Archive for September, 2009

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PHYLLIS WHO?

September 30, 2009

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The latest in the serious of fear-evoking events is the How To Take Back America Conference. McCain 2008The fact that Joe, the Plumber is speaking tells you all you need to know. Add Michelle “I think certain members of congress should be investigated for un-michele-bachmann-150x150American views” Bachmann, throw in Mike Huckabee, and you have the Loonies Reunion Tour. The only one missing is, you guessed it, Sarah Palin.  The person sponsoring the event? Phyllis Schlafly, the anti-feminist, pro-lifer who authored the book, “The Supremacists.” She’s been called the Conservative Movement’s Godmother. Truth-be-known, I knew very little of this woman until I did the research on this conference. She’s a throw-back to the Reagan days, and before. Here’s some of her better-known quotes:

“Sex education classes are like in-home sales parties for abortions.”

“Just tell them to keep your hands out of what’s inside your swimsuits – that takes care of most girls and boys.”

“It’s very healthy for a young girl to be deterred from promiscuity by fear of contracting a painful, incurable disease, or cervical cancer, or sterility, or the likelihood of giving birth to a dead, blind, or brain-damaged baby – even 10 years later when she may be happily married.”

“The atomic bomb is a marvelous gift that was given to our country by a wise God.”

“Many years ago Christian pioneers had to fight savage Indians. Today missionaries of these former cultures are being sent via the public schools to heathenize our children.”

“I suspect that the picture of the woman soldier with a noose around the Iraqi man’s neck will soon show up on the bulletin boards of women’s studies centers and feminist college professors. That picture is the radical feminists’ ultimate fantasy of how they dream of treating men.”

Holy crap! Are Republicans actually embracing her words? Do they really think this is the way back to power? Seriously?

Here’s audio from the 80-year-old Schlafly about this event. The Agenda tells you everything you need to know about her views. 

Here’s a brief introduction of the conference and how our country is moving toward Marxism.

At the risk of stating the obvious: there is not a person of color featured at this conference. This does not make it a racist event, but it does illustrate how far removed these people – and their sponsors – are from mainstream America.

Speaking of sponsors, here are nearly all of them – some of which you’ll recognize from the last fear-mongering event: the 2009 Value Voters Summit.

01AFASponsor

02BottRadioSponsor

03EagleForumSponsor

04HSDLASponsor

05JudicialActionGroupSponsor

06WorldNetDailySponsor

07VisionAmericaSponsor

08WallbuildersSponsor

09WorldCongressofFamiliesSponsor

10Faith2ActionSponsor

Thomas Edison once said, “It is remarkable to what lengths people will go to avoid thought.”

Thought avoidance = fear.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

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SILENT NOISE

September 30, 2009

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Unlike the proverbial “calm before the storm,” the current increase in political noise is the storm.

The volume increase is a direct result of the lack of attention to that noise. Eventually, the noise will reach its peak volume, become so distorted that it is extremely unpleasant to listen to, and eventually the “amplifiers” will implode. So the noisier it gets, the closer we are to the end of all this thoughtless blather. Until then, it’s going to get louder and much more obnoxious.

Political noise comes in many fashions. There are, of course, public displays of noise such as the contrived “grassroots” events of last summer. Those have now moved indoors. One example was the 2009 Value Voters Summit.

There is also “silent noise” which can sometimes be dangerous. A few days ago, this was posted on Facebook.

ShouldObamaBe

It was one of the Top 100 Facebook Polls. But if the comments are any indication of the poll’s results, the creator may have had a big surprise from the 731 people who responded before Facebook removed it. Here are a few of those comments. The person responsible for this poll is now being sought by the Secret Service and the FBI. This thoughtless blather may also be illegal blather.

Then there is (was) a recent article from John Perry, that even the very conservative Newsmax.com removed from their website.

PerryBanner

Fortunately, we have investigative websites that expose these loonies before their words go back into hiding. Here’s some of what Perry wrote:

“There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.”

“Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for ‘fundamental change’ toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.”

