Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Second Five of My Personal Top Albums List

This is the second installment of my personal list of top albums. They're in order, so Randall Bramblett's Thin Places clocks in at number six. My list certainly may differ from yours, and I'm glad we all tend to have differing views of things; it makes for a richer existence. To help keep myself in line and to avoid a list that would be much longer than this, I made myself a few simple rules. 1 - No greatest hits, anthologies, or multi-artist compilations. 2 - It’s my personal Top 10 list, so I will try not to be overly influenced by the critics. 3 - There is no limit on the number of albums an individual or group can have in the listing. 4 - All songs on an album count, not just the best ones so a bad cut counts against inclusion.
Randall Bramblett - Thin Places Wonderfully jazz influenced rock and roll for grown-ups. If it can make a sound, then I’m pretty sure this multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter can play it, and play it well. You might know Randall Bramblett from Sea Level or from his many gigs as a session musician for everyone from Robbie Robertson to Widespread Panic to Gregg Allman.
If you haven’t heard Randall Bramblett, then this Jesup, Georgia, native will come as a wonderful surprise. Bramblett has several superior albums, but this one is my favorite.
There is not a bad song on this album. The lyrics are thoughtful, insightful, and make a lot of sense in a world that seldom does. The music matches the mood of the music perfectly, perhaps best exemplified with “Gotta Stop Somewhere” bouncing between nearly frenetic to more controlled statements. This is a great album that never got the listens it deserves and that’s a shame - not just for Bramblett, but more for the people who have not had an opportunity to listen. As Bramblett says in “Black Coat”: “There’s nothing left to do but to laugh and feed the angels . . .” And listen to this great recording.
Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells a Story Rod Stewart’s embrace of disco in the late 70s nearly put me off him for life. I still abhor disco, but after a decade or two, I was able to go back and listen again to Stewart’s non-disco output and it was impressive. Stewart is thought of mainly as a singer and a songwriter, but there are only three Stewart original songs on this album. The three songs he wrote are brilliant, but it's the arrangements of the cover songs that shines here.
Every Picture Tells a Story features Stewart’s great songwriting (Every Picture Tells a Story, written with Ronnie Wood); Maggie May; and, Mandolin Wind) and brilliant choices of cover songs including the definitive version of The Temptations’ (I Know) I’m Losing You as well as the great Reason to Believe from Tim Hardin. Among the other covers is Stewart’s arrangement of the traditional Amazing Grace and Bob Dylan’s Tomorrow Is a Long Time. I’ve got to say, I love the the choice of instruments and how they’re used here. Listen to the drums fills at the end of the lines in the title cut and, of course, the mandolin, guitar, and steel guitar interplay across the album. The production is perfect; it’s straightforward and for these songs that is exactly what is needed. You’ll likely never hear the song Every Picture Tells a Story on the radio again; the politically correct would get a case of the vapors, but you can still hear it on the album. Once again, this is an album I can put on, sit back, and listen to the whole thing without the urge to skip a track or shake my head.
Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks If I run across anyone who has never really listened to Bob Dylan, this is the album that I recommend they listen to first. It’s a wonderful album, even though Dylan himself couldn’t understand how people enjoyed listening to it. In a radio interview, he told Mary Travers (of Peter, Paul & Mary), “A lot of people tell me they enjoyed that album. It’s hard for me to relate to that—I mean, people enjoying that type of pain.” Dylan associates the album with pain, but it’s hard not to see “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” as a love song about an amicable, but reluctant, parting. Perhaps it’s two sides of a coin, because Dylan’s marriage was in trouble during this period. Dylan denies that he writes from personal experience - with one admitted exception and this ain’t it - so perhaps that isn’t why he associates it with pain. I’m not saying there is no pain in this album, and I’m not saying there isn’t a lot on here that’s reflective of Dylan’s life at the time, but I am saying there is beauty.
“Tangled Up in Blue” and “Simple Twist of Fate” are about star-crossed lovers, though in the latter only one of the two cares. “Simple Twist of Fate” is especially intriguing because of the post one-night stand role reversal. The thing that stand out for me about the lyrics are how descriptive and detail-oriented they are without being lengthy. Dylan gives just enough to flesh out his stories and the songs are easily excuses to call Dylan a genius. As for the production, for some reason Dylan was in a hurry to finish this off and the production suffered. Perhaps, Dylan was less forthcoming about the inspiration for these songs and the “pain” he refers to was very real and very contemporary. Either way, the shoddy production is a fact, but that cannot diminish the greatness of the songs. The songs make this a favorite of mine and number eight of my top ten albums. Continued after the jump.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The First Five of My Personal Top Albums List

