27 December 2009

Six Pence Pub

Fourteen beers on draft and eight of them I have not only never tasted
but never heard of them. I can taste them three at a time on a paddle
to go with my Ploughman's lunch.

26 December 2009

Road Trip, Part 2

Mickey is as tough as they come and makes due during rigorous trips.

Road Trip

Highway travel can be tough. Shannon is a trooper.

24 December 2009

The Gathering Begins

At 2:30 pm, some of the family has begun to huddle around the tables
near the oven. Alcohol is flowing in a number of varieties. Everyone
is getting loud and saying things that they normally might not. It is
early, we may be in for an historic event.

The pig us on schedule and there are a few side items coming out for
snacks. To tell you about what kind of snacks, we have had our first
"defribillator" reference.

Pig On

Enough said. Pig and fire have been introduced. Stay tuned.

Tied and Quartered

While the oven is heating the pig is brought downstairs and wire tied
into the rack that will deliver and turn him throughout the day over
the fire.

Firestarter

The fire is started to heat the oven and get ready to cook.

Good Morning, Key Largo

videoWhen I get up in the Keys, I first like to step out onto the porch and smell the air and feel the breeze. This morning, the wind was blowing and the back porch was spectacular. The accompanying video and the wind chimes should give you an idea of how the air is moving.

Under Wraps

The pig is marinating and will be unveiled in the morning after the charcoal is good and hot for his trip to the oven. Abuela could tell you the exact proportions of naranja agria and criolla that goes into the marinade but then somebody will have to kill you.

23 December 2009

The Night Before

When you arrive after dark on the 23rd, you miss some of the preparations that go into getting ready for Noche Buena. What you can't see in the photo here is that the block oven that we will use to cook the pig is already constructed and the tables for dinner are already set.

We meet and greet with all the assembled family at two different houses and receive others as they arrive. The truck is unloaded and we settle in for the holiday.

SW 8th Hit the Brakes

I will try to share a Christmas in the Keys with those of you following.

Step 1 - Florida Turnpike South until it ends and then a little further. While you drive through Miami, if you think that everyone is driving too fast and aggressively, then you are part of the problem. If you get to MM 99.5, give us a call.

22 December 2009

Dare to be Fair, Chairman Rangel, and Schedule a Hearing on the FairTax!

The Congressional Committee that considers and writes federal tax laws is the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by New York Representative Charlie Rangel. We're joining together across the country to demand a fair and open hearing on the merits of the FairTax by the Ways and Means Committee. This is where FairTax legislation should first be heard and debated. And yet, there have been no hearings devoted just to the FairTax over the last 15 years! Not even a hearing! Join us now to demand a hearing on the FairTax the true measure of fairness for a new tax system that can repair the economy, replace a corrupted tax system with one that is fair and transparent and one that gives the American people the ability to see and control unchecked government spending.

Are you ready to get the FairTax moving? Go to http://www.fairtax.org/hearing to send your message to Chairman Rangel on why the FairTax deserves a Congressional hearing. Hundreds of thousands of active FairTaxers and millions more Americans who believe in the promise of the FairTax must raise their voice together into a powerful force for positive change. It falls to the American people to correct the corruption of tax policy and the damage the mind-numbing, unfair and expensive tax system is doing to the American economy and the peace of mind of every taxpayer.

Now is the time for FairTax members to roar. Our voices must become so loud, persistent and reasoned that Washington can no longer ignore doing the right thing--the American FairTax revolution has begun. Let's get going!

21 December 2009

Miss Me?

I have started a few posts in the last week and none of them have been published. I missed a good talk back last week for Bill of Rights Day on December 15. I did not talk about the Seminole "A Day at the Races" Swim Meet. I also did not talk about a house full of family on Saturday, December 19 as my half of our family celebrated Christmas together. We also got to start a rare fire in our fireplace as last weekend the temperature dipped into the 40s. I also have not shared any of the pictures that would accompany all this.

December 15, is Bill of Rights Day. The Founders recognized that it was important to be specific about what government must not do.