Mr. Perry is suggesting the military, whose Commander-In-Chief is President Obama, “take out” the legitimately elected top military leader of our country.

I know many are concerned about our President’s safety and I am certainly one of those people. But I also cannot imagine anyone more in tune with his unique position in life and our country’s history. I have every confidence no harm will come to him or his family. Barack Obama will be our President for two terms and will remain healthy throughout those eight years and well beyond.

Yes, the silent noise is getting louder, and very close to treason.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

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OLDEST SON OF AN OLDEST SON – VOL. 5

September 27, 2009

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“What do you mean, you wouldn’t do the show?”

“How could I do the show knowing you just died in a plane crash, only two months after 9-11?”

“Because it’s would be my dying wish, that’s how.”

“Dad. Seriously. You’ve got to be kidding.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll be there. I wouldn’t miss it.”

His debut at the Comedy Store was the same night and I wanted to be there for him.

I left Columbus airport around 8:30am, headed to L.A. During the quick layover in Detroit, I learned about a plane that crashed leaving New York. Adam heard about a crash, but with no details, freaked out for a few minutes. That’s when we had the above “what if” conversation.

Once I arrived, we quickly cleaned up and hit the road, equipment in tow. He had to roll in all of his gear and set it off to the side while others performed. He was next to last in the line-up. Eddie Griffin would close the evening, testing some new material. Time flew by and it seemed that in an instant, Adam was up. With help from friends, he and I quickly rolled the two large racks with 2, 27-inch TVs in each, and the necessary electronics, onto the tiny stage – a stage designed for a single person telling jokes. Adam had all the connections completed and was ready to go within three minutes.

At that time, the Comedy Store had three different performance areas. The large room was used for well-known acts. The room I’ll call the “medium” room was for up-and-comers or big names that wanted to work out some new material before they “go live” in a large venue. And upstairs, was a very small area I assumed was the “beginner’s” stage.

In the large room that night, was a fundraiser for the victims of the 9-11 attack. It was nearly packed. Adam was performing in the “medium” room, which was full. No one was performing upstairs, to my knowledge.

After a brief introduction, the lights went dark, except for one spotlight. “Adam and the Trinitrons” (now the “Egos”) came to life in music and dialogue. All five characters performed simultaneously to a stunned audience that had never seen anything like it. Less than three minutes into the show, the crowd was hooked, and for the next twenty-seven minutes, mesmerized. Throughout the performance, I noticed more people coming into the room.

ComedyStoreRearShot

There were no available seats, so they lined the walls, two deep in some areas. By the time the show was over, those seated were on their feet, applauding wildly and screaming praises. Adam brought down the house. The large room had emptied and as many as humanly possible squeezed into the “medium” room to watch. It was like nothing I’d ever witnessed. I know there was a brief moment when I was in tears.

I flashed back to all the work he had put into this concept: the hours of frustration rendering video on PCs not designed for these types of projects; the electronic failures and the technicians that said it couldn’t be done without doing this or having that; the people who wanted a ridiculous amount of money to do the video work – which ultimately forced Adam to learn how to do it and do it better; the early performances in front of Columbus audiences, many of whom – with the exception of family and friends – weren’t impressed, because they just didn’t get it; and yes, the occasional disagreements with Dad.

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All was forgotten for one night – November 12, 2001.

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Exactly eight years – to the day – another milestone in the life of “Adam and the Egos” will come to pass. On November 12, 2009, Adam will be recording a pilot for Comedy Central in L.A. It will feature all five “Egos” performing simultaneously, in front of a live audience, with cameras capturing everything.

AdamEgos

This has never been done before in the history of live television.

I wouldn’t miss it.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

PS – I should probably mention: Adam plays ALL of the characters in his show.

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TO KILL A FROG

September 26, 2009

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Far be it from me to EVER defend Glenn Beck – and I’m not defending him here. Even though he didn’t kill a frog, his political analogy was still absurd – and that’s a compliment.

But this is not about Glenn’s reasoning – it’s about the frog, which, as far as I’m concerned, deserves all the attention.