The Allman Brothers Band - At Fillmore East (Live) From the dual slide guitars in the opening of “Statesboro Blues” to the gut-wrenching vocal crescendo at the close of “Whipping Post”, this album is 78:13 of perfectly blended musicians and genres. This album is exhibit one in the case that great live music trumps anything ever recorded in a studio. Two lead guitars swapping in-and-out seamlessly, two top-notch drummers filling in independently and then doubling up perfectly, and along with the rock-solid bass laying the foundation for the intricately woven melodies. And then there is legendary vocalist Gregg Allman on the Hammond B-3 organ, a young man with an aged soul and a voice that was as powerful an instrument as his brother’s guitar. While much attention is rightly paid to the mesmerizing guitar work of Duane Allman and Dickie Betts, it is the soulful voice of the younger Allman that pays the debt on the band’s blues card. Some vocalists float gently atop the instrumental sounds; Gregg’s voice carves through them, demanding to be heard. The obvious musical genres are blues and jazz, but there is more. Berry Oakley’s driving bass is pure rock and while the improvisational jazz is gloriously apparent, “Hot ‘Lanta” could have been a powerful, closely orchestrated, big band arrangement. The Allman Brothers were musical scholars and never shy about paying homage to their inspirational precursors, but that understanding is what led to the creation of the entirely new genre of Southern Rock. If you haven’t listened to this in a while, I invite you to give it another spin and listen with fresh ears. There are wonders that don’t grow old with age and new secrets can be heard even after nearly fifty years.
Derek and the Dominos - Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs This is the album that convinced me to buy a CD player. Even with a turntable that tracked at less than one gram, I listened to this on vinyl so much that I wore out multiple copies and I knew that I wasn’t going to stop listening anytime soon. I was right; I still love listening to this though these days it’s mostly in MP3 format. It started with a tragedy that would have done the Greeks proud: a man falls deeply in love with his best friend’s wife and is torn between his honor (and love of his friend) and the love of a woman he believes is his soul mate. Model and photographer Pattie Boyd Harrison didn’t launch a thousand ships, but she inspired an amazing album that continues to resonate. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs is Eric Clapton’s attempt to deal with an impossible love. The result is a beautiful, yet bloody, autopsy of Clapton’s broken heart. The grief is so obvious, the distress so plaintive, that the initial response is to turn away - but the beauty and the truth in the music is undeniable and pulls us back seemingly endlessly. The group Derek and the Dominos was Clapton’s way of avoiding the over-the-top superstardom he had acquired in The Yardbirds, Blind Faith, and Cream. “Clapton is God” was frequently seen on handmade posters at Cream concerts. D and the Ds only lasted for two albums (including a very good live album), so, in that way, the group was a failure. Fortunately, in every other was, it was a success. Well, at least eventually. The album did not do well in the UK initially and the record label thought it was because people didn’t know of Clapton’s involvement in the group. Soon, the “Derek is Eric” badges emerged; so much for anonymity. Clapton put together a group of fine musicians for the album: Bobby Whitlock, on keyboards and backing vocals, co-wrote six of the album’s songs with Clapton, as well as writing a solo effort - the softly beautiful acoustic number “Thorn Tree in the Garden”; bassist Carl Radle; and, drummer and percussionist, Jim Gordon, who wrote the coda for “Layla”. Along with Clapton on guitar and vocals, this would make Derek and the Dominos a strong quartet of veteran musicians who could do Clapton’s songs justice, but the quartet was about to become a quintet and make history. In a providential stroke of luck - or perhaps an act of God, The Allman Brothers Band was playing a benefit concert in Miami at the same time Layla was being recorded. Allman was a real fan of Clapton and had asked the producer if he could come by and watch the album being recorded. When the producer, the great Tom Dowd, mentioned to Clapton that Allman was playing in Miami, the entire group went to see the Allman Brothers perform. Clapton decided he had to have Allman play on the album and Duane was happy to oblige. Clapton called Duane Allman the “musical brother I'd never had but wished I did” and it shows on this album. The two play together as if they had been doing so for years, not the mere days they were together in the Miami Criteria studios. Allman became the nitrous oxide in the fuel system of an already powerful machine and an overwhelming work of all-encompassing magic emerged. For the romantics among you, Eric Capton finally got his opportunity with Pattie Boyd Harrison with the blessing of his dear friend and her then-former husband, George. They were married in 1979. They divorced in 1989.