The Libertarian Party platform expresses support for the Bill of Rights in many places. For example:

First Amendment:
"We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion." (1.1)

Second Amendment:
"We affirm the right to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. We oppose all laws at any level of government requiring registration of, or restricting, the ownership, manufacture, or transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition." (1.6)

Fourth Amendment:
"We support the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, and property." (1.2)

Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments:
"We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of the rights of the criminally accused. The rights of due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied." (1.5)

Of course, one of the most serious problems America faces today is that the federal government completely ignores the Tenth Amendment, which says the federal government only has the limited powers granted by the Constitution, and no other powers. Unfortunately, our federal government has usurped a long list of powers that are not granted by the Constitution.

On Saturday, the kids swam in the morning in temperatures when the meet started in the 40s. They could not make hot chocolate fast enough. Afterward, my mother, brother and sisters came to our house with their families. The kids all racked up lots of gifts and the older folks played gift exchange games. There were lots of cookies to go around. Everybody had a great time. As the sun set and the temperature dropped we made a fire and settled in for an evening of family and football. After all, the fantasy football playoffs are underway.

I will again try to keep you informed as the holidays progress. Happy holidays.

videoy

13 December 2009

December Sunday


I love weekends at home with family any time of year. In December, there are some added things to enjoy. The picture here is one of those things that I will explain later.

Our Christmas tree is up in the family room and the outside of the house is lit. We have a decent tree that is not the biggest that we have ever had but is probably as big as we would ever need. The timers on our exterior lights are on so that every night from 6-10 p.m. we are doing our part to contribute to the holiday lighting in our neighborhood. We braved the stores and mall yesterday to make sure that most of our shopping for extended family was completed. While out at the mall we even caught Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" last night. It was much better than I expected. I would recommend it for anyone that is not cynical to enjoy a good story.

Today, we had thought about getting out to the Magic Kingdom to see the castle lit up before our seasonal passes get blacked out. Instead, we did a little grocery shopping that should hold us until we get out of town for Christmas. I made my famous, secret recipe pancakes. Some had pecans and others did not. I made enough for the kids to reheat a few times for breakfast this week before school. Analexis and Shannon got the silkscreening supplies out and made some Blue Dolfins paraphernalia. They made stencils for shirts and shorts and even made a few test runs before also making a couple finished products. They were very cute. The shirts and shorts were nice too. Ana and Mickey proceeded to wrap all of yesterday's purchases and get them under the tree. If our nieces, nephews and cousins don't like the loot, I will take it. NFL football is in week 14 which, of course, means that the fantasy football season is getting ready for the playoffs. I secured my spot in the post-season last week and can kind of enjoy today's games. Shannon is reading Dickens' "The Christmas Carol" for a school project and has to finish it today. I made a steak dinner with mashed potatoes and green beans. The steak was of average quality which afforded me the opportunity to break out the steak sauce. If you do not have Peter Luger Steak Sauce for enjoying affordable at-home steaks, I would recommend getting some. I can't, however, imagine putting it on a steak at Peter Luger's.

The beer pictured above is a funny story. That bottle of beer is Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale. This particular type of beer is like a wine in that it can improve with age. I bought a six pack in of this particular "2002" dated beer back in 2002. Ralph and I tried a couple back then and after a few uncomfortable moments of silence, we agreed that we did not like it. Over time, the six-pack only had one left. I decided to keep it and save it to see how it aged. I had no particular plan or date as to when I would drink it. This bottle made it through three moves and a wife that loves to throw things away. What it did not make it through was sending Mickey to the refrigerator to get me a beer. I have, more times than I can count, dispatched one of my children to the fridge for the purpose of returning with a beer. They are now quite learned in the beer serving arts. I know what beers I have and as this beer approached I was wondering what in the world he had found. It was not until I saw the bottle that I realized what had happened. He was momentarily frozen when I told him to look at the cap and he saw 2002. It was very good and so different than those I tasted years ago as to seem like a completely different beer.

The NFL games were fun, but I think watching the MFL (Margarita Football League) games with text messages from involved owners may have made them even more fun. The next couple weeks have a lot of work and fun planned. I hope to write often, but imagine that there may be more quantity than quality as I enjoy the holidays. If I don't get to tell you in person or see you soon, I hope that you and yours have a wonderful holiday and that it is filled with gratitude and love.

