope to someday cross. I consider myself a Patriotic American even though I take and maximize every single tax deduction to which I am legally entitled. I’ve even enlisted Turbotax which made me aware of several deductions which I had not taken advantage of previously.

In short, I pay as little to Uncle Sam annually as I legally and possibly can. You see, I’ve got this strange notion that myself and the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro are better qualified to decide how exactly to spend or invest our hard earned cash than is SlowJoe Biden or even (gasp) the infinitely wise and learned Obamessiah.

SlowJoe doubled down on this issue yesterday, invoking not only the “patriotism” incentive for higher taxes, but also including an ecclesiastical reason as well:
Catholic social doctrine as I was taught it is, you take care of people who need the help the most.
Pardon me, Joe. I’m not nearly the scriptural theologian you are, but I can’t seem to remember any scriptural requirement for government to soak the rich to “take care of people”. I seem to remember something about “rendering unto Cesear that which is Ceaser’s”, but that’s as far as it went. Simply put, that "social doctrine" you were taught dealt with what you do with your own money, not with the money you collect at the point of a gun from others. We've already seen your priorities with your own pile of cash.

If Obama and SlowJoe want more of my money, they’re going to have to prove to me that my life and my family will be better off with them taking my money than it would be with me keeping it. Simply put, Barry and Joe, the ROI (Return On Investment) numbers don’t support that.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
 
102 Minutes
by Cordeiro
I’ve spent the past few days trying to put together a fitting tribute on this anniversary of September 11th. After much thought I came to the conclusion that I could only write something from my perspective on that day as mine is the only perspective of which I have first hand knowledge. You’ll find this post below the fold.

In the mean time, if you do nothing else today, take a look at this video…and remember.

It was a normal Tuesday morning on September 11, 2001. For me the day began much like most days did – finding me waging the battle of the bulge on a Nordic Track in the garage of my Los Angeles home. At 0530, I began my workout on that dreaded torture device with Blogfather Hugh’s morning radio show murmurings in the background.

Shortly after 0546 I heard Blogfather Hugh deviate from his normal morning routine as he began to make mention of a “tragedy in New York City”. He mentioned something about the World Trade Center having been evidently struck by a plane. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t pay much attention – it was after all well before sunrise and I wasn’t really awake yet. I finished my workout and wandered into the living room and turned on MSNBC a few minutes before 0600.

My verbal reaction to the image on the screen (something having to do with sanctified natural fertilizer) woke the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro who then came in to find out what the ruckus was about.

She rounded the hallway corner into the living room just seconds after 0603 – the moment in which United Flight 175, piloted by Marwan al-Shehhi, tilted its wings and impacted between floors 77 and 85 of the World Trade Center’s South Tower.

We sat there and watched in stunned silence for what seemed like an eternity. 34 minutes later, as NBC’s Jim Miklashevski reported live at the Pentagon, his entire desk shook as the building absorbed American Airlines Flight 77 as it the westernmost wall.

In the midst of all this I managed to ready myself to head for my office near LAX. As I was heading for the door at just before 0700, the unthinkable happened. There was a loud rumble, audible even to the cameras in the distance, and the South Tower collapsed upon itself like a folding telescope. Lower Manhattan disappeared in a huge cloud of smoke, dust, and pulverized debris.

America was in a state of shock. New York City was in a state of panic. Unbeknownst to all but a few, two minutes earlier the passengers aboard United Flight 93 had decided to take action. Their own plane had been hijacked by the same band of Islamofacist Murdering Thugs responsible for the other hijacked airplanes.

Thirty-seven passengers and five crew members were herded into the aft section of the Boeing 757-200. The intentions of their hijackers soon became clear. Some passengers had made phone calls to friends and loved ones who informed them about the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. They looked at each other. They took a vote. They decided to rush the cockpit and attempt to reclaim the aircraft.

It is said that America’s strength is neither in her military nor in her treasure. America’s strength is in her citizens. Forty-two Americans, most of whom had not known each other prior to that morning, banded together and started to push the drink cart down the aisle to do battle with their captors. The final words anyone heard from these brave souls were those of Todd Beamer:
Are you guys ready? Okay. Let’s roll!
Six minutes later, United Flight 93 crashed nose first at 563 miles per hour into a reclaimed coal mine in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Thus began America’s counterattack in the War on Terror.

Having stopped for breakfast on my way to the office, I saw the North WTC Tower collapse upon itself at 0728. Though nobody knew it, at that moment the attack was over. When all the dust had settled and the smoke had cleared, some 2,996 men, women, and children perished on that Tuesday morning in September.