Little Feat - Waiting for Columbus (Live) If you’ve only heard Little Feat’s studio offerings then you haven’t really heard Little Feat. This is lightning in a bottle, guaranteed to give you chills. The recording actually begins backstage as Little Feat warm up their vocals on a quick acapella version of “Join the Band” followed by the stage introduction. Lowell George’s iconic “Fat Man in the Bathtub” follows featuring his scorching slide guitar and vocals.
From the onset, you can hear that Little Feat has a superior rhythm section (Kenny Gradney on bass; Sam Clayton on congas and vocals; and, Richard Hayward on drums and vocals) and a solid front line of George on guitar and vocals, Paul Barrere on guitar and vocals, and Bill Payne on keyboards and vocals. Musically, this is a strong line-up and with a band full of songwriters the material is, with few exceptions, equally strong. The Little Feat staples are all here and done well and are all worth multiple listens. The “hidden” gem though is “Spanish Moon” featuring the outstanding Tower of Power horns. The ToP can be heard on many of these cuts and add atmospherics and a fullness to the songs. “Rocket in My Pocket” is an example of what they add. Even the more quiet cuts, “Willin’ ” and “Don’t Bogart That Joint” have a great live sound here so enjoy them. Then crank it up for the LF classics, such as “Oh Atlanta” and “Time Loves a Hero” and the aforementioned “Fat Man in the Bathtub”. I wonder if Spotcheck Billy ever made that special connection with Juanita. Ah, never mind, because it’s not nearly as important as the music. This is a California band that sounds like it’s from New Orleans or Macon or maybe Atlanta. It’s certainly the exception, not the rule, but great Southern Rock isn’t always from the South.
Van Morrison - Astral Weeks Van Morrison famously used jazz musicians to record this classic album. Everything about it sounded different than anything on the radio in 1968. In fact, it sounded different than anything else, anywhere else, and that is true even now. Astral Weeks is consistently rated highly among critics’ lists of great albums, but don’t let that stop you from listening. Sometimes the critics get it right. Please remember this is not “Brown Eyed Girl”or “Domino” so don’t expect that. This is an album you can listen to for a lifetime and not get bored. Just give it a listen. Every song is strong, both lyrically and musically. Morrison uses words and music to paint scene after scene from a young man’s life, his surrounding, and the people he meets. These are songs of innocence and wonder - an adult looking through the eyes of a child. The opening bass and the opening lines of the first - and title - song are not pop and they’re not folk, but they are pure Van Morrison: “If I ventured in the slipstream, between the viaducts of your dream; Where immobile steel rims crack, and the ditch in the back roads stop; Could you find me? Would you kiss-a my eyes? To lay me down easy; To be born again; To be born again.” Morrison’s spiritual quest and musical adventure began in earnest with this album.
R.E.M. - Reckoning I enjoyed Murmur and so I expected something good with this record as well, but it was the Howard Finster cover that captured my attention in the record store when I bought this. Lead singer Michael Stipe actually did the drawing and then Finster did his thing on it and while the cover is a bit dark and brooding, the music isn't always so. This album is the best place for a new fan to begin listening to R.E.M. It’s the most melodic of their albums. Peter Buck’s mesmerizing guitar and Michael Stipe’s vocals are out front and inspirational and it sits atop the mighty Macon rhythm section of Bill Berry (drums) and Mike Mills (bass).
“Harborcoat” offers some thoughtful reflections from Stipe. “Seven Chinese Brothers” takes off from the children’s story and brings it into the land of adulthood. The other songs are awash in Stipe’s vocals and Buck’s guitar which coat each song in a trance-like veneer that brings forth every nuance of sound and thought. Despite what could be taken as a low-key approach, there are deep emotions roiling that surface given voice by Stipe. Murmur was good and it was the album that put R.E.M. on the map with overwhelming critical acclaim, but I would match Reckoning against it all day and I think Reckoning wins. The first six cuts in particular are magnificent: Harborcoat, 7 Chinese Bros., So. Central Rain, Pretty Persuasion, Time After Time (Annelise), and Second Guessing. Camera and (Don't Go Back to) Rockville are also excellent. In fact, all of the cuts here are consistently strong and it’s easy to put this on and sit back and enjoy. And that is something I strongly recommend you do.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Misleading from the Rear: The Presidential Address

