My humble thoughts as one guy with opinions about life, love, religion, society, politics, parenting... yada, yada, yada.

  • RSS
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin

Thumbnail Recent Post

Recent Comments

  • Has Fatherhood Become the New Mercedes-Benz?

    It used to be that a tailor-made suit and a Mercedes-Benz were context clues signaling a man’s ability to “provide” and consequently, those were things made a man "sexy". But could it be that for today’s professional women, fatherhood is the modern-day equivalent of a Benz? ...

  • What Does This Election Tell Us About What A "Real American" Is?

    “What on earth is he talking about?”... to put it simply..what does a Real American look like, sound like, act like, eat, wear and drive? Where do Real Americans live? What religion do they belong to? The questions are endless, but as we put answers to the questions will you fit the mold of a “Real American”?

  • “Rope-a-Dope” or Political “SHAKE and BAKE?

    Here’s the deal… President Obama was eaten alive in the 1st debate... BUT could this have been a good thing? Regardless of whether he was off his game or engaging in the most daring “rope-a-dope” in the history of politics, that awful debate performance sets the Obama campaign up for a little "shake and bake." Here’s why.

  • Look Ma! I'm On Web TV!

    Here's Mr. Mansitioning himself ( talking about Presidential politics and the election on the HuffPost Live... I always appreciate the invite and love the discussion!

Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

I knew it was coming. Perhaps it's because I've been subject to "step aside" searches at the airport on a number of occasions, but still I knew that it was only a matter of time before your standard "club bouncer" pat down was instituted, along with some kind of a TOTAL RECALL like scanner (had been talked about for years without much concern from the public soon after 9/11) - Yet now it seems like everyone has retreated to a pre-9/11 mentality on that issue.

This wouldn't be news worthy except for the fact that the ones whining about these security measures are the ones who said "Let us never forget 9/11" every day on the floor of the house for at least a year after the Twin Towers came down. And it was them who came out in droves for a "9/12" rally just a short time ago. Yet this is where we find ourselves... Americans are nuts.

Let's be clear. Half of the Americans protesting the TSA's security measures are legitimately concerned about privacy, another portion are legitimately concerned about overreach by the government, but a loud portion are perpetual protesters seeking to inflict "death by a thousand cuts" on President Obama - politically speaking . I get the concern of the two legitimate groups. Our privacy is an integral part of our liberty as Americans (so long as you're not talking about things like drug use and gender issues). But as far as I'm concerned the Patriot Act eroded the foundations of our liberty for the cause of security. Most folks on the right (true libertarians excluded ) defended the Patriot Act with 'hey, if the government wants to listen to my boring conversations - fine. I have nothing to hide, it it means we're safer' (that 's Sean Hannity, btw ). Well, now we're exposed to the slippery slope of Partiot Act-logic since we're dealing with "fruit of kaboom" terrorist... That is terrorist that have bombs in their briefs.

So the question is how do we deal with a "fruit of kaboom" terrorist?.... I know! I know!... The conservatives say
'do what the Israelis do... They racially profile and we're too politically correct here They look you in the eye and asks lots of questions to judge if you're suspicious, etc. etc....'
Well let's examine their naiveté on this point. First and foremost, conservatives are trying to conflate what the Israeli's do (which is behavioral profiling) with what they've been championing here (which is racial profiling). So by simply using the word "profiling" to describe Israel's airport security measures they're either displaying a keen ignorance or they just "don't do nuance" to an astounding degree. And for the life of me I can't understand why allowing the government to racially profile is such a victory for them. As a person who's been racially profiled, I can tell my conservative friends with the utmost confidence, "dude, it's not cool". And you got the never to talk about the TSA violating your liberty... Please! - but I digress.

Secondly, it only takes a small amount of logic and common sense to understand that if a terrorist makes it through Israeli airport security and on to a plane- well obviously that plane is LEAVING Israel.. In other words the threat is being carried out of Israel, which would also mean that Israel has a much bigger concern with planes leaving for Israel from other countries... you know, countries like the United States...

