Thursday, June 26, 2008

Is Obama for Real?

Is Barack Obama just another politician - albeit with a flair for the oratorical arts?
Charles Krauthammer writes about Obama's growing list of flip-flops.
Over at ABC News, here's today's Obama's flip on the gun control issue.
He had made the most definite statements about campaign finance reform; he had even promised to meet with John McCain before he made any decisions. Now he's decided to go with the money.
So, we've seen the Primary Campaign Obama. Now we're seeing the General Campaign Obama. His supporters no doubt expect that that the GC Obama is not real, it is to just fool centrist voters into voting for him. Then he'll go back to being PC Obama.
But who will be fooled in the end? When we go from PC Obama to GC Obama to President Obama? What will he be like?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

USCF Delegate Election

The election for USCF Delegate is underway and I am a candidate for one of the two spots from Georgia. A chess coach asked me for my platform. Here's what I replied:

I believe that the USCF leaders ought to spend more time promoting the game of chess and servicing the chess players. Unfortunately, they spend too much time politicking. This year there are a host of proposed changes to the bylaws. These have to do too much with the latter than with the former. For example, one by-law will increase the size of the Executive Board from 7 to 14. I’ve read the reasons for this one and they are not so bad. It is just that this not what the USCF leaders ought to be fussing with. I want to encourage them to spend more time on issues like how we can encourage more children to play chess. – Or how can we encourage more young people to keep playing chess after their Elementary School years? - Or how about adults who drop out of chess?

Another problem with the USCF that I would like to address is the “Not Invented Here” syndrome at the USCF. They are too slow to help with things being done by other people and other organizations. For example, one of the positive developments of the past few years has been the explosion of chess blogs on the internet. This year I had started a site where these blogs could showcase their best work. The USCF could have helped with this. Indeed, they could have done this on their own web site. But letters brought no response and nothing was done.

I should say that I appreciate the efforts made by USCF leaders like Bill Goichberg, Don Schultz, Susan Polgar, and Paul Truong to help me with my chess blog. I am proud to be selected by Paul and Susan to be their moderator on Chess But this was individual efforts. My problem is not with individuals; it is that I wish the leaders could come together as an organization. I’d like to help.
Some may say that all of this sounds like Susan Polgar and what she has been saying. Yes, that would be right. To make a long story short, I support Susan and what she has been trying to do. For more information about myself and Susan’s positions on the issues, you can check out the USCF Section on

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Novak 6/4/08

These are professional pundits who usually say things that are significant. Robert Novak’s policy is to have something nobody knows in each column. In his memoir at the left he writes of the 50 years he’s covered the news in Washington.

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McCain's Camp Believes Obama Weaker Than Clinton

McCain went on the attack today. He’s spent the last few months trying to unite his party but without success. He distanced himself from George W. Bush to such an extent that his Republican audience yesterday was shocked.

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That Sen. Barack Obama limped through the final Democratic primaries,
unexpectedly losing to Sen. Hillary Clinton in South Dakota Tuesday after being
trounced in Puerto Rico Sunday, is reason for hope by dispirited

Reversing their earlier judgment, Sen. John McCain's strategists now
feel that Obama is a weaker Democratic nominee than Clinton would have been.
McCain's tactics change now that Obama is his opponent.

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My Views

These are two flawed candidates.

Obama: says he wants a serious discussion on race but then he only wants to talk about White racism against Blacks. (Why did Black audiences across America welcome Rev. Wright after knowing about his racist, anti-America speeches? Also, why did the Black audience react so positively to the Rev. Pfleger’s racist rant?) Blacks and Whites are equal. Black racism is just as bad as White racism. Obama wants a frank discussion but not too frank. White racism is politically correct; Black racism is politically incorrect.

McCain: Tends to attack people for purely political gain. His past attacks on Republican leaders (e.g. religious right) were almost McCarthyism in their venom. His targets were unpopular. Hence the falseness and the opportunism. This played well with Media and others who were against Republicans, especially Conservatives, but is a big reason he’s having so much trouble uniting his base now.

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Here’s Novak’s essay.

Disclaimer: This gives you a picture of the book and an idea of what it costs. The fact that I will be compensated if you click on the link and buy the book turns this post into a semi-advertisement. I only will link to for books I actually liked.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Don’t Overlook This! 6/3/08

These are stories in the news that have much more significance than they’ve received. These stories should have been the leading news items of their day. Their significance extends beyond just a particular area and beyond just a particular news cycle.

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Brigitte Bardot Convicted in Speech Case

The former movie actress was convicted for writing an open letter to the President of France regarding immigration policies. Her major concern has been Muslim practices regarding ritual killing of animals. (She has been an animal rights activist for decades.) Her secondary concern has been the changing culture in the wake of large scale immigration from mainly Muslim countries.

Bardot was known for her steamy performances in the 60’s and 70’s. Her views and her writings reflect the attitudes of that era. Since the Danish cartoon controversy highlighted the changing and diminishing freedom of speech rights, many artists and writers have scaled back their views of artistic freedoms, especially as regards Muslims.

This has not held true for anti-Christian speech. The movie “The Da Vinci Code” offended many (if not most) Christians but nobody was ever prosecuted in the West for it. The movie and the book it was based on went much farther in criticizing Christianity than Bardot did in criticizing Islam.

This is the latest in a trend of attacks on freedom of speech in the western world involving Muslims. In Canada, Mark Steyn and Macleans Magazine is being prosecuted for publishing excerpts from his book regarding the effects on Muslim emigration on Western societies. Like Bardot’s case, the writings would not have been objectionable (legally) a decade ago.

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Here is the Bardot story from the AP. And here is the Steyn story on Wikipedia.

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Why This Is Significant:

This marks a trend in the lowering of free speech rights in order to accommodate Muslim concerns. There has been a steady stream of news stories in recent years about a tightening legal climate on writers, artists and others.

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Related Story
In Britain today, two Christian missionaries have been warned not to proselytize in a Muslim neighborhood. The police told the Christians that trying to convert Muslims to Christians is now a hate crime. They also told the Christians that if they came back they would be beaten although they did not specify who would do the beating, the Muslim residents or the police.

The interesting part of this story is the muted reaction of the British government to the police action. Their public attitude towards this story is consistent with their past public statements on these kinds of incidents.

Much of Britain is now considered “no go” areas for anybody but Muslims. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury has called for replacing British law with Muslim law in Muslim areas of Britain.

The story can be found here. There is a backlash as reported here.