From the time the American Airlines Flight 11 impacted the North Tower to the time that same tower collapsed down upon itself, a total of 102 minutes elapsed. Those 102 minutes would forever change America. For weeks after that day, Los Angeles radio station KFI ran a haunting one sentence reminder at various intervals during the day. On either side of the voiceover was about five seconds of dead air – just enough to get your attention. Then a voice stated:
It could have just as easily happened here.
Los Angeles is a geographical continent and cultural world away from New York and DC. Distance and culture notwithstanding, LA ground to a halt just like most metro areas. Businesses and schools shut down and parents like me were left wondering just exactly how to explain the events of that morning to our children.

My son Corderinho, then a three-year-old bundle of curiosity, was very concerned. You see at that time I traveled often for business and he would accompany the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro when she either dropped me off or picked me up at LAX. When I told Corderinho that some “bad men” had crashed the planes into those big building, he looked at me with the quivering lip unique to three-year-olds and asked:
Daddy, are there bad men on your planes?
No three-year-old should have to ask that question.

A few years ago while visiting New York City, I made a pilgrimage to Ground Zero. As I stood looking out over the 20 acre hole in the ground, I was approached by a Boston PBS station reporter who put a microphone in my face and asked me how I “felt”. My answer surprised the reporter:
I am still angry.
There were no follow up questions and I’m sure the interview got tossed in the corner of the cutting room floor.

I leave you today with a performance by Billy Joel at the Concert for New York City – an event held a few weeks after September 11. He wrote this song some thirty years ago as a science fiction song, but the lyrics are very prescient. The video is interspersed with footage from 9/11 – some of which is difficult to watch.

Count me among the handful.
Friday, September 05, 2008
 
Ground Noise And Static
by Cordeiro

On the whole I have to admit the John McCain gave a solid speech last night. There were parts of it I liked, and parts of it to which I was indifferent. It was evident that he was comfortable with the fact he wasn't going to out shine "Stiletto" Sarah Palin. McCain is much more comfortable in a setting where he can interact with his audience. TelePrompTered podiums aren't his best venue.

 

That said, there was one part of the speech that surprised me. Most people, men especially, are very uncomfortable speaking about their failings or vulnerabilities. Type A personality fighter jocks (a demographic in which McCain spent a good part of his life) are among the guys least likely to reveal such personal details.

 

So when McCain began to describe his experiences as a "guest" at the Hanoi Hilton after he turned down an offer of early release by his captors, I found these four words very revealing:

 

And they broke me.

 

I haven't heard that from McCain before. He may have spoken about it prior to last night, or written about it in his memoirs, but that admission was news to me. I think such a frank statement from a man who has been billed as a hard-nosed, street fighting tough guy will make him seem just a bit more human.

 

Now a word or two about the protestors who tried (unsuccessfully) to add their own soundtrack to the evening's main event.

 

I watched the whole speech on TV, so I was obviously limited to whatever the cameras were showing. By my count I could see at least three protestors (one man, two women) who had to be forcibly removed from the venue after they tried to disrupt it and distract McCain.

 

All three were shouted down by the assembled masses. NRO's Jim Geraghty noted that two of the protesters came from a spot "suspiciously near the press section."  The one male protester looked like he hadn't bathed in the past six months. As for the Code Pinkos – I'm not positive, but it appeared as though at least one of them was attempting to disrobe. That, dear reader, would have been a serious wardrobe malfunction. Some people simply should not be naked.

 

I did some searching this morning and I can't find any reports of Obama's coronation speech having been interrupted by right winged lunatics screaming references to his shady political dealings with unrepentant terrorists and convicted felon slumlords.

 

McCain's reaction to these attempted interruptions was the use of a warning given to pilots regarding ground operations and radio communications:

 

Don't be diverted by ground noise and static.

 

There will be a lot of ground noise and static generated in the next eight weeks. Most of it will come from Team Obama with an assist from its press office, commonly referred to as the Mainstream Media. As the polls are now even, my money is on that static being thick enough to cut with a hunting knife.


Thursday, September 04, 2008
 
Palin Speech Reax Roundup
by Cordeiro

The New Republic's Stump Bloggers declared Sarah's performance to be "alarmingly strong".

 

She impressed the DNC press office, commonly referred to as the Associated Press.

 

She's got Gloria Steinem tied up in knots.

 

At the Chicago Sun-Times, Mary Mitchell summarized it this way:

 

Those are the kinds of jabs the Obama campaign will have a difficult time dealing with simply because Palin is a female, and the campaign will not want to appear to be sexist.

 

Actually, Mary, Team Obama will have a hard time dealing with Palin's jabs because of one simple reason: in addition to being devastatingly accurate, Palin's broadsides have the added value of being true.

