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Pundit Roundtable

Welcome back everyone to PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE! I am your host, Ken McCracken.

This week the entire world waits with bated breath as our pundits tackle these questions:

Topic 1: What are the greatest problems facing humanity today? Is there a cure?

Topic 2: Tells us one of your worst guilty pleasures. We promise not to snicker.

First we have grizzled Roundtable veteran Rob Port from his kinetic blog SayAnything. Rob?

Topic 1: I think it is socialism. Not the "red revolution," "neo-Bolsheviks overrunning D.C." kind, but rather the creeping kind. With every new tax-dollar-hogging entitlement our politicians pass we Americans sell a little more of our independence down the river. The rest of the world is in much worse shape, America is still the leader in individualism, yet even here we are constantly making ourselves more and more beholden to the government.

Look at the tax code, for instance. What responsible American makes a major life choice without first calculating the tax consequences? Want a new house? What are the tax implications? Did your rich uncle die and leave you a windfall? What are the tax implications? And our politicians use those consequences, which are present in nearly every facet of day-to-day living, to manipulate our lives. They give tax breaks on certain types of behavior while using taxes to discourage other types of behavior. Taxes were supposed to be a way to fund the necessary functions of the government, not manipulate the lives of free citizens.

Look at entitlements, too. How many kids in this country can afford to pay their own way through college any more? Not many. Most have to apply for government grants and subsidized loans, which creates a vicious cycle wherein colleges keep raising the price of tuition while politicians make more and more tax dollars available to pay it. Eventually we're going to reach the point where the only way to get a higher education in this country is to be fantastically rich, smart enough (or athletic enough) to get a scholarship or to apply for federal money. The "I'm working my way through college" kids are going to become "the government paid my way" kids. Which isn't to say that accepting federal education money makes you a bad person, but what a shift in mentality! From an individual earning their own education to an individual beholden to the government to grant them an education. Is this the mentality we want our next generation of leaders to have?

I don't want to live in a country where the government feels the need to take care of me. I am an individual, and only want the freedom to earn my own way in life and care for my family. Which is what I think the solution to "creeping socialism" is: A shift in the philosophy of government in this country. We need to recognize that the government's only primary functions are 1) to defend our country from enemies foreign and domestic and 2) create an economic and social environment where individuals are as free as possible to take care of themselves.

I'll grant that a certain amount of government involvement in our day-to-day lives is necessary. I'm not talking about privatizing the highway system or anything here, but rather just a return to the idea that free people making free choices in a free social and economic environment is the best way to run a country.

Topic 2: I watched every single episode of /Dawson's Creek/ at my girlfriend's behest...and I /liked/ it.

I like /Desperate Housewives/ and most chick-flicks too. I can't help it. I had four older sisters growing up.

Next, I am pleased to introduce two feline perspectives on these questions, from those cool cats Piper and Frisky. Fan mail can be sent to them c/o Laurence Simon.

Topic 1: Look at the countries that make up the United Nations. Sort them out by enlightened free societies, dictatorships, and religious fanatics.,What you're left with is a menagerie of barbarian chiefs and savages who end up in Manhattan wearing anything but rags only because Western Civilization provided clothes, food, medicine, and global transportation.

Guess what? The General Assembly considers them all *equals*. And they get to pat themselves on the back, go out at night raping hookers and schoolgirls with relative impunity, and then head back home when they absolutely have to with their pockets full of cash and weapons.

Saying that a society that is little more than savagery and barbarism at its foundation is the moral and functional equivalent of a liberal Western democratic free society is madness. Even within the Security Council, savages and brutal dictators are rotated in on a regular schedule to frustrate the few free societies as the council's keepers.

Founding a Human Rights Council parallel to the Security Council in a manner than elevates the worst offenders to guardian status is the most disgusting and bizarre amplification of "Foxes guarding the henhouse" I can possibly imagine. It is not a genius product of hard effort and achievement by man's best intentions and desires for greatness, but the unchecked cancerous growth of all of mankind's social ills for such a thing to happen, the rise of the most putrid infection into a disgusting, pulsating head.

This batshit-crazy hypocrisy on a global scale will be the death of us all.

Topic 2: I like to buy things on the Internet that I have absolutely no use for.

See this collection of overpriced Elvis coffee? I've tried all four, and they taste awful. I should have given them away as a gift to an Elvis fan I know who suffers from lousy coffee on a daily basis. But you can't regift this stuff, especially when it's been opened.

My mind said no, but my heart said buy buy buy. And I fell for the hype and just had to have the Elvis coffee.

Even if I'd have left it all sealed as a collector's item, it would still be worthless.

Oh well. Thank goodness for catnip.

Next, I am happy to introduce our newest Roundtable guest, MacStansbury. Welcome, what do you say?

Topic 1: My first question, and you've given me a softball. You're losing it, McCracken! [this implies I once had it. - ed.]


Being a conservative, I'm partial to pointing out the plague of complacency. I was listening to a song where they mixed up John F. Kennedy's speech so that is sounded like, “Ask not what you can do for your country; ask what your country can do for you." Oddly enough, that describes one of the biggest problems for the world.

Complacency. Doing enough to get by. Shooting for the minimum.

It's the culture in academia right now, with the passing score being the only goal. Achievement, while not yet frowned upon, is less important than learning to be accepting of other cultures, and being indoctrinated into a culture that says to become as much like everybody else as you can.

Sure, the overt message it seems to say is, "be individual!" To become an individual, you should use the shampoo everybody else does, wear the jeans everybody else does, and listen to the same music. Only then can you become an individual. But, don't think I'm bashing a consumerism, I'm not; I'm bashing complacency.