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It took President Obama less than one minute into last night’s 15-minute national address to again claim credit for taking out Osama bin Laden. The speech was an apparent effort to shore up his declining poll numbers among voters. With the US Senate majority in play, the President is currently a human boat anchor for Democrat candidates attempting to stay afloat.

The President; however, missed his mark. If he wants the faith of the American people then he needs to shoot straight with us. There is this statement, “Now let's make two things clear: ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL's victims have been Muslim.” The only true part of that statement is “the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim” and while that part of the statement is true, it is also misleading.

ISIL has certainly killed members of other religions. Its seeming preference for killing fellow Islamists; however, is simply a function of opportunity not preference. Does anyone doubt that members of ISIL would shy away from killing more Christians or Jews if they found themselves with the opportunity?

As for the rest of that statement, it was pure political correctness. Is ISIL Islamic? By their own definition and assertion, they are. This is the same politically correct nonsense that branded Major Nidal Hasan’s murder of 13 Americans and the attempted murder of 32 others as “workplace violence” despite his reported cries of “Allahu Akbar” as he opened fire.

Regarding the “no religion condones the killing of innocents”, perhaps President Obama should consider the following among the many verses in the Quran that endorse the killing of non-believers who do not convert or pay the extra taxes required of non-Muslims.
“If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and the alarmists in the city do not cease, We verily shall urge thee on against them, then they will be your neighbors in it but a little while. Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.” – Quran 33:60-62
Then we have this statement from our Commander-in-Chief, “Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are.” To quote the Beatles, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” Two years after Benghazi we arrested Abu Khatallah, the “mastermind” of that terrorist attack, and brought him back for trial.

US Attorney General “Eric the Dread” Holder has proclaimed that Khatallah will be given a trial in US federal court. So here we go again, the Obama Administration is in love with litigation and the court system to the detriment of American interests. Yes, you killed our Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in an orchestrated military attack so it’s off to court with you.

Oooooo! And who wouldn’t be afraid of an American jury deciding on a slam-dunk murder charge? I mean other than O. J. Simpson and Casey Anthony and a cast of hundreds. What’s the real message from President Obama? Don’t kill Americans or our lawyers will get you! Beware our fierce gray-pinstriped warriors armed with briefcases and rhetoric!

President Obama did list a four-part plan for dealing with ISIL, but if he can’t be honest with the American people in defining the problem then the details are not pertinent. If President Obama can’t even be truthful enough to recognize that people who have declared an Islamic Caliphate are actually Muslims then why should we believe anything he says?

The main thrust of President Obama’s speech was a reassurance to the American voters that he wasn’t nearly as disengaged as he appears to be. He’s certainly not disengaged from politics as his insistence on placing politically correct rhetoric above honesty shows. As for engagement in US foreign policy, I have never seen a man in power less prepared to make decisions than Barack Obama.


Today’s Quote: When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people.” – Edmund Burke

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Obamacare FAQs . . . Answered by Mr. Smartypants

Q. President Obama said, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. If you like your doctor you will be able to keep your doctor. Period.” I do, so why can’t I?

A. The answer is quite complicated, so please bear with me. You’re just an American citizen, a part of the masses, an absolute nothing to the grinding wheel of big government, big egos and big lies. You simply don’t deserve the truth about anything. Suck it up and keep paying your taxes.

Q. But . . . I believed him.

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...
English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A. Cry me a river, moron. If you actually believed that government could be more efficient than a private sector which has competition and therefore a need to be efficient; that an added layer of federal bureaucracy somehow made healthcare less expensive; and, that millions more people could be insured while the average American family saved $2,500 per year then you should donate your brain to science – they’re always looking for unused specimens.

Q. Is my personal information safe on Healthcare.gov?

A. Ha-ha-ha-ha. Stop it! My ribs are killing me and I've laughed so hard that my face hurts. Listen, the government can’t even keep secret the stuff the government wants to keep secret. Do you really think President O wanted Angela Merkel to know her personal cellphone was tapped? Do you think he wanted us to know that Eric Holder’s little gun-running scheme resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Mexicans? What about Benghazi? The IRS scandal? Safe? Your personal medical records would likely be safer posted on your Facebook page than in the hands of Joe Biden.