 

Over the past few years of blogging, I've come to use nicknames when referring to politicians and other "celebrities" in the public sphere. After watching Sarah Palin's speech last night, despite her well earned moniker of "Sarah Barracuda", I've decided to start referring to her as "Stiletto Sarah" because this is the song that came to mind after she finished her Twin Cities debut:

 

She cuts you hard, she cuts you deep
She's got so much skill
She's so fascinating that you're still there waiting
When she comes back for the kill
You've been slashed in the face
You've been left there to bleed
You want to run away
But you know you're gonna stay
'Cause she gives you what you need

She cuts you out, she cuts you down
She carves up your life
But you won't do nothing
As she keeps on cutting
'Cause you know you love the knife
You've been bought, you've been sold
You've been locked outside the door
But you stand there pleadin'
With your insides bleedin'
'Cause deep down you want some more
Then she says she needs affection
While she searches for the vein
She's so good with her stiletto
You don't really mind the pain

 

- Stiletto by Billy Joel

 
Stiletto Sarah's next major event will be her debate with her vice presidential opponent SlowJoe Biden. SlowJoe is famous for taking several hours to say absolutely nothing and putting his audience in a coma during the process. After last night's barn burning performance, SlowJoe needs to be afraid…very afraid.
 
Here endeth the lesson.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008
 
All Experience Is Not Created Equal
by Cordeiro

In deference to Kaiser's Lament about the seemingly never ending tit for tat exchanges between the two campaigns on the issue of experience (or lack thereof), I was going to leave the issue alone. Really. I was.

 

But then Obama came out with this (un-TelePromTered) zinger glorifying his executive experience compared with that of Governor Sarah Palin during an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper:

 

Cooper: And Senator Obama, my final question, some of your Republican critics have said you don't have the experience to handle a situation like this. They've in fact said that Governor Palin has more executive experience as mayor of a small town and as governor of a big state of Alaska. What's your response?

 

Obama: Well, my understanding is that Governor Palin's town of Wasilla has I think 50 employees. We've got 2,500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe $12 million a year. You know, we have a budget of about three times that just for the month. So I think that our ability to manage large systems and to execute I think has been made clear over the last couple of years.

 

So, Obama's experience running for office trumps that of an actual elected official serving in the capacity of chief executive at both a local and state level. Now there's a take I haven't heard before.

 

First off, running a campaign holds little in comparison to running a municipality or a state for that matter. Campaigns have, by definition, finite life spans. On November 5th – win or lose - the Obama-Biden 2008 campaign will cease to exist. Smart campaign staffers will make sure their paychecks clear before that date. Caterers and other service providers would be wise to demand up front payment for services rendered – or they might end up on the short end of the stick like those owed money by Team Hillary. Municipalities, on the other hand, have to deal with issues more important than the size of the next big media buy.

 

Secondly, Obama's belittling of Palin's tenure as a small town mayor will probably backfire. The liberal legend House Speaker Tip O'Neill made famous the undeniable political truth that "all politics is local". To be blunt, local politics is all most Americans ever really deal with. Mayors, city council members, county supervisors and other local politicians are where the rubber meets the road. They fill the potholes, ensure the trash is collected, and deal with local zoning issues in addition to other mind numbing details that make the local municipality run. Effectively managing a city – even a small one – is much harder than it looks on paper and far more difficult than anything Obama has ever attempted.

 

And thirdly, Obama's answer to Cooper's question simply – and obviously – skips over Palin's tenure as governor of the great state of Alaska. As NRO's Byron York noted, Alaska has 15,000 employees and an operating budget of $11.2 billion. I'm not much of a numbers guy, but those figures dwarf anything Obama has ever held executive responsibility for. As far as I know, the last executive position Obama had was editor of the Harvard Law Review. Forgive me if I remain unimpressed.

 

And finally, in the spirit of "Now its time for something completely different", I direct your attention to Maureen Dowd of the New York Times Op-Ed page. Some time ago, the Times put their Op-Ed page behind a subscription wall – thus sparing the majority of the news reading public from having to endure the likes of Ms. Dowd. Having failed to garner enough subscription revenue to pay for a two-block cab ride the Times took down the wall and let Dowd out again.

 

Well, now her nose has become firmly out of joint over the Palin selection, and she has resorted to prose that – were it a man making the same statements about a woman – would get her remanded to the Op-Ed pages of the Weekly World News. Dowd has declared Palin to be the "Trophy Vice" and "Vice in Go-Go Boots".

 

Why, Ms Dowd, I do believe you are jealous! Then again, perhaps your concern is not without cause. Sarah Palin could pull off the Go-Go boots ensemble. You? I'm not so sure about.


Monday, September 01, 2008
 
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
by Cordeiro
I’ve spent four of the past six weeks traveling around the country for business and vacation purposes. During that time I made a point of throwing Obama’s domestic consumption decree to the proverbial wind.

In short, I ate as much as I wanted. I drove a range of vehicles (SUVs, sports cars, and yes the family minivan) as much – actually more – than I wanted. I kept my hotel room – whether it was in the Mile High City, the arid plains of Oklahoma City, or the humid confines of Orlando – at 72 degrees or cooler for the duration of my stay. I figure its only a matter of time before Algore comes to my door and accuses me of being the driving cause behind Hurricane Gustav.


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