It's just easier to go with the flow. To buy the products they sell on television. To listen to the biggest radio station in town. There's a reason it got to be the biggest radio station in town: they go for mass appeal. But, even then, they are working hard to hit the soft middle, the place where they'll get the most for the least work.

I don't know where it started, but I like the 80/20 rule: 20% of the people do 80% of the work. I can believe it. It's the achievers, the thinkers, the doers...they are the cure to the itch. Even though I'm not a doer/thinker/achiever, I do see how it's the work of those few that make it better for the masses.

It also produces large targets for those who don't want to work. Their meme is that the rich got there by stealing and plundering the common man, the worker. I just wonder if the reason it looks like the rich man seems to be profiting off the back of the common man because it's the common man's job? I'm sure that the rich man, at one point, had to work a little. He probably has to work a lot even now, to stay rich.

When Michael Jordan was still playing basketball, he was widely acknowledged as the hardest working man in sports. Strangely enough, he was also called the most talented. Jerry Rice played 20 seasons as the greatest Wide Receiver in the history of football, and had the hardest off-, pre-, post-, whatever-season workout schedule. It seems to me that really hard work looks a whole lot like talent, and vice-versa.

They are greats, not only because of their gifts, but for the endless inner-drive to achieve.

Topic 2: Making fun of the battle tactics in 24.

No, seriously. I constantly stare at the screen and wonder who thought that up.

An example: as Jack Bauer, noted anti-terrorism expert, is trying to clear out a mall, filled with a deadly nerve gas, not only does he take his mask off to save a girl, he puts the mask on the girl.

1. You've just exposed yourself to nerve gas, and you could die now 2. Putting the mask on the girl does nothing, since THE AIR INSIDE THE MASK HAS NERVE GAS IN IT!

They didn't even have to open the canister, just had to pull the fire alarm. Kobayashi Maru after Kobayashi Maru is entertaining television, though.

Next we have the hardest-working man in the blogosphere, Will Franklin, back again to share his thoughts. Will?

Topic 1: Radical Islam, as well as sympathy for / ignorance of it. The cure may take decades, or a century, to implement.

Topic 2: Walker, Texas Ranger . I have been watching this show for years, and now suddenly Chuck Norris is a big internet icon. It's so bad, but it's so good. And did you know that the cure of cancer is found in Chuck Norris' tears? Too bad he never cries. Other interesting Chuck Norris facts can be found here.

Incidentally, it's not one of my guilty pleasures, but a blog called PostSecret puts anonymous homemade postcards people send in about their deepest, darkest secrets, up for all to see. Some of them are funny. Others are sad. Or creepy. It's pretty amazing stuff, though.

The Host's Last Word: The greatest problems facing humanity today are anti-democractic regimes. Whether it be despots masquerading as kings and princes as in Saudi Arabia, inherited communist totalitarian dictatorships as in North Korea, or crazy theocracies such as in Iran, far too many good folks in the world have their basic human yearnings for economic and political freedom destroyed by the egos of mediocrities. Mediocrities like Robert Mugabe, who has singlehandedly destroyed the once-promising economy of Zimbabwe. Mediocrities like Fidel Castro, who would rather have his entire nation suffer miserably than modify one iota of his failed Marxist philosophy.

The cure? Chuck Norris.

But on to happier things. I have to also admit, like Rob, that chick flicks are one of my BIG guilty pleasures. Sleepless in Seattle, Fried Green Tomatoes, When Harry Met Sally . . . it's all good. I kinda *get* the whole girly thing. Plus I just like a good story, so I found these films quite entertaining. Frankly, I like them much more than NASCAR. Can they kick me out of the Republican party for saying that?

But my real guilty pleasure is the SPICE GIRLS.

Oh yeah, fatmouthed right-wing blogger likes pop fluff. Ha! They are just so irresistable . . .

Posted by Ken McCracken · 5 March 2006 03:05 PM


Ken, Rob Port at Say Anything has become one of my new favorite blogs! AND, I found him right here at WILLisms. Thanks Rob! AND, Thanks WILLisms.com!
(I still am a BIG fan of FILE IT UNDER too!) ...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 5, 2006 05:53 PM

Which Spice Girl is your favorite?

Posted by: Will Franklin at March 5, 2006 06:21 PM


Mel C. is my favorite, and I love the video and song she did with the late Lisa Lopes, 'Never Be The Same Again'.

She's so darling, I can't stand it.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at March 5, 2006 06:22 PM

Which one was married to David Bechkham? She's my favorite. Meow.

I don't have a problem with the Spice Girls. I've quite enjoyed several of their music videos...with the volume turned down.

Thanks for the kind words, Zsa Zsa. I've enjoyed your comments.

Posted by: Rob at March 5, 2006 06:26 PM

Posh Spice, Mrs. Beckham, is the one you are thinking of there, Rob.

Posted by: Will Franklin at March 5, 2006 07:06 PM

Yeah, that's her.

Smokin' hot.

Posted by: Rob at March 5, 2006 07:07 PM

Posh Spice, Rob.

She's hot too!!

Posted by: Ken McCracken at March 5, 2006 07:09 PM

We should just put them in charge of *everything*.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at March 5, 2006 07:14 PM

Guys, in the guilty pleasures chick flick category, "Sweet Lorraine", I believe that is spelled corretly. Not going to tell y'all a thing about it, see it cold. Best way to see old movies. As for biggest problem facing humanity, complacency about socialism. The old"I am just one person, what can I do to stop it" meme. Hi, ZZ!

Posted by: 2Hotel9 at March 5, 2006 08:09 PM

Hi, 2Hotel9!... Rob is becoming a star over here at WILLisms.

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at March 6, 2006 08:37 AM