The only thing that might save your little tidbits of information is that the website is so poorly designed hackers might never be able to find the database. Plus the data is apparently compressed and stored on the aging hard drive of an IBM PS/1 with 640k of RAM - insert your own joke about a five-and-a-quarter inch floppy.

If you continue to live in the United States and think you might possibly have health problems in the future, follow this sage advice: Begin a life-long love affair with exercise, low-carb foods, and a doctor. 

Q. Will Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius be fired because of the poor roll-out, or as some call it the train wreck, of the healthcare.gov website?

A. No. Actually, she’s going to get a super-secret Barack Obama medal. You see, the failure of the website is preventing people from seeing the even more serious failures of Obamacare, such as the increased premiums and elimination of small business policies. They're not even discussing the two million people who are already losing their insurance coverage. And that is far, far beyond a train wreck – it’s more like a train wreck combined with a stock market crash, your daughter dating

Monday, October 14, 2013

If the GOP Blinks - The NEXT Shutdown Will Be Impossible

The ramifications of the GOP yielding to President Barack Obama and Harry Reid on the issue of the immediate implementation of Obamacare have been fully grasped by neither the Republican leadership nor the conservative media. Once the grossly misnamed Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA) has been fully implemented, the US House of Representatives will be unable to ever use the threat of a government shutdown again - for any reason.
English: President Barack Obama, Vice Presiden...
English: President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior staff, react in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, as the House passes the health care reform bill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Republicans have avoided any real consequences for holding the line on a one-year delay on the requirement that individuals register for the new law. In addition, they will eventually make hay out of the Democrats insistence that Congress and White House appointees be exempt from the law they passed and crafted. This shutdown is not the problem; it's the next shutdown that will count.

One could argue that the GOP has been hurt in the polls more than Democrats and that is true. President Obama, aided by an intentionally ignorant media, has done a good job of frightening citizens. Fearful or not; however, the only polls that matter, as any politician will tell you, are on election day. No one believes voters will still be frightened due to this issue more than a year in the future.

There is no logical thought process in which the Left does not threaten Americans with a loss of healthcare in future debt ceiling showdowns.

Yet, it is imperative that Republicans hold steady. The year-long delay for an individual participation requirement in AHA is reasonable and necessary. Reasonable in that the system is not ready and the effects and individual costs of the law cannot yet be anticipated. Necessary in that the implementation of Obamacare will almost certainly blunt any threat to rein in government spending by using the approved debt limit as leverage.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Intellectually Lazy Non-Voting Citizens Suck

“It’s all the same and it’s all meaningless.” If they cared enough to have one, it would be the battle cry of the apathetic non-voter. These are the people who are too lazy to differentiate between sides, too intentionally ignorant to look at issues, and too stupid to understand that their servile indifference equates to rabid support of this country’s problems.

They have help, of course, in the form of a mass media which refuses to face facts and cannot resist allowing their biases and opinions to molest straight news stories. The dichotomy between what people perceive and what passes for news is so great that they believe neither.

The technique of journalism writing.
The technique of journalism writing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Surprise! In “The Information Age” it’s harder to get facts than it was sixty years ago. The pablum in the press is provided by people who are no longer interested in truth and whose idea of morality extends to “their side” winning the next election. Call it “situational morality” or the Left’s mantra “the ends justify the means” but nihilism is winning the day. The denial of great truths about the intrinsic value of life and liberty are common – in every sense of the word.

The mainstream media kowtows to power, especially statist and Leftist power, and can’t seem to ask straightforward questions that affect our future. In the face of blatant lies that defy all logic, the press simply smooths its skirts and looks vaguely embarrassed but can’t seem to remember why it should feel shame or humiliation.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Left's Political Shock and Awe

- The Game is Not What You Think; It is Much Larger -

I believe the best ideas are concepts that can be applied effectively within multiple disciplines. The Doctrine of Rapid Dominance (DRD) fits this description with practical uses from philanthropy to armed engagement.


Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Universi...
President Barack Obama(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Developed by Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade and first presented in a 1996 report to National Defense University, you're likely familiar with the Doctrine of Rapid Dominance in its military form: "Shock and Awe". The doctrine is incredibly effective, not simply because it brings overwhelming force to bear, but because its goal is to seize control of the environment and drive opponents to distraction and despair.

DRD throws so much firepower at an opponent that the opponent is paralyzed, unable to know how to respond, and ultimately loses heart and nerve. This successfully enacted theory is why armed Iraqi troops surrendered to US television camera crews. For the past four and one-half years it has been employed by the Obama Administration against all who stood in its way, but not on the battlefield. DRD has been used in an attack on American laws and culture.