Peace!

11 December 2009

Root for America

In the wake of Mike Huckabee losing his ever-loving mind and supporting the neverending stupid train that is the Obama administration, I have had to go hunting for a new candidate. As you all know when you make an unchangeable decision, that intention goes out into the universe and comes back with results.

I am now declaring W. A. R. Wayne Allyn Root. Now some of you are wondering if you have heard that name before. You might have if you supported Bob Barr in the last Presidential election. Root was Barr's Vice Presidential running mate. Bob Barr says that Wayne is being called "the Anti-Obama" by the media. Wayne has been hitting the airwaves promoting his book and our shared libertarian values with great success. Let me send along his message attached here and the quotes about him that follow in italics. I am going to get this book and read it immediately.

Take action and get involved in creating your reality.

THIS IS W.A.R!

Dear American,

W.A.R. is a man conservative readers need to know and liberal politicians need to fear!

Wayne Allyn Root (W.A.R.) reminds us in his new book, which has been prominent on three Amazon.com best-seller lists, that there is another choice for voters in America: an independent, common-sense, Libertarian-conservative path.

Root doesn't just criticize Obama and other big government politicians — HE OFFERS LIBERTARIAN-CONSERVATIVE SOLUTIONS.

As a regular guest on FOX News and FOX Business, Root's heroes are Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater. His father was one of the original founders of the New York State Conservative Party.

As a Reagan Libertarian, Root has known Obama's policies longer than most — He was Obama's college classmate at Columbia University (Class of '83).

And this Libertarian-conservative small businessman, home-school dad, and citizen politician is the INDEPENDENT many in the media expect to become the Ross Perot of the 2012 presidential election.

Root's dynamic new book is entitled The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts

Every conservative voter and thinker in the country should read Root's book. He describes why both Reagan and Goldwater would no longer recognize today's big government GOP.

But Root does more than talk or criticize — he offers common-sense, pragmatic Libertarian-conservative SOLUTIONS to all of today's biggest political issues.

This "Anti-Obama" has burst on the national political scene with guns a-blazing against Obama's Big Brother socialist agenda (see the czars, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, universal healthcare, cap and trade, card check, etc.), and all the corrupt, arrogant, morally bankrupt Beltway politicians.

Root calls himself an equal opportunity offender while referring to Democrats and Republicans as "big and bigger, dumb and dumber."

And he has four words for all politicians who voted for bailouts, handouts, entitlements, stimulus, and tax cuts for people who didn't pay taxes in the first place:

"Throw the Bums Out!"

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Wayne Allyn Root was the 2008 Libertarian Party vice-presidential nominee and he is the 2012 Libertarian Presidential frontrunner.

W.A.R is a self-made businessman, capitalist evangelist, national spokesman for several companies in the financial world, as well as an author, business speaker and television and radio personality and producer.

His talk radio show airs in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. He began his career as an anchorman for the Financial News Network (now CNBC). For more information, go to: www.ROOTforAmerica.com

Wayne is declaring WAR on the "big government" politicians of both parties.
He is declaring WAR on the Beltway insiders.
He is declaring WAR on the biased-liberal media elite.
He is declaring WAR on big government, big spending, big taxes, big unions, and big corporations, including their armies of lawyers and lobbyists.
He is declaring WAR on the out-of-control bloated salaries and pensions of government employees.
THE CONSCIENCE OF A LIBERTARIAN is the story of a blue-collar S.O.B. (son of a butcher) who came out of nowhere to become the Libertarian vice presidential nominee of 2008, who some say will become the Ross Perot of 2012.

Living proof that his message works, Root is a dynamic, charismatic, telegenic, limited government, anti-tax, pro-school choice, citizen politician, and capitalist evangelist who believes PASSIONATELY in economic and personal freedom.

In his new book, Root illustrates how . . .