And again, logic should also remind conservatives that Israel's most ardent enemies (my friend mentioned the PLO - which really makes my point) are neighbors... They are within driving distance of Israel... close enough to fire rockets and hit... Why would Al-Qaeda elect to expend the energy to get a terrorist through security to board a plane leaving the very country they want to attack? Doesn't make much sense when you think about it. In fact, one of the reasons that Israeli airport security is without incident is because terrorist attacks in Israel have historically targeted buses.

So the "Talk to Israel" "they look you in the eye and ask questions" solution has merit, but as much as folks would like Israel to be USA-EAST it ain't the United States and what works for them with a country that small won't work for us with country this large.

Also, the Israeli behavioral profiling solution seems awfully odd coming from a certain conservative wing of the country who suggest that Al-Qaeda can train themselves to resit our torture (I'm sorry - enhanced interrogation) techniques now that they have been publicized... If it's possible to train yourself to withstand water-boarding, then it seems most certainly possible for highly trained and highly funded terror groups to have a few people go through Israeli airport security and write down what the process is and what the questions are and so forth, and train themselves to pass lie detector test and beat the behavior profile for a terror suspect, no?

So again, the question is how do we deal with a fruit of Kaboom bomber in a post 9/11 America where we have proven that we deserve neither liberty nor security because we so willingly gave it up 9 years ago?

As far as TSA goes - I guess the conservative remedy for Airport security is to do away with the
scanners, the pat downs and while we're at it, the shoe and liquid thing and start asking questions to trained, highly funded terrorist that are trained to resist torture... oh, and racially profile. Other than that, I'm not hearing much in terms of real solutions... But should the President cave on this - which wouldn't surprise me- then I trust that we will hear much on FOX "news" about how "Obama let this happen" or had a "pre-9/11" mentality about airport security, although it seems like the complainers are the ones most guilty of this.

Just so you know, the stuff being used in the explosive devices being brought on to planes is a substance called PETN... Here's a little info on it and may shed light on why these measures are necessary. From the Guardian UK:

PETN is non-metallic so it does not show up in x-ray machines. Because it is so energetic, only small amounts of the explosive are used, and these can easily be hidden on the body or in electrical equipment. PETN-based bombs can be detected by the electrical wiring and detonators that accompany them, but there are ways around this. If the bomb is built into electrical equipment, such as a printer, it can easily be missed amid the device's own wiring and components.

On Christmas day last year, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab hid PETN in his underpants in a failed attack on a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit. The bomb escaped detection in part because Abdulmutallab used a plastic syringe filled with a chemical detonator that was hard to spot with an x-ray scanner. Last summer, Abdullah Hassan al-Asiri, the brother of the man suspected of building the latest devices, tried to assassinate the Saudi deputy interior minister after evading security detectors by hiding a PETN-based bomb inside his body. Around 100g of PETN is enough to destroy a car.
SO - if we can't detect the PETN (because the technology doesn't exist), then what's left is to try and detect the devices used to detonate it. If it's in a plastic syringe (as was the case of the X-mas underwear bomber, then the only way you'll find it is a pat down or x-ray screening.

Now just for the record, I'm not saying that I think the current system is "all good, yo" or that they shouldn't modify and make adjustments. A woman having to remove a prosthetic breast is overboard... But if the threats are high and a pat down is deemed necessary, then so be it until a better solution comes about. And folks need to dial it down. For the majority of us, you only get the pat down if you opt out of the scanner. Only 10% of passengers are subject to random pat downs. Here you can read FACTS about the TSA security measures.