This is the model for Barack Obama's administration and has been so successful that as long as the US Senate and the mainstream media support him there is no reason for him to change. The ever-multiplying czars have been an important part of this strategy, with each new czar becoming a new front with which Republicans have been forced to deal. The same goes for discovered and reinterpreted regulations by federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Labor Relations Board.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Achilles, the Tortoise, and the Deficit

Greek philosopher Zeno’s most famous paradox was an attempt to show that motion is a myth. In Zeno’s scenario, Achilles must race a tortoise and because Achilles is much faster he gives the tortoise a head start. Surely a demigod outraces a plodding reptile with four-inch legs, right?

Zeno of Elea
Zeno of Elea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“Not so fast, my friend,” said Zeno of Elea, who may have been an ancestor of ESPN commentator Lee Corso. After the contestants begin running, Achilles reaches the starting point of the tortoise, but the tortoise is also moving and is at a point farther down the track. Achilles will soon reach that second point, but his armored rival has again moved on. This scenario repeats an infinite number of times because there are an infinite number of points between the two.

The point (pun intended) Zeno was attempting to make was that while Achilles gains on the tortoise he can never catch him. The current – and more accurate – scenario is the reduction of the deficit can never reduce the debt.


The deficit is like the gap between Zeno and the tortoise; it doesn’t matter how much you reduce the deficit, income never catches spending and thus every year we are more in debt. When a politician brags on “reducing the deficit” - and I’m looking at you Barack Obama - remember they’re losing ground to a tortoise and at the end of the day our federal government is more in debt. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Carpe Diem

"Seize the day" (Horace, Odes) Franç...
"Seize the day" (Horace, Odes) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“While we're talking, envious time is fleeing: pluck the day, put no trust in the future” - Horace

Years ago when I was a graduate teaching assistant in economics, I had a student ask why I was a conservative. The conversation took place after a class in which I mentioned that I was a fan of the Austrian School of Economic Thought.

The question was a legitimate one and asked honestly. I struggled for an answer at the time, mentioning several issues of morality as well as individual freedoms. I never did give an answer with which I was completely happy but I knew a better, yet simpler, answer existed.


I knew there was an underlying philosophy that tied those beliefs together. Later, I was able to put together what I should have said: “There are only a certain number of decisions to be made about your life in any given day. I’m a conservative because I believe you should make as many of those decisions as possible.”

There are only a certain number of decisions to be made about your life in any given day. I’m a conservative because I believe you should make as many of those decisions as possible.

It's past time for us to remind our elected officials and the faceless bureaucrats who re-interpret regulations to force more government decisions onto citizens that the day is, indeed, our day. I encourage you to take a part of your day to show an interest in the politics of our nation. It already has an interest in you.

Carpe diem, indeed!
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Sunday, November 4, 2012

And the #BlockReuters List Continues

If you missed the reason for the #BlockReuters movement, then please take a look at my prior post, which also includes the initial list of those who have blocked Reuters on Twitter. Please remember to follow @ToddKincannon; see my prior post as to why. Also, follow @ConservativePA whose work allowed this post to be made hours earlier than otherwise. Thanks, Ken Carroll @KenInEastman

"I love to see honest and honorable men at the helm, men who will not bend their politics to their purses nor pursue measures by which they may profit and then profit by their measures." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Rutledge




“The average newspaper has the intelligence of a hillbilly, the courage of a rat, the fairness of a claim-jumper, the information of a high-school janitor, the taste of a designer of celluloid valentines, and the honor of a police-station lawyer.” - H. L. Mencken



“We must have a citizenship less concerned about what the government can do for it and more anxious about what it can do for the nation.” - Warren G. Harding 



“What is honored in a country will be cultivated there.” - Plato



“Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood--the virtues that made America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life.” - Theodore Roosevelt



If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. - George Washington 



“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” - Winston Churchill



“Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal. It was Mussolini’s success in Italy, with his government-directed economy, that led the early New Dealers to say "But Mussolini keeps the trains running on time." - Ronald Reagan 



“We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace.  There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization:  Come here to this gate!  Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!  Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” - Ronald Reagan



“Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man.” - Mark Twain



“If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." - Samuel Adams



“It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.” - John Stuart Mill 



“Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.” - Harry Emerson Fosdick



“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams
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