I’m Talking To You

March 26, 2012

…and so is Bill Whittle. In his latest video, Mr. Whittle addresses himself to people who don’t really get too deep into politics (which may be why you’re reading Grand Rants, and not HotAir, Malkin, Instapundit, or others):

And he’s right.



Happy Birthday, ObamaCare!

March 23, 2012

I think this video says it all.


South Side Values

March 21, 2012

You may already have heard what the First Lady  had to say when speaking with David Letterman (David Letterman?) the other night about raising kids in the White House:

“For us, it’s the values. The thing that we try to do is make sure — the residence is on the second and the third floor of the White House. And what we want to have happen is when they get off that elevator and walk in to our residence that it feels like the south side of Chicago, the same values, the same rules, the same sense of responsibility…” 

She may want to re-think the import of those “south side values,” given what’s going on back home these days:

Chicago’s police superintendent says the city is re-tooling its anti-gang strategy, following a particularly violent weekend during which several people, including a 6-year-old girl, were killed.”

“The majority of shootings in the city between Friday evening and early Monday morning happened on the city’s South Side, but areas from West Rogers Park to Humboldt Park also saw gun violence. The youngest victim was a 6-year-old girl, who was likely the innocent victim of gang violence in the Little Village neighborhood.”

Based on a quick search of “chicago south side violence”, I really don’t want South Side values being instilled in the White House. Do you?

2012: Anybody But Obama


H/T: Daily Scoreboard

Don’t Mess with Alan Grayson

March 14, 2012

I was enjoying the response to the MoveOn.org flowchart at iOwnTheWorld when I noticed an advertisement on the sidebar for Alan Grayson. “Put Progressive Champion Alan Grayson back in Congress!” the ad crowed. But given Mr. Grayson’s recent troubles, I took the liberty of modifiyng the ad slightly.

Much better!


Who’s Your Buddy?

March 14, 2012

Well, if you’re a member of the US International Longshoremen’s Association, that would be Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. Yes, you heard me correctly; an American union (snort) awarded the leader of communist China the title “Best Friend of the American Worker.” China Daily reports:

ILA Vice President William McNamara said his association was honored to give the award to Premier Wen to thank China for its great contributions to creating more job opportunities for American workers.

 The award ceremony coincided with the 10th anniversary of the first direct vessel call to the Port of Boston by China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO) in February 2002.

Because on the docks of Boston, nobody does more for the longshoremen than… the Chinese? One might think that the USILA (and its parent union, the AFL-CIO) might have had second thoughts about giving an award to the head of a nation that does not allow actual trade unions. The irony, it burns!

I really didn’t think there existed an award more meaningless than the Nobel Peace Prize. But I think we’ve finally found one.



Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be “Showgirls”

March 12, 2012

Sadly, it’s likely that bit of paraphrased advice will have absolutely no effect on the children involved in a show called “Dance Moms” on the Lifetime Network.

The Lifetime Television Network claims to be for women. Its mission statement:

Lifetime Networks is a diverse, multi-media company, committed to offering the highest quality entertainment and information programming content that celebrates, entertains and supports women. Through its award-winning public affairs initiatives, the Company also advocates a wide range of issues affecting women and their families.

Nowhere in their statement do they mention the well-being of little girls, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that this network would choose to produce an episode of a show called “Dance Moms” in which little girls are basically taught a bump-and-grind routine, dressed in nude costumes bedizzened with sequins and feathers, and required to peform said routine in front of the cameras. Yeah, that celebrates, entertains, and supports women, all right.

Tuesday night’s episode, titled “Topless Showgirls,” featured girls as young as eight performing a sexually charged, provocative showgirl-like routine in a local dance competition, donning barely-there sparkly flesh-colored bras and panties to give the illusion of nudity.

“All the girls and I feel kind of nervous because we feel kind of naked,” one of the dancers said prior to taking the stage…

The raunchy routine involved girls thrusting their chests forward and backward, shimmying across the stage and even pretending to cover themselves up with big feathers as they bounced from the stage. [emphasis mine]

The woman in charge of all of this, Abby Lee Miller, teaches the little girls this routine:

“I’m hot, I’m mean, you can’t have me, you can’t afford me,” Miller recited to the girls as she taught the moves, before telling the cameras: “The moms are ridiculous because all they’re worried about is their kids and their bodies and blah blah. Once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. This is show business kid.”