Obama wants to turn America into one big California — the most debt-ridden, bankrupt, insolvent state, with the lowest bond ratings in the country; the worst business environment; the worst education rankings; and the most U.S. citizens fleeing for their lives (more than 1.35 million in the past decade). California is ground zero for economic Armageddon. Root shows you why.
His common-sense vision, to follow the "Nevada model" — with smaller government, less spending, dramatically lower taxes, far fewer government employees — will lead to far more personal and economic freedom. Result: Nevada has been No. 1 in population growth for past 25 years!
We can and must end reverse racism by eliminating affirmative action.
We can and must save our schools with school choice, parental freedom, and encouraging competition on the state and local level. WAR doesn't believe it takes a village or a teachers union to educate a child — it merely takes two dedicated parents!
We can and must end or dramatically downsize social and entitlement programs, government spending, bailouts, handouts, and economic stimulus plans, which he contends are all unconstitutional.
Government will run "universal healthcare" just like legal brothels in Nevada and O.T.B. (off-track betting) in New York — into bankruptcy.
Cap and trade represents nothing more than a scheme for government to take control over business, triple electric rates, and redistribute wealth.
We can and must save our economy by eliminating or reining in the Federal Reserve; and how to ban bailouts and corporate welfare.
We can and must empower entrepreneurs and small business owners to create their own union: the Private Sector Taxpayers of America.
We can and must end expensive foreign wars and bring about dramatic reductions of foreign aid and Pentagon waste, reducing bureaucracy and eliminating entire government agencies, such as the IRS and the Education Department.
We can and must force members of Congress to read every word of every bill they vote on and install term limits for all politicians.
We can and must solve the economic crisis via a one-year "income tax vacation" for all taxpayers — thereby reinvigorating the economy, encouraging savings and consumption, and rescuing small business owners.
We can and must end the IRS forever.
We can and must dramatically cut spending with "Constitutional Impoundment."
We can and must use the Nevada model of legalizing and taxing "sin" to reduce taxpayers' burden by $260 billion.
We can and must end illegal immigration forever with one simple step.
And so much more. Wayne Allyn Root's powerful, thought-provoking new book will teach Americans how to protect and preserve the Constitution and their inalienable civil liberties once and for all!
Now is the right time to read what a true Libertarian-conservative citizen politician would do to save America from Obama, big-government bureaucrats, and Beltway arrogance and corruption:


Let's make a difference!

Wayne Allyn Root
2008 Libertarian Vice Presidential Nominee

P.S. Here is what some very prominent people are saying about my book.


"Wayne Allyn Root (W.A.R.) means business. In 'The Conscience of a Libertarian,' he is declaring WAR on big government, big spending, big taxes, big unions, big business, arrogant career politicians, lawyers, lobbyists, and the media elite. This book is a must read for libertarians, conservatives, disillusioned Republicans, independents, and anyone who wants to cut the size and scope of government dramatically, and return power to individuals. Instead of just criticisms, Wayne provides common-sense solutions for limited government, economic and personal freedom, and protecting our Constitution. I can feel our Founding Fathers looking down and smiling."
— Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
Fox News Channel, Senior Judicial Analyst
Host of "Brian and the Judge" and "FreedomWatch"

"Wayne Root is the Anti-Obama. His book is a fast-paced read that reminds us of what has made and kept this country strong: free market principles, risk-taking, capitalism, and a deep-seeded belief in Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness — not a government-guaranteed happiness based on bailouts, entitlements, stimulus, waste, welfare, and tax cuts for people who don't pay taxes. You want to save America and capitalism — READ THIS BOOK!"
— Jerry Doyle, Nationally Syndicated Talk Show Host
The Jerry Doyle Show (No. 7 rated talk show in the United States)

"Wayne Allyn Root might just be the most powerful new voice for the cause of liberty in America. If every U.S. citizen would read 'The Conscience of a Libertarian,' most of the power holders in Washington would be thrown out of office. In his trademark dynamic style, Root leaves no doubt that government is not the solution, but the problem."
— Robert Ringer, Author of New York Times No. 1 Best-Sellers
To Be or Not To Be Intimidated, Looking Out for #1, Restoring the American Dream
Publisher, A Voice of Sanity in an Insane World