By now, most have probably concluded no frog was boiled to death by Glenn Beck. This is for those who are still not so sure. Yes, PETA members, I’m speaking to you.

Here’s the “controversial” clip from Beck’s show. 

Here’s some stills from the video. In this first still, we see Beck’s hand in the aquarium just after he grabs a frog.

FrogSlide01

He starts to close his hand.

FrogSlide02

As he continues to close his hand, notice that he keeps his index finger slightly open.

FrogSlide03

This is the slide that starts to reveal Beck’s process for letting go of the frog. You can see a small part of the frog between his thumb and index finger. Also notice there is nothing in the top right corner of the aquarium.

FrogSlide04

In this slide, you see Beck creating an opening by moving his thumb out of the way, allowing the frog to jump out and land in the top right corner of the aquarium. His front legs hit the aquarium wall first.

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In the next several slides, with the frog still located in the top right corner of the aquarium, you see Beck has closed his hand, and is removing it from aquarium. The frog’s rear legs are almost planted on the aquarium wall.

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Note that the frog is now firmly “attached” to the aquarium wall.

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In the next series of slides, Beck, no frog in hand, claims that he is throwing the frog into boiling water. One problem: you never see a frog go from his hands to the pot on the stove.

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No frog. No splash. Nothing.

And finally, here are the same video stills in a PDF Presentation. You can move through them at your pace with the up or down arrow. (This may take a few seconds to load.)

So, relax. As controversial as Beck is, I don’t think he’s a frog killer.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

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WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WE’RE TALKIN’ ABOUT

September 25, 2009

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There is a lighter side to protesting.

We don’t often see it in the media because the focus is always on the “noise.” The man in the center of the crowd, with the sunglasses, holding the sign, has an insightful sense of humor. The pictures below illustrate that humor, with a small amount of illiteracy added.

Thanks to Kanye West, I have now seen the word “I’mma.”

Sign01

Seen at the Prop 8 protest in California.

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Well, it’s either a good parody or… 

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I don’t think he got the memo.

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I can’t tell you how thankful I am this is a FOX News fan.

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If you need a sign to… Nevermind.

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No amount of information will make them realize the stupidity of their sign.

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My son Adam, who has done his share of traveling abroad,  has said many times, “If you aren’t happy living in this country, you will never be happy.” This goes for “douche bags” too.

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This person must be friends with the women two pictures up.

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Another guy with a great sense of humor at the Prop 8 protest.

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Ah yes, patriots for marijuana. What could be more American?

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She may want to get her money back for that Anatomy Class.

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Where do I start?

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Worth repeating.

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Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

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TO BE BLUNT

September 25, 2009

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They just don’t get it.

They’ve lived in their Lilly-white, gated community world for so long, they have no handle on the pulse of this country. They only associate with the very small minority of those who look and live like them. They are some of the “two-percenters” (the highest income-earners), the “white elite,” and often, without realizing it, the very ones perpetuating the vitriol that offends the vast majority of us – black, brown and white.

I know I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt saying they may be unaware of their part in continuing this rhetoric. I’m probably too optimistic.

The 2009 Value Voters Summit featured many Republican Presidential hopefuls. Below are some of the following breakout sessions on their agenda:

Agenda 

Did you notice the “fear” element? These titles use words like “Thugocracy,” “Conspiracy,” “Silencing the Christians,” “Losing …Basic Freedoms,” “Hysteria,” “Pro-Death Agenda,” “…Threatens Religious Liberty” and “Rationing Your life Away.” So what’s the take-away? Be afraid? Of what?

We decided last year to no longer live and govern in fear when we voted for a change. Why do conservatives and the Republican Party continue to support these non-productive, regressive ideas? Can’t they bring some new ideas to the table instead of relying on the age-old cultural issues that only serve to divide us?

Apparently not.

In case you’re wondering who sponsors such “enlightenment,” below is the sponsorship page from the website: www.valuesvotersummit.org

2009VVSSponsorsPage

Recognize any of these supporters? Here they are individually, along with links to their websites.

