Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who Will Not Become President: Newt Gingrich

A look at another person wasting their time.

One day several years ago I was listening to Imus in the Morning while on the way to work. It was during the era of Bush the Younger. Imus was interviewing MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and, as usual, Matthews was hyperventilating about Bush and Iraq. Matthews said that he was tired of all of these MBA executive type Presidents. He said that we need a President that was a history major.

As you can imagine, I almost ran off the road because I majored in history in college. (It led to a great job unloading history trucks!) I could never run for President because I have the leadership skills of a cocker spaniel.

There are lot of things I’m not too crazy about the public knowing about my life, and that includes my birth in Kenya. (That’s a joke, son.) I'm pretty sure most of the articles written about me, based on interviews with my family and friends would have the phrase, “and then he pooped in his pants” in it. I would spend a lot of time explaining the story was about when I was 18 months old and then they would interview another friend who would say, “18 months? He means 18 years old. He’s not too good in math.”

After I got the Manis For America nightmare out of my head, I realized who meets Matthews' qualifications: Newt Gingrich.

A quick lesson for those of you that may not know. Newt Gingrich is the former Speaker of The House of Representatives during the Clinton Years. He engineered the almost unthinkable (at that time) take over of the House by Republicans after 40 years of domination by the Democrats in 1994.

Gingrich has a PhD in History from Tulane University and once taught history at West Georgia College (now The State University of West Georgia). He has written a ton, literally, of books. He possesses one of the biggest heads for holding one of the biggest brains in public life.

Gingrich has two problems: 1) Nobody likes him and 2) Everybody hates him. Plus he is, like our last subject, Haley Barbour, kind of chunky.

Some of this is not Gingrich’s fault. He came to power in the Clinton era, when things just didn’t seem to be all that bad. If Bill Clinton’s Presidency were a magazine, it would be Letters to Penthouse. ["As I, President Bill Clinton walked into the room, I could tell this was going to be a night I re-elected my love. Yeah, come on."] If memory serves me correctly, we spent a lot of time in the 90’s learning things about the President that never came up in the debates, if you know what I mean.

Clinton seemed like everyone’s Frat brother back then, while Gingrich seemed to act like this guy who would remind you of his SAT score at lunch, in case you forgot about his SAT score from the last time you got stuck at the same table with him.

Finally, Clinton was apparently caught in an affair with a pleasingly plump intern and Gingrich started Impeachment proceedings. Then it came out that Gingrich was getting a little something-something on the side and Gingrich resigned from the house and we were spared the Presidency of Al Gore, which obviously God had never intended.

In the past 12 or so years, Gingrich has married his girlfriend, converted to Catholicism, and deals as honestly as a cad can about his sordid past. He also, in the past few years, has offered some very specific “ideas” about solving the problems of the country, world, universe, subdivision, etc.

Still, people want to like their President and they just don’t like Gingrich. He is so 90’s and I have a feeling the current GOP just doesn’t want go back to the future.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

President Abraham Lincoln Obama

If the current President gave The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago, which at Harvard they told us was eighty seven years, our forefathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, which they stole from the Native Americans. If they didn’t steal it, they killed and plundered for it. It was conceived in liberty (sure) and dedicated to the proposition that all men (did you hear that?) are created equal. Even those with funny names that were “born” in Hawaii.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war. It just so happens that war is in Africa, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure without the approval of the French. Can you believe it? A nation that idolizes Jerry Lewis as some sort of genius is the test if anything is multi-lateral. Because Jean Claude thinks so, we are meeting in a great no fly zone.

We have come to dedicate of portion of this field as a final resting place for those that gave their lives for those that might or might not be as bad as the Colonel Gaddafi himself. Which is another point. If he is such a hot shot leader, why is he only a colonel? It is altogether fitting and proper that we make up songs for our morning drive time radio programs that make mention to “Gaddafi Duck”. The girls really like those songs.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate we cannot hallow this ground because a certain political party, led by a man that tears up at baseball games, is playing politics with our budget and wants to make “Big Bird” and “Arthur” unemployed. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above your poor power to add or detract. I think I can add to it pretty well myself. The world will note and it will long remember what I say here today because I have that effect on people. It will remember that global warming and single payer health insurance was not ignored in a time when we were helping rebels in a far away land take over a country even I wouldn’t vacation in.

It is for us, the living, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work, which may last a looong time, if you know what I mean. Hopefully, it will be finished before the next election when I will slay the next hapless Republican that comes my way. I plan to win several more awards and may even win another Nobel Prize (fingers crossed)! It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before: fund raising. Our goal is to raise more money than the Republicans. We even have a new slogan. “Hope and Change” is gone—it is so 2008. Our slogan for 2012 is “A light rail near every house”. Our secondary slogan is “Sometimes when you give up looking for a job is when you find one!”

We here highly resolve that those in the military, who joined either because they were losers or couldn’t afford college, will not die in vain for this mission which may be humanitarian in nature or regime change (haven’t quite figured that part out yet). That this nation, under the wisdom of our new European leaders, shall have a new birth of freedom and that the government of the college professor, by the college professor and for the college professor shall not perish from the earth. Go Kansas!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Owls Of The World, Unite!

The newspaper of record for Cobb County, The Marietta Daily Journal, has recently exposed that the prospective new provost for my dear alma mater, Kennesaw State University, may be or may not be kind of a sort of communist.

As anyone who has spent any time in the any liberal arts department at any college in the United States, including unaccredited home school Bible Colleges, knows that most college professors are well to the left-politically speaking-to the average Joey Bagofdoughnuts. Actually, it would have been bigger news if Dr. Tim Chandler would have been a conservative.