But if you are still up in arms after learning the facts, then here are two other alternatives... Since conservatives don't have a problem with the patriot act, they can allow the government to randomly screen their travel, phone, and email history and use that to assess them as potential threats. After all Sean Hannity and others routinely say they don't have a problem with the government listening in on their conversations if it makes them safer - or so was the case when it was a Bush Administration listening.... OOOORRRR

They can have two separate flight statuses... They can schedule TSA Pat down/scanner flights where all the passengers have chosen to go through those security measures OR they can book the 9/10 (poking Beck) flight where folks just use the racial profiling, metal detectors and The "look into their eyes - window of their souls" Q&A security method. I think that'd be fair...

But in jest: If we're talking about the Q&A/behavior profile method, let's consider that Sarah Palin was asked what she reads to inform her world view about politics and froze up... Call me crazy, but that would look pretty suspicious to me if I was a TSA agent, so I'd bet my little pay check that if she was in Israel, she would've made the "no fly list" there based on their behavioral profiling... lol

[ Read More ]

Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 1 comments

I recently had a discussion with a buddy of mine (a Tea Party conservative) who really wanted me to tune in to a particular episode of Glenn Beck's show; the subject - GEORGE SOROS! Now being a consumer of both liberal and conservative media, I'm fully aware of the caricature of Soros that is painted by the far-right. He is, essentially their #2 boogeyman - right underneath Saul Alinksky. So, of course my friend asked me to lay aside my "bias" (which on some level seems to imply that Glenn Beck is a fair and balanced arbiter) for one day to watch this episode.

Now my friend is a good guy and we have some of the most excited debates about politics and social issues. Nevertheless, I declined his request, citing the futility of an expose of a liberal "Dr. Claw" who sits in his castle, petting his fluffy black cat and pulling the strings behind the scenes of government, without the willingness to acknowledge that there is and "equal and opposite" far-right counter balance. He defied me to show "...there's someone with just as many shadow organizations and behind the scenes election manipulations at Soros on the Conservative side - in ONE individual". Below is my reply, which talks about the nature of the ghosts in the machine, which is America.

LOL... In the end, what does it matter if it's ONE individual or a group, shadow or front?.... what does it matter if the result is the same? What does it matter that Soros funds think progress by himself, if T Boone Pickens and a few others fund swift boat veterans for truth? What does it matter if he floated Media matters, if the president of Diebold (the company that designed the voting machines used in the 2004 presidential election) promised to deliver Bush the election in ohio?

I don't have the time or resources to do what beck is paid 10+ million dollars to do on a daily basis (and frankly, neither do most of his viewers, which is why that whole "don't believe me, research for yourself" line sounds great but... really?)... But even if I did, all we'd be doing is trading boogeymen... You'd defend your boogeymen (or claim they don't exist) and normally I'd do the same... And both or our boogeymen are laughing at us...

I choose not to defend Soros and there's little that Beck could show me (provided he's being the honest altruistic American he professes) that would shock me... I'd probably be inclined to believe most of it, but I'm an American skeptic... I believe that the country's being run by giving us the illusion of control and removes that sense of control 1 party at a time...

We felt as if Government engaged in a war of choice that was being planned before Pres. Bush took office... We felt the loss of control when the Vice-Presidents former company made 3 Billion the first year of that war (a company that he still owned a reported 400K+ shares of at the time) - We made the administration and the PNAC our boogeymen BUT the right defended it, giving it enough legitimacy to stave off a revolution.

Now, you feel as if Government is intentionally trying to weaken itself by turning America from the quasi-socialist country we currently are to Mother Russia's wet dream.. and is trying to institute control of the populace by creating a national healthcare system - which they're doing so with the intention of controlling the populace by having control over their health.... And I'm assuming Soros is at the heart of this - BUT we defend it and (barely) just enough to stave off revolution...

I feel better suited focusing on key figures who are the puppets doing the will of Soros or PNAC and hold them accountable...