You can’t have me, you can’t afford me.” Honestly, I can’t think of anything more horrifying than having a daughter of mine under the thumb of a woman like this for any reason whatsoever.

Read the whole report at Fox News and prepare for your blood to boil.

It’s funny. Rush Limbaugh lost a few advertisers because he implied that a 30-year-old woman who demanded that others pay for her sex life was somewhat less than virtuous; liberal men and women were predictably “outraged” by his calling a slut a slut. Perhaps it’s time to reset the concept of outrage back to where it belongs–by reacting strongly when people actually do things like this to exploit children.

You can email Lifetime Network… well, no, apparently you can’t contact them via email. But their phone number is 212- 424-7293.

If any of these girls are able to escape the influence of their “dance” instructor and their Rose Hovic-type mothers, I fear many of them are still destined to grow up to be latter-day Sandra Flukes.


Kony 2012 And The Explosion In Social Media

March 9, 2012

Imagine you come upon a child under 10 years old who, along with his friends, is in obvious distress. Now imagine, when you ask that child what you can do to help him, he turns to you and says, with all seriousness, “It is better if you can kill us…”

What in the name of all that is holy could cause a child that young so much stress and fear in his life, that given a choice, he would have you kill him as an act of kindness?

Meet Jacob, the unsuspecting star of Youtube’s most viral video to date (It’s closing in on 50 million views).

Side one:

Through the new social medias (blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc.) intercommunication between people representing all nationalities, races, religions etc. has opened up possibilities limited only by our imaginations. The imagination of a young man named Jason Russell has initiated what may be the most ambitious yet potentially controversial experiment involving this emerging application of technology. The goal? To bring down the man who, according to the International Criminal Court in The Hague tops their list of the world’s worst criminals. His name: Joseph Kony. His crime? Abducting thousands of children and forcing them to become soldiers in his rebel army.

For over 20 years, children in central Africa like Jacob have lived in fear of being captured by the Kony’s rebel army. The second goal is to reunite thousands of young children with their parents. The deadline? THIS YEAR. And, although it might sound crazy, they might just pull it off.

The organization behind the video you ware about to see (and who is organizing the project) is called Invisible Children. On the video, in addition to telling Jacob’s dramatic story, they demonstrate how the use of social technologies (like Facebook) can be used to bring an end to  the LRA (“Lord’s Resistance Army”) and Kony’s reign as one of the most sinister human beings to ever disgrace humanity.

Again, I really urge you to make time to watch this video (link is below). And then, although this goes against my usual stand on e-mails, PLEASE forward this to as many of YOUR friends and colleagues you feel comfortable with.

Side 2:

Any undertaking of this type is bound to bring out detractors and naysayers, And Invisible Children is not without their critics. And while it’s good to “vet” any organization, those involving the welfare of the world’s children should be especially monitored.

There have been allegations ranging from dubious finances to questionable marketing tactics.

But as someone who has worked in a non-profit organization in the area of Child Advocacy, I can tell you that kind of smear effort is standard operating procedure, usually initiated by other organizations’ jealousy of your accomplishments and often championed by a young staff writer looking to advance his or her career. at a newspaper or magazine. My advice is to do your own due diligence and decide for yourself.

That said, regardless of how “Kony: 2012” winds up, it has clearly established yet another example of how powerful the new world of social media networking truly is. Incidentally, the video was recommended to me by our good friend singer Dave Carroll who, himself, demonstrated the power of social media networking several years ago when his United Breaks Guitars (UBG) trilogy of songs helped to define a new era in tools for both consumers and corporations in the area of customer service.

Incidentally, the resulting effect of UBG has directly led to Dave’s involvement in a new web site to help address customer’s gripes and complaints over consumer issues, called GripeVine.

But what of the public’s involvement with the Kony 2012 movement? Some of you know of my time spent working with John Walsh (host of America’s Most Wanted) when his son Adam was abducted and murdered. I spent several years working with him both in Florida and in Boston, helping him to use technology to track, compare and develop Child Protection Legislation on a national basis.

