Thursday, August 30, 2012

Inspiring speech, Paul, shame about the religious claptrap

Paul Ryan gave his acceptance speech for the US Vice-Presidential nomination to the Republican National Convention today. And what a speech it was! You can read the whole thing here but I'll provide a few of the choice tidbits, if you can't be bothered reading the whole thing:
  • On the incumbent administration: "I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power."
  • The key question for American voters: "Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?"
  • On Obama's economic policies: "The stimulus...cost $831 billion – the largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government. It went to companies like Solyndra, with their gold-plated connections, subsidized jobs, and make-believe markets. The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst."
  • More on Obama's economic policies: "What did the taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus?  More debt.  That money wasn’t just spent and wasted – it was borrowed, spent, and wasted."
  • On Obamacare: "[It] comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country."
  • On Obama's political legacy: "It began with a financial crisis; it ends with a job crisis. It began with a housing crisis they alone didn’t cause; it ends with a housing crisis they didn’t correct. It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America. It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new. Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at a moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind. 
  • On Obama's tendency to blame his predecessor for everything: "The man assumed office almost four years ago – isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?"
  • His answer to America's economic problems: "We need to stop spending money we don’t have."
  • His response to Obama's "you didn't build that" philosophy: "If small businesspeople say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else worked seven days a week in their place.  Nobody showed up in their place to open the door at five in the morning.  Nobody did their thinking, and worrying, and sweating for them.  After all that work, and in a bad economy, it sure doesn’t help to hear from their president that government gets the credit.  What they deserve to hear is the truth: Yes, you did build that."
Stirring stuff, indeed.  Makes me want to want to emigrate to America just so I can vote for him.  Only, there was a dark side to his speech that wasn't so appealing.  Witness the following words:
  • "The man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best."
  • "[Mitt Romney and I believe that] each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life."
  • "Our rights come from...God."
The contrast illustrates the dilemma voters face in supporting the Romney-Ryan ticket: rational and necessary economic policies are coloured by medieval superstition and illiberal social policies.  Is the great economic stuff worth a little of the religious conservative mumbo-jumbo?  Is economic freedom that produces job opportunities worth it if you can't marry the person you love?  I'm not sure of the answer to the question.  But what I do know is that American can't survive another four years of Obama with what's left of its freedom intact.

On balance, if I had a vote in the November presidential election, I think I would cast it for Romney-Ryan.

Monday, August 13, 2012

8 Best Aspects of the Olympics

The 30th Olympiad has ended and having earlier set out the 8 worst aspects of the Games, I'd like to close my blogging on the subject on a more positive note - the 8 best aspects:
  1. The superlative personal efforts of the athletes
  2. The keen interest and sportsmanship of the largely British crowd towards all competitors
  3. Handball - what a great game!
  4. Usain Bolt - for his strutting, immodest joy at winning
  5. Lisa Carrington - for her gracious, modest joy at winning
  6. The British medal tally - a sterling effort from a country that used to be joke for its constant sporting failures
  7. The volunteers that carried out all manner of menial support tasks
  8. The unabashed celebration of the best at time that Western society tries to pretend we are all equal.

Friday, August 10, 2012

8 Worst Aspects of the Olympics

Let me make one thing clear - I love sport and have thoroughly enjoyed watching the best of human physical achievement over the last two weeks. But there are some things about the London 2012 Olympics that will make me relieved to see the back of them. Here are 8 of them, in no particular order:
  1. The London 2012 logo
  2. The inane and ill-informed television commentary on Sky TV New Zealand
  3. The endless coverage of table tennis - surely this is the most unwatchable sport ever with each rally over before you can make out what has happened
  4. The tedious Chariots of Fire theme song played at every medal ceremony
  5. The long celebration of Britain's National Health Service during the open ceremony - there has not been such a politicised opening since Moscow 1980
  6. The use of pompous, minor IOC functionaries to present almost all medals - the use of past successful athletes would be more creditable
  7. The jingoistic and self-indulgent nationalism ("didn't we do well?" - actually YOU didn't do anything)
  8. China's success - this is a dictatorship using the odious, near-child-slavery practices of the Soviet block to build its national image through sporting achievement, and therefore nothing to celebrate.