"Wayne Allyn Root is a dynamic Libertarian patriot and freedom fighter. He lives and breathes freedom and free markets. If you value your liberty, READ THIS BOOK. 'The Conscience of a Libertarian' explains how government is the problem — not the solution — and calls for a dramatic reduction in government intervention. Root is a Citizen Politician whose passion and message can spearhead our Citizen Revolution."
— Manny Klausner, Co-Founding Editor of Reason Magazine
Co-Founder, Reason Foundation

"In your heart, you know he's right. Channeling Barry Goldwater for a modern audience, Root does a great job of adapting his mentor's classic for 21st century America. My guess is that the principles of Goldwater, shepherded by Root, will be a benchmark for reform in this age of political and economic crisis."
— Peter Schiff, President Euro Pacific Capital
Author of Best-Seller "Crash Proof"

"Republican or Democrat? It seems no matter who wins, we lose. Only Wayne Allyn Root can save the USA from the morons, thieves, and frauds in Washington, D.C. He is our last best hope to lead a political revolution. Read this book to stop the insanity, to save our nation, to protect our freedom. None of the sex, violence, and profanity, I usually read, but just as exciting, and more important to our future."
— Mancow Muller, Nationally Syndicated Radio Host
The Mancow Show

"'The Conscience of a Libertarian' is the most important and potentially nation-changing book you have read this decade. Wayne Root has penned the final solution to stopping the United States of America from being pushed off the cliff by government. Every citizen of conscience will read this book and immediately understand the gravity and urgency of the crisis our country faces at every level. The enemy is not in Russia or Iran, it's in Washington, D.C., and, we can stop it before it's too late."
— Kevin Hogan Psy.D.
Author of "The Science of Influence" and "The 12 Factors of Business Success"

"(Both) Wayne Root, the Libertarian Party's 2008 vice presidential nominee, and Senator Barry Goldwater, the 1964 United States presidential candidate of the Republican Party, are blunt, outspoken, straight-talking politicians who do not see 'liberty and justice for all' being compatible or existing for long with federal government spending-gone-wild. . . Root has solutions. To me, he's the only candidate who's articulate, powerful in presentation, and RIGHT. He comes across great because he speaks truth from the heart, of America, to America, for America. There's time: ROOT FOR AMERICA. Bring in 2010 and 2012: THROW OUT THE BUMS, AND CRIMINALS!"
— Dr. John Hospers
First Libertarian U.S. Presidential Candidate
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Southern California

06 December 2009

Saturday at Gator Holiday Classic

Up bright and early for day 2 of big meet swimming. Shannon got the day started in the early session with a near best time 50 Free at 26.67. She then got a little tied up on her 100 Back start by bottoming out in the shallow end and tried to recover, but finished with a respectable 1:11.69. The Blue Dolfins 13-14 Girls 200 Free Relay was awesome, swimming a 1:46.70. Shannon did her 50 split in 26.3, an unofficial best time. Leah Sims brought the team back from a body length deficit in the final 25 (25.5, 50 split.)

Visit the cafeteria again and pig out on the buffet. Then off to the afternoon session.

There has been a Mickey sighting. Repeat. Mickey Kennedy is in the building. With one chance to show that he was serious, Mickey put up a huge time on his 50 Free. He dropped his personal best by over a second posting a 29.01.

We then made our way around campus for a few stops at various stores and got back to the hotel for a little rest and some birthday cake. (Happy birthday, Rachel Patterson!). At the same exact time as the SEC Championship kicks off, we are back in the van headed for Finals.

In the evening finals, we saw lots of teammates with awesome swims, individual efforts (glad to have Paige Mooread at Oviedo) and some great team effort in relays throughout all age groups. The Dolfins rocked despite how bad the Gators sucked in a 32-13 loss to the better prepared and better coached Alabama squad.

05 December 2009

God Bless CBS

I assure you that you will not hear me often give credit to broadcast television for getting something right, but today I will do just that. In this smart phone application crazy world we find ourselves, CBS has done quite a few good things. I'm not talking about there news app or even the fantasy football app, although both are decent. I am celebrating an app so brilliant that I can hardly believe they have done it. CBS Sports College App has all the "Game of the Week" broadcasts for SEC football and basketball. Live streaming video right to your smart phone. If you do not have a smart phone, I am sorry but that is dumb.

