Saturday, June 25, 2005

Jedi Family


To be Jedi in the Star Wars movies, was to be Jedi as your family. You left your parents behind to be trained, and you were not allowed to marry. This was Lucas’ method to create the tension behind Anikin Skywalker, and his eventual turn to the Dark Side. In real life however, things are a bit better, though much more complex.

The fundamental unit of relationships for humans begins with family. We are born to a mother, hopefully also to a father on hand, and by the time an infant can speak as a small schild, his or her first word is very often ‘Mommy’ or ‘Daddy’. The presence of brothers and sisters creates an initial community and social order. Biologically and psycholigically, the family is the indispensible unit.

The absence of key elements in the social order has undeniable consequences. By far, children who grow up missing Mom or Dad suffer academically, financially, and in personal judgment. And the most important element missing in failed marriages is often the commitment to make it work when it’s not new and exciting anymore. This is where Jedi matters.

The Jedi is disciplined, sure. But the Jedi knows why something is important, and how to decide between competing interests and desires. The Jedi plans for the long-term, and does not make a commitment lightly, because he is bound by his word far more than most people. Every relationship for a Jedi, is one where he must have unfailing integrity. A Jedi may marry, certainly, but only if he is sure he will stay with the marriage, come what may. Divorce may be an option for normal people, but it must be forsworn by Jedi.

And that brings us to the children. There is no greater blessing than children. To have a child brings great responsibility, however. If a Jedi must be commited to a marriage for as long as he lives, he must be committed to his child’s welfare for even after he dies, for his child’s life to come. Not just financially, but in every respect that can be addressed.

This is not to say that a parent must control the child; not at all. Over-protected children can suffer as well as children who are neglected, though obviously in different ways. It is impossible to write a guide or set of rules which will apply perfectly to every child’s condition or identity, but a parent should be careful to note the child’s strengths and areas to work on, and must build a strong relationship with their child. The Jedi will invest more in his child than in any other person; this is not only the way to fulfillment for the Jedi, but also for the child and to promulgate Jedi into the next generation.

Friday, June 24, 2005

An Open Letter to President Bush - I


A website called is compiling a project to write and display letters to the President. Here’s what I wrote:

Dear Mr. President:

It’s been a long four years, Mister President, but you’ve done well. But now is the time to continue that effort to seal the victory and mark the way for the next generation of Americans. You are right, and you have the support of the people who are doing the heavy lifting, never forget that.

Your enemies insult you, because they cannot produce a better answer than your policies. Your rivals deride you, because they see a greatness they cannot match. Do not pay heed to polls created by people paid to find failure or blame America. Do not worry about what people who spent more time and money choosing their clothes than building a base of knowledge, just because they get in front of a camera.

You are, sir, simply the most effective President since Ronald Reagan, and in many ways you have the same opportunity to set the world right in a way no one else possibly could.

Stay strong, stay confident, stay on course. Don’t ever give up.


DJ Drummond

We Owe These Guys


If I mention the following names, what do you suppose they have in common?

Sergeant Mike Meiner
Sergeant Brian Wilhelm
Sergeant Mike McNaughton
Airman 1st Class Scott Pizzifred
Airman 1st Class Scott Palomino
Marine Corporal James Eddie Wright
Army Specialist Danielle Green
Buck Sergeant Keith Wolverton
Marine Corporal Casey Owens
Navy Corpsman Jose “Doc” Ramos

Any thoughts? You might suspect these are people who all served in the War on Terror, in Iraq and in Afghanistan. They also are combat veterans who were disabled, often requiring amputations. They are mentioned here, because of the efforts of these people:

Dick Lynch, founder of IMPACT
Dan Goodale, West Coast Director of IMPACT
Larry Boyd, IMPACT General Chairman
Christian Okoye, Kansas City Chiefs and early IMPACT organizer
Jake Plummer, Denver Broncos
Jim McMahon, Chicago Bears
Mike Lee (pro bullrider)
Mike Shanahan, Denver Broncos
Reuben Droughns, Denver Broncos
Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos
John Lynch, Denver Broncos
Arnold Palmer, Pro Golf legend
Brian Kilmeade, Fox News
Ben Crenshaw, PGA star
The Buffalo Bills Football Club, NFL
Isiah Thomas, NBA star
The Cincinnati Bengals Football Club, NFL
Jeff Gordon, NASCAR
President George W. Bush
Darryl Grant, musician
Pat Bowlen, CEO Denver Broncos
Rudolph Giuliani
Junior Seau, Miami Dolphins
The New York Yankees Baseball Club, MLB
Carl Peterson, folksinger
The New York Knicks Basketball Club, NBA
George Strait, country singer
The Washington Redskins Football Club, NFL
Bob McNair, owner Houston Texans
Houston Force, Professional Softball Team
The Houston Texans Football Club,NFL
Jimmie Johnson, Hall of Fame Coach
The Miami Dolphins Football Club, NFL
David Carr, Houston Texans
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans
Joe Nemechek, pro Motocross driver
Greg Bifle, NASCAR
Zach Thomas, Miami Dolphins
Jason Taylor, Miami Dolphins
Scottie Pippen, NBA Hall of Famer
David Stern, NBA Commissioner
Michael Bloomberg, Mayor New York City
John Peyton, Mayor Jacksonville Florida