My point is that if we can take a step back; step away from our ardent, passionate and dogmatic view of how how the world should, could or would be.... If we can do that and open our minds to the possibility that a force as powerful as the United States of America is too awesome to be wielded by popular sentiment and good-natured folks.... Well, maybe -just maybe we'll begin to realize that we're at each other's throats like pawns in a game of chess with one player... I touched on it a little in a post entitle,

[ Read More ]

Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

You know, until very recently, I had resolved that conservatives owned, not only freedom and liberty, but the very Constitution that has enshrined our essential right to them in this country. I had also come to accept the fact that I, as a liberal-progressive was less entitled to invoke the names of our country's founding fathers, kind of like the equivalent of Muslim invoking the name of Jesus, or a Jew doing the same of Buddha...

Was it Glenn Beck's daily teargasm where he claims to be the authority on the founding fathers (if not Jefferson incarnate)? I mean, after all "I just love my country, and I fear for it" too. Maybe I was simply a victim of a propaganda strategy against liberalism, but for whatever reason I, as person with a BA in Political Science and a MA in communications, had somehow put it in my mind that the constitution was some complex piece of ancient Kabbalah literature to be interpreted only by orthodox Americans - i.e. conservatives. Thankfully, my desire to be informed when debated my friends on the right led me to actually read the US Constitution and trust me, it ain't rocket science. In fact, you can view it here. And you can also find selected writing by the founding fathers here too.

Why is this important? Well simply put, knowledge is power in the arena of ideas. The country is founded on ideas, and laws are created based on these ideas about how to address any myriad of issues, from the most mundane to the most complex. It seems that for far too long, many on the left have come under the false assumption that all of the Founders were a monolith of conservative thinkers and that their writings and the Constitution support that belief. The consequence of that thinking has led us (liberals) to believe that WE take up causes based purely on emotion as opposed to doing so with a sense of constitutional logic and a sense of the history of the founding of this great nation. Hence the term "bleeding heart liberal"....

But the truth of the matter is that the Founders argued back and forth in exactly the same way we do today. Their ideas were both liberal and conservative and they were both given to logic and emotion. They were men, not saints and their ideas were subject to interpretation, not inscribed by The Almighty as 'Thou shall... Thou shall nots' They belong to liberals and conservatives alike, yet conservatives have become their sole proprietors of and thus, too often and in growing numbers are there those who will readily and ardently insert the words "Constitution" and "founding fathers" into their political rantings with such a lack of understanding of that which they hold so sacred.

I listen and can't help but wonder how many of them are speaking as those who have actually read the works for themselves as opposed to how many are basing their rhetoric on the rhetoric of 4 hours of Sean Hannity. I'm pretty sure we all know the answer to that, btw. The problem with this is that they 'trust but won't validate' what they're favorite right-wind spinster puts forth, and they, in turn come to the conclusion that the Supreme Court is acting as judicial activist when they don't interpret the Constitution based on their 'less than enlightened' view of Hannity's, Limbaugh's or Beck's interpretation of the Constitution.

To turn a Regan a famous colloquialism around " the problem with our conservative friends isn't that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so". I'm not casting stones, for we are guilty of the same.

This is, in no way to denigrate my conservative friends, with whom I debate often and fondly about policy and who freely and readily look to the constitution as a resource on issues. They display a grit and backbone that seems inherent in those who are assured that they have "the law on their side". That said, this is aimed at empowering progressives to be aware that you too have the law on your side, and you too have the writings/thoughts of the founding fathers on your side. Progressives; liberals; you aren't the bastard children of liberty and freedom. You are realization of liberty and freedom - every much as any conservative. Will the law always support your "bleeding heart policy assertions"? NO... But you might be surprised at just how often it does.

[ Read More ]

Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

Jimmy McMillan, became an overnight sensation after this weeks 1st and only New York State Gubernatorial debate. And what did it take to accomplish this? Just a single slogan - "RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH!" And just like that, he's in.

It's not surprising, though. In many ways we should credit the Tea Party for making Jimmy McMillian possible - no, really! I am political polar opposite of my Tea Party friends (which I do have and I suggest you make a few too). Truly, I'm a bleeding heart liberal, if ever there was one, but before the Tea Party came along, average Joe candidates with simple, catchy slogans like "RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH!" or "I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK!" were not even anomalies, they were impossibilities. The closet we came to these candidates was Ross Perot, but even he was a billionaire.