Why would somebody need that, you ask? Well, I will hazard a guess at an example where it might come in handy. Let's say, for example, both of your children are racing in an invitational swim meet in Gainesville during the SEC Championship game between #1 Florida and #2 Alabama, which of course is the SEC Game of the Week. I am sure there are other reasons why it might come in handy. Maybe your kid has a Christmas recital that starts at tipoff of Kentucky at Indiana. You can now be a good parent and not miss a note of the performance or a rain of threes on the Hoosiers.

Well, that does it. I have met the terms of this Public Service Announcement. It is now up to you to do what is best for you. For everybody that wants to hate on Tebow today, and all the talk about what not having Carlos Dunlap will do, imagine one thing for me. What would this Florida team look like and what would the Tebow stats be if Percy Harvin was putting on that awesome new Gator helmet today? For some, the "F" comes after the "U". For me, it always comes before.

Check out the app.

04 December 2009

Friday Night Lights

Friday evening at Finals of the Gator Holiday Classic. We have been up since 5am and everyone is excited for the Finals to get started.

Shannon swam two events and a 50 Breast leg of a medley relay this morning. In the first event, first heat, Shannon had a best time in her 200 Free of 2:09.19. Later in one of her best events the 100 Breast, she did not come close to her best, but the 1:16.something was good enough to finish better than her seed and get into tonight's Consolation Final (Final is top 8 and Consolation Final is finishers 9-16.) Her contribution to the relay in the 50 Breast was a strong split around 35 seconds.

A big portion of the team ate lunch at the cafeteria next to the O-Dome here on campus and we got some rest back at the hotel for a few hours.

Now, here we are. The teams are done with warm ups and they have done their screaming and drummed on the cowbells. It's all done but the swimming. Wait just one second. Before the meet can get started, Shannon takes a chance and winds up with a photo opportunity with Ryan Lochte (if you need to, Google it and be ashamed of yourself.) The photo gets taken about 25 yards from the sign posting about 6 of the University of Florida records that he still holds.

The finals were a blast and the swimming and cheering really go to another level. It is awesome to watch so many swimmers in so many age groups fight to be the best. The team atmosphere and effort was outstanding, too. My favorite part of the team was how when each swimmer was getting up from where the team was sitting to go get ready for their event everyone on the team got up on their feet and gave them high fives and sent them off right. In the end, Shannon had a new best time in her 100 Breast of 1:14.02 (34.58 at the 50 turn) and finished 3rd in the Consolation Final giving her at least 11th overall in the event.

Mickey did not swim today as his events are on Saturday and Sunday. We expect some big things to happen this weekend. We're going to get some dinner and maybe a drink before getting to bed. 5am will come just as early tomorrow.

03 December 2009

Worth Doing Right

When someone is standing in front of you lying to you and to themselves, what do you do? I watch often when it is family, friends or colleagues and see people do nothing. They hear these lies and allow the teller to at least think that they are believed in order to avoid confrontation. I believe that this does an injustice to everyone involved and enables the teller to build these lies into bigger more ridiculous situations that will eventually fall apart. However, I also do not want to contribute to the drama or waste energy defending my point of view to someone that is not capable of understanding it. When that lie is about a promotion at work or your financial situation, the damage may be limited. When the lie is about national security or the economy, the damage is massive.

I sat a couple nights ago and watched the President give his Address on his plan for Afghanistan. [I had hoped that ABC would be airing the Christmas special "Prep & Landing" afterward, but it was moved to 12/8 at 8:30.] No President has ever selected a more home-cooked audience than Obama regularly does. I guess if you can't keep Congress from pointing out your lies in the middle of your speech, you had better go to a military institution so that you can literally order everyone to smile and keep quiet and applaud when appropriate. I can tell you how disappointed I was with Obama's lack of substance and double talk and half truths and statements about things that have not been done but discussing them as victories, but none of that really surprised me. Don't get me wrong. I was mad at all that and I sat there arguing with the television throughout.