To be fair to Dr. Chandler, the matter in question is a paper he wrote over twelve years ago with another professor that just happened to turn out to be a “9/11 Truther” ( a person who believes George W Bush came up with this great plan to kill three thousand people because, well, this is where it gets complicated).

The paper, in academic terms, said Capitalism stinks and that the United States is the most violent nation state ever because Chandler had never heard of Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, et.al because Chandler’s doctorate was in Education/Physical Education. Chandler says he wrote it through “Marxist lens”.

I wish I had come up with that when I was at Kennesaw State. I could have remarked about a test that I was writing with my “Doofus lens” and that the test was not an accurate reflection of my knowledge of the subject.

What’s even more remarkable (other than my general agreement with The MDJ,which is unusual) is that one of my old professors wrote an Op-Ed piece defending the Chandler hiring. I will also mention that it is remarkable that someone who taught me hasn’t retired yet, but that’s another story, smarty pants.

Dr. Thomas Keene wrote that it was wrong for The MDJ to attack KSU and Dr. Chandler. Dr. Keene, I am happy to report, is a swell fellow. He was a fair professor, although in 1983 he looked like one of those professors that were way too interested in the peasants. I once told him a joke I borrowed without footnotes from The National Lampoon that would probably get me expelled today. He told it at a Department Meeting, giving me full credit. I had his colleagues for weeks coming up to me telling me what a funny guy I was. Keene was also on the committee that recommended football for KSU, so I have no beef with him as a person.

Dr. Keene says college professors by nature are contrarians and that’s why they are college professors. Again, I wish I knew this back then. I would have answered the questions on my exams with the exact opposite from what was given in the lectures.

Dr Keene writes, “Conservatives often complain that universities are filled with liberals. Of course they are. University professors are contrarians who like contesting authority, whether it is the authority of ideas or institutions. They are paid to do it. They are rewarded if they do it well. One of the questions on teacher assessment surveys at KSU asks whether "the instructor challenges me to think." It's an appropriate question. It gets at one of most important criteria on which professors are judged.”

Besides a big high five to Dr. Keene for admitting what we conservatives have been complaining about forever, I would like to add that this is an attitude that is prevalent only in the Liberal Arts department. For some unknown reason,the Liberal Arts department feel it is their duty to make everyone in steps into their building a Democrat. The Business Department seems more interested in getting a student a job.

What this is really about it feckless leadership of Dr. Dan Papp. He has the unenviable task of being the President of KSU after Betty Siegel, who everything little thing she did was magic (thinking about my college career got me thinking about the great hits of the 80’s.)

In his first year at the helm, at statue called “Spaceship Earth” mysteriously fell apart into a broken heap. To be all Liberal Artsy-it seems to have foreshadowed Dr. Papp’s tenure with his “dog ate my homework” response to Jessica Colotl (an illegal alien/student that was arrested on campus and blamed big bad America for enforcing these strange little things called laws). Now comes Dr. Chandler and his paper.

The only lens Papp’s administration can look good in are called beer goggles.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Universal Truth

Last week the Twitter/blogosphere world exploded with the news that Rob Bell may be a "Universalist". This may come as a surprise to you because: a) you do not have any idea who Rob Bell is and b) you thought a universalist was somebody that went to a big college. Being a "universalist" simply means everyone gets into heaven.

Rob Bell is the pastor of a large church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, of all places, called The Mars Hill Bible Church. He is a part of the “Emergent Church” which could be described as Post Semi-Catholic Reformed Methodist Republican Neo-Anabaptist Democratic Charismatic Almost Liberal But Pre-Conservative movement that believes that you bring people into a relationship with God by not tucking in your shirt.

In his new book, Love Wins, Bell reveals that he’s not big on the concept of Hell and there may be ways to heaven other than Christianity. This caused the firestorm because, most of the Evangelical world believes there is a Hell and there is only one way to heaven-becoming a Christian.

It is unclear, at the moment, if Bell thinks there is a literal Hell. The promotional video by the book publisher suggests he does not. He could believe in a concept called “Annihilation" in which the soul ceases to be after death. Again, we are not sure. My wife suggests that he could believe everyone gets to heaven no matter what but you are given heavenly assignments based on what you did in your life. For example, Mother Theresa would have a cushy job where she could cut out of work at about 10:00 while Charles Mason would be a janitor.

Speaking as a layman, I have a couple of problems with Bell in general and with this type of theology.

Bell’s church is not part of a denomination and he is the big dude at his church. I’m one of those people that distrust pastors who have an ambiguous accountability system in place. Bell maybe the greatest guy in the world, but does he have a guy that will tell him “Gee, Rob, I don’t know...."? I imagine he does not.

Bell once said this regarding his critics: “When people say that the authority of Scripture or the centrality of Jesus is in question, actually it's their social, economic and political system that has been built in the name of Jesus that's being threatened".

No offense, but this is circular logic at its arrogant best. If you question Bell, your social, economic and political system that has been built in the name of Jesus is being threatened. I suppose Bell doesn’t have a social, economic, or political system built into the name of Jesus, so I guess all of Rob’s opinions are gospel, if you pardon the pun.

Critics of the critics point out that none of us have actually read Bell’s new book and the critics shouldn’t be so critical because it is so mean. True, there is a Evangelical Mean Machine that bashes people for real/or imagined sins. But Bell’s proponents appear to think that words do not mean anything and that you can say anything to people as long as they come to church.

Bell and others in the Emergent Church were correct in rejecting the heavy handed brimstone past of the Evangelical Church. Like most young people, they have thrown out the baby with the bathwater.