But in today's America, a gathering storm of recession, sensationalism and media insatiability makes these candidates real possibilities. What began with the Tea Party is finally beginning to spread and carries with it the power to create "game changers" and "king makers" that upset the two party power structure in this country, and that is very much needed.

In the end, will we see Jimmy McMillan in the NY Governor's mansion? Well, it's not likely - although anything is possible with GOD. That said, it is more likely that Jimmy McMillian will wind up with his own syndicated radio show, or better yet he may wind up with his own MSNBC show using a chalk board to connect the sky-rocketing rent prices to a multi-national plot to take over America...

As it turns out, Jimmy McMillian himself is not paying rent and the media narrative is that he's somehow a hypocrite. But squarely in his defense, he couldn't afford to pay his $800 a month rent, so his landlord allowed him to work in the building instead - the barter system... That said, I'd further remind us that Dick Cheney sent our boys to Iraq, but got 5 deferments to avoid going to Vietnam... And probably 90% or the pro war folks in congress and on TV/radio never served either.

You can read about that report here.
[ Read More ]

Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

Since winning the Republican senate primary in Delaware last month, Christine O’Donnell has not had trouble getting noticed. When the Tea Party icon admitted to “dabbl[ing] into witchcraft” as a youngster, the press went wild. When she revealed that she was “not a witch” after all, the response was rabid. O’Donnell has fudged her academic credentials, defaulted on her mortgage, sued a former employer, and campaigned against masturbation, and her efforts have been rewarded with round-the-clock coverage. Yet few observers seem to have given her views on the United States Constitution the same level of consideration. Which is too bad, because O’Donnell’s Tea Party take on our founding text is as unusual as her stance on autoeroticism. Except that it could actually have consequences... READ MORE FROM NEWSWEEK
[ Read More ]

Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 1 comments

I don't know much about the "New" Black Panther Party (my conservative friends know much more -courtesy of FOX's crusade) but I've always been amazed at how ironically similar the Tea Party is to the Black Panther Party of old.

No doubt, there are glaring differences (and I like to give deference to the social climate of that time with regard to this discussion)... The BPP had undoubtedly ...socialist/marxist underpinnings- which is probably a reasonable and rational point of view given the time..

That said, there were also some very conservative aspects that I see in some of the Tea Party stances...

-A staunch belief in the 2nd Amendment AND the right to take up arms against tyrannical/oppressive government is a pretty big one.

-The right of self determination in the exercise of freedom and liberty is a big one...

-Also, the right to educate black children with "a knowledge of self" (essentially black history- which I guess is relevant considering how most blacks regard the BPP fondly and most of middle American's don't) can be readily equated with the Tea Party desire for education to be regulated at the state level and thus allow for local choice in matters of sex education, creationism and, in the case of Texas - the right to issue new history text-books that "conservatize" history.

- Lastly, the community policing and service programs is very much conservative in that they were created in the spirit of charity, self-sufficiency, and in lieu of Government failure to provide such services... Compare that with the conservative view on taxing to provide services for the disadvantaged vs. the charity of churches and community groups to feed the hungry. Not to mention the rise of militia groups concurring with the growth of the Tea Party.

I just think those similarities are interesting... In all honesty, if some of the black Tea Party conservatives were smart, they'd be trying to draw those comparisons because they are more persuasive to blacks than the typical conservative talk of taxes, spending and government - mainly because of the fact that liberty and freedom was forced on the country (to a large degree and not without problems) by the federal government.
[ Read More ]

Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

THE MATIX: Socialist progressive vs. Capitalist conservative... Basically you're a loser no matter which side. The folly of a capitalist conservative calling the current collapse and chaos and degradation of the nuclear family a socialist progressive phenomena reflects a blindness or unwillingness rather to remove the plank from their own eye...