These people are all direct supporters and participants in Impact Player Partners, which honors and provides support to American military personnel who are severely injured or disabled. Impact Player Partners arranges for these brave heroes to meet with their favorite sports and entertainment personalities, and to honor these veterans before, during, or after sporting and entertainment events. Impact Player Partners also provides career, emotional, and financial support to these veterans, including transportation and lodging expenses for family members visiting their injured loved one, uncovered medical expenses or prosthetic device upgrades, and assistance to help with loss of income. They plan to build at least one home per years for an injured war on terror hero. You can help be a part of this. Simply go to Impact , read up on these guys and what they are doing, and help where you can. The easiest way is to buy some of their “Impact a hero” wristbands, like I just did.

“When I saw the stumps, I thought, ‘Damn, both of them? ‘ Then I looked at my leg and I was trying to figure how to put a tourniquet on it because I didn’t have any hands.” - Marine Corporal James “Eddie” Wright

The Summit Daily News summed it up with its headline:

“We owe this to these guys”.

Thursday, June 23, 2005



The 2005 Baseball season for the Baylor Bears is over. The Bears dropped a heart-breaking 4-3 decision to the Texas Longhorns last night in a College World Series 'Bracket Final' game. Along the way however, Baylor had a thrilling run. At one time holding a record of only 8-7, the Bears got their house in order and finished with a great 19-8 Big XII record, good enough to tie Nebraska for the Conference regular-season title. The 39-21 record after the Big XII Conference Tournament was not only good enough to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Regionals, but to host as the #1 seed in the Waco Regional, which the Bears won in three straight games. Against Clemson in the Super-Regionals, the Bears lost the first game in the best-of-three matchup, but came back to not only win the next two games but dominate. That earned Baylor’s ticket to the College World Series, for the first time since 1978.

After a 5-1 loss to arch-nemesis Texas and a come-from-behind 4-3 win in extra innings over Oregon State, the Bears found themselves in an elimination game against top-ranked and top-seeded Tulane, who carried 56 wins on their record into the game. I spent Tuesday evening watching the game and following online messages from Baylor fans as the game progressed. This is also why I did not blog yesterday; I spent the day recovering!

Tulane started the game with a foul-out, a single, a strike-out, a throwing error by Baylor that moved the runner to second, then another strikeout. The Bears, home team for this game, started by reaching on a Tulane error, which looked good but didn’t blossom. A fielder’s choice took out the lead runner, followed by a caught stealing and a pop-up. Everyone settled down for a long game. Then Baylor’s version of ‘Titanic Meets Iceberg’ happened.

In the second inning, Madden singled for Tulane through the right side. Bogusevic moved him over to 2nd with a Sac bunt. Then Dini singled, and Tulane got their first run. 1-0 Tulane, and there was an annoying unhappiness from the Baylor fans, not many but they shouldn’t have been grumbling off just one run.

Things quickly got worse. On a 1-1 pitch, Hamilton homered for Tulane, and just like that it was 3-0 Tulane. When Holland grounded out to the Shortstop, it looked like Baylor would recover with limited damage, but Southard reached on a throwing error, all the way to 2nd, and then he stole 3rd. Emaus walked, putting men on the corners and that brought up Manzella, who singled through the middle to move Emaus to 2nd and score Southard, unearned but still 4-0 Tulane.

The online messages were distinctly bitter at this point, in large part giving up. More than a few of the fans left the board and did not return, clearly giving up on a top 5 team and its season, with more than two-thirds of the game still to go.

Did I mention it got worse? Owings reached on another Baylor error, which allowed Manzella and Emaus to score unearned runs. 6-0 Tulane. Madden struck out to end the Tulane 2nd, but they had batted around and put a half-dozen runs on the board, the most Baylor had given up since the regular season. The ESPN announcers, particularly Harold Reynolds, were saying Baylor could not come back. With 7 innings to go, most of the fans and both ESPN announcers have flat-out given up. “Warm up the bus” quipped Reynolds, enjoying an undeserved slap at the Bears. The Bears got walks on both sides of a one-out double by Russo, but couldn’t bring anyone in to score.

The third and fourth innings passed without notable events. One hit and one walk for