The most disappointing part for me was the next day when my candidate for President, Mike Huckabee, sent an e-mail through his PAC supporting the President's plan. I guess there really was something for everybody in that speech, or everyone is more dumb than even I imagined. The right is all excited because they get the troops that military leadership has asked for and the left is appeased with an exit timeline. You should all know lies when you hear them. No new troops will deploy for months, but the 18 month exit time is already ticking. Why 18 months? Well about that time, somebody will be campaigning for President. What, if anything, will 30,000 more troops accomplish? What countries will supply the other 7000 troops that Obama promised? Was he serious about the 5000 Afghan troops counting toward the number? Do you think that when the General asked for 40,000 more troops, that any old troops would do? There have to be 40,000 Girls Scout troops available. I bet their moms would rather do anything than sell cookies this year.

If you were writing a plan for the Middle East tomorrow, what would you want to know and how would you make it happen? I ask only because I know that, like me, you have not thought about it that way. Your government believes that you are not capable of making an intelligent, unemotional decision. To a certain extent, they are right. The reason they are right is because that is how they want you to be. They want you to be dumb and emotional, so that your behavior is more predictable at election time. Believing what you are told as an electorate, though, makes you worthless as a citizen. Believing that your government is anything more than a collection of fellow Americans, using your money to ineffectively offer services to your neighbor is a mistake made by too many of us.

I am trying to be open minded. I have walked into the ballot box for over half my life and blindly pulled the levers, connected the arrows or pushed the buttons of the Republican candidates in the hope that of the two evils their values were most like mine. I am not doing that anymore. In the last two elections, I have apprised myself of the issues and even considered candidates outside the two "controlling" parties. Even more than listening to what politicians are telling me, I am listening to what they are not saying. In my opinion, the things that they do not say are far more truthful than those they do.

If you are ready to be open minded, too, read the Libertarian party response that I have attached in full below. My favorite part is the information from the Cato Institute that advises that in order to stabilize a country of the size of Afghanistan that it would take 600,000 troops. I don't know what you think about that, but let your elected officials know. If you do not know who your elected officials are, visit the home page for the county you live in and follow the link for the Supervisor of Elections. There you should find the contact information for your Mayor, County Commissioners and so on all the way to Obama. If you want your voice to be heard, open your mouth and say clearly what it is that you think. Don't be a hypocrite. Don't allow them to get you emotional and act dumb. Represent yourself as well as you want to be represented and demand the same from those that you elect.

Make it happen. Take it to the next level. Raise the bar.

Libertarians opposed to new war plans for Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - The Libertarian Party (LP) today expressed its opposition to the Afghanistan war plans announced by President Barack Obama last night.

Wes Benedict, Executive Director of the LP, said, "Rush Limbaugh should buy Obama a nice cigar. The liberal president has done exactly what the conservative leader wanted: escalate the war."

William Redpath, Chairman of the Libertarian National Committee (LNC), commented, "This is further evidence that the differences between Republicans and Democrats are, at most, rhetorical. This president, whose votes made him the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate, has just announced an escalation of a foreign war. His campaign promise of 'Change' now sounds a lot more hollow."

Redpath continued, "Some congressional Democrats may make a rhetorical show of opposing Obama's decision, but that is all it will be. Obama is guaranteed to get the additional troops and funding that he wants."

Redpath continued, "Instead, Congress should re-assert its authority in matters of war, by passing legislation that terminates the president's authorization to make war in Afghanistan, and that calls for an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan. If the president vetoes it, Congress should override the veto."

In September 2008, the LNC adopted a resolution calling for a military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Benedict commented further, "One problem with the president's strategy is that it demonstrates a hyperinflated fear of terrorists. When we act worried and threatened, we make the terrorists feel like they're having their intended effect, which encourages them to keep doing what they're doing."

Redpath continued, "According to the Cato Institute, 'the U.S. military's counterinsurgency doctrine says that stabilizing a country the size of Afghanistan would require far more troops than the most wild-eyed hawk has proposed: about 600,000 troops.' President Obama is proposing to put a total of about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, which won't come close to accomplishing anything."

Redpath concluded, "The president's speech was surprisingly content-free. The speech was nearly all platitudes, which is typical for politicians, particularly presidents. Will someone please restore substance to American political discourse?"