"This economic collapse was caused by Barney Frank and Franklyn Raynes and mandating banks give loans to people who couldn't afford them"... I listen to conservative radio, so I know the rhetoric... But that rhetoric chooses to negate the fact that the majority of people foreclosing aren't poor people who got loans - it's middle and upper middle class individuals who lost jobs as a result of capitalist policies that resulted from a war between the fiduciary responsibilities of corporations to their share holders and a concern for workers and their families... It also negates the fact that had the bundling and selling of sub-prime loans not become a huge CAPITALIST enterprise, then we most certainly would not have faced the collapse that we face, because the risk factor would've remained with the initial loan company and they would've been much more careful in issuing those loans.

Even further, In many ways the conservatives are right about progressive ideas of freedom and self-expression contributing to moral deterioration of the country... But by that same token, they can't negate the fact that much of this expression rest on our freedom of speech and that the way we receive much of this expression is commditized and traded on the NYSE, which makes it a capitalistic undertaking... You think The Real Housewives of Wherever are ruining society, or that Lady Gaga is debasing the American culture- well look at the parent company that owns Bravo or the major record label that's distributing Bad Romance...

the socialist agenda is now so tied to the capitalist agenda that it makes everyone as right as they are wrong - on both sides.... Sometimes they work symbiotically as in the examples above, but often times they work in reaction to one another - As in the case of how socialist affirmative action was a reaction to the conservative jim crow era policies that sought to keep blacks economically oppressed... So now those who oppose affirmative action are correct to describe it as "reverse discrimination" or 'taking a job away from a qualified white man to give it to a less qualified black...' BUT those who support it are equally as right to say "that given the countries history of workplace discrimination, it is necessary to have reasonable protections in place -however imperfect- that level the playing field"

As long as neither side agrees that the other has an equally valid point, then they will continue to argue and will never come to a conclusion that works for both and accomplishes a solution that alleviates both concerns.... Thus they remain trapped in the matrix....

This (as a side note) is why black conservatives aren't taken seriously and why, frankly conservatives have such a hard time with black voters.... The absolute refusal to see that history has a current affect on blacks has them refusing to consider what kinds of conservative policies can be tailored to address the specific needs of the black communities... That's for the most part... The subject of education reform is an area where this is changing with vouchers, charter school exploration.... But beyond that they fail to communicate or are unwilling to communicate an understanding of the fact that when you spend 200 years uneducating and then under-educating a particular group of people, then that's going to have consequences for that groups future status - especially when you acknowledge how integral race was as a foundational principle of this country...

As a result we are all deprived and left to the whims of liberal politicians and "race hustlers" who are the only ones putting forth any ideas that suggest any concern for the specific history and needs of poor/lower class blacks.
[ Read More ]

Posted by Lawrence "LAW" Watford - - 0 comments

Many moons ago, God cursed Adam with the proclamation that he would have to earn his food, by the sweat of his brow; and so it began. God had decreed that food would cost sweat and man's wheels started turning; trying to figure out how to get more food with less sweat. A guy planting seeds quickly learned that a shovel moved more dirt in less time. A lady toting water will figure out that more water can be transported in a wagon with four wheels than can be carried in a clay vase on her head carried by two legs.

From the hammer, to the wheel on through to the industrial revolution where we ginned cotton, and steamboated ourselves upstream; we found ways to work smarter instead of harder. Inventions gave us more. We had more product, more time, less sweat, less stress. Somewhere in our timeline I imagine that we reached this perfect balance of "What needed to be done" versus "What we can realistically get done." As seems to be our nature however, we plowed through balance. Maybe it was greed that fueled us through. Maybe it was the challenge of building a better mousetrap. Perhaps it's simply the desire to remembered for doing something great. Regardless, I pushed us to a point where I believe our jobs became too easy. We had Technologically revolted to the point where we weren't sure to do with all the unused time and sweat.
[ Read More ]