The Legislative Arm of the Family Research CouncilFRC-Perkins

The American Family Association  AFA-Wildmon

Focus on the Family ActionFFA-Daly

American ValuesAmericanValues-Bauer

The Family Research CouncilFRC-Perkins2

The Heritage FoundationHeritage-Feulner

Many common themes are woven throughout these organizations, making one think they espouse “American Values.” (A term that eludes definition.) But close, and not-so-close scrutiny reveals very conservative agendas. They are all Pro-life, Anti-Gay, Anti-Government and Anti-Liberal. They have a low, if non-existent tolerance for anyone who believes differently.

None of this makes them bad organizations. But tolerating racist rhetoric does make their motives questionable. Case in point: Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who spoke at the Summit.

The insensitivity illustrated by Blunt is completely trumped by the fact that NONE of the sponsors denounced his words.

Is this a lack of understanding about racism? Or acceptance? When will the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party realize as long as they tolerate this dialogue, their popularity will not grow.

Making Michael Steele the RNC Chair is “tokenism” – not racial understanding. Not denouncing rallies where bigotry is displayed (in signs and speeches), for fear of backlash from the Rush Limbaughs of the media, will not attract rational, level-headed new members to the Republican Party, especially independents – the essential voting block for any political party’s election success.

And allowing Blunt’s comments to go unchecked is just one more shot across the bow of an already suicidal Republican Party.

How pathetic it must be to be Blunt.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

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FOR ONLY ONE MILE

September 23, 2009

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Kick-off is a little after 8:00pm. I’m on my way to Dad’s to watch the OSU v USC game. (Our offense falls apart in the second half, handing them the win.)

The trip may take a few minutes longer than usual.

For about a week, I’ve been keeping an eye on my car’s odometer. I’m coming up on a milestone that I missed with the last car that I kept for over 100,000 miles – the 1974 Chevy Impala I wrote about in America Can Do This

74impala

I’m on the interstate, BlackBerry at my side. Heading West on I-670 towards I-70, I see the odometer getting close to the mile. I’m hoping to make it to Dad’s neighborhood before I need to stop.

No such luck.

I’m approaching the “Y” where I-70 merges with I-670 and then a mile or so later, morphs into the I-70 and I-270 split. The odometer is at 111110.1. Damn. I have about a mile to find a safe place to pull over. Maybe it’s less than a mile to the second split. Who knows? I drive this highway to work five days a week, and until this moment, I’ve never cared. 111110.6. Once it hits 111111, I’ll have less than a mile to get the shot. I’m still not merging onto I-70. 111110.9, 111111, 111111.1, 111111.2, 111111.3.

Then, as if the odometer knew all along, the opportunity presents itself, less than one hundred yards past the “Y.”

Thank you, Jesus! I’m not going die trying to capture this. Can you imagine the page B-22 headline? “Man Drives Car Over Bridge While Taking Picture of Odometer.” Even dead, that’s embarrassing.

So why did I go through all this trouble? Simple. I really like the car I own. Enough so, that I still wouldn’t trade it on a new $30,000 sedan from an American car manufacturer – at least not yet.

I know that much has been done to improve the quality of American cars. They are certainly LOOKING more like 21st Century vehicles – unlike the last few years, when, as I’ve written before, the styling was way behind the times. But what will sell me is reliability – which can’t be determined for at least five years. That’s when I’ll know real improvements have been made.

Here’s my “111111 car.” (The pictures were taken the next morning.)

 

 2000FrontLeft

 

2000RearRight

 

2000Dashboard

 

2000Console

The styling of this ten-year-old car – inside and out – still exceeds many of the new American cars. However, there is at least one exception – the new Buick LaCrosse.

Quiet! I can hear your thoughts: “HAHAHAHA! He’s getting old. Old people drive Buicks!”  True, I’m getting old-er, and true, many old-er people drive Buicks. But if this Buick is built as good as it looks, I might be swayed to try an American manufacturer’s car again.

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It will not be an easy sell. I’ve owned Toyotas for over 20 years.

Here’s the 2010 Avalon.

2010AvalonFrontLeft

 

2010AvalonRearRight

 

2010AvalonDash

 

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You tell me?

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com