We’ve come light years since then, but my guess is that if you watch this video and then choose to get involved in ANY level, simple or complex, I’m confident you will enjoy a feeling of having been an integral part of something very important and, quite possibly, HISTORICAL in accomplishment. You will understand the feeling of accomplishment that I felt, but in this case, it will be magnified many times over, especially if the goal of capturing Joseph Kony is realized.

Michael Jackson was right, folks. “We ARE the world.” We have the technology. The question is, “Do we have the humanity?”

I’m betting we do.

Gerry Ashley

Flipping the Switch: Your Tax Dollars at Work

March 8, 2012

Yes, we’ve poured billions of tax dollars subsidizing the building of massive wind farms throughout the Columbia River Gorge. And now the turbines are being turned off because they’re producing too much power. And we’re paying them to shut down!

Fox News reports:

Wind farms in the Pacific Northwest — built with government subsidies and maintained with tax credits for every megawatt produced — are now getting paid to shut down as the federal agency charged with managing the region’s electricity grid says there’s an oversupply of renewable power at certain times of the year.

The problem arose during the late spring and early summer last year. Rapid snow melt filled the Columbia River Basin. The water rushed through the 31 dams run by the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency based in Portland, Ore., allowing for peak hydropower generation. At the very same time, the wind howled, leading to maximum wind power production.

Demand could not keep up with supply, so BPA shut down the wind farms for nearly 200 hours over 38 days… [Emphasis mine]

…Now, Bonneville is offering to compensate wind companies for half their lost revenue. The bill could reach up to $50 million a year.

The extra payout means energy users will eventually have to pay more. 

Of course they will. And most people aren’t happy with the solution. Even environmentalists think it’s a bad idea — not because of the waste of money, energy, or resources, you understand, but because it looks bad for business:

“It sends a very poor signal to the market about doing business in the Northwest,” said Rachel Shimshak, executive director of the Renewable Northwest Project. “We want the Northwest to be a good place to do business.”
Sadly, the Bonneville Power folks can’t really do anything about it. Why? (All together now…) Because of environmental regulations! Apparently shutting down the hydropower instead of the wind turbines is bad for the salmon in the river. Too much water over the dam is as bad for the fish as… well, supply your own bad pun here. 
I’d like to know why there isn’t a plan in place to handle the surplus energy that might be (and apparently has been) generated. Surely some of our tax dollars went to develop all sorts of contingencies about the combined power supply… and the best they could come up with was just turn it off? No way to divert the extra power to other areas of the region? Couldn’t we sell it to Canada? It’s not like we’d need to build a pipeline or anything.
In clean energy parlance, this is evidently a case of dammed if you do and damned if you don’t.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissy at Hot Air beat me to this by 10 minutes!  And he’s got video.

To the Candidates

March 6, 2012

Dear Mitt-Newt-Rick,

There’s something you should know: we don’t want you. Oh, when the time comes, we’ll blog for you, campaign for you, make calls for you, put signs in our yards; we’ll even look and sound enthusiastic doing so. And with luck, we might just get you elected. Every single one of you will do a better job as president than the current President has done. And that’s no small matter. But you need to know that to us, you’re just a placeholder. Acceptable, but not who we really want.

As a placeholder president, we expect you to do a few things: appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court; begin the repeal of ObamaCare; start to get the economy back on track; lower fuel costs by allowing drilling and pipelines. If you can get those things going, we’ll be happy.

But in a few years, there will be a new crop of candidates — actual conservatives! — whom we like much better. Allen West. Marco Rubio. Paul Ryan. Eric Cantor, Chris Christie. Nikki Haley. Susana Martinez. And many more. They’re paying their dues now, and by 2016 they’ll be ready to run for high office — your office. And we will support them like crazy. They will be our Obama, the real hope and change of the Republican party and of the country.

So, Mitt-Newt-Rick, enjoy your run. Enjoy your term in office, and do what you can to begin mending the damage that has been done over the past four years. But don’t get too comfortable in the White House. Because I think you’re going to be a one-termer, just like your predecessor. Why? Because the really good guys are coming up right behind you. We deserve them. We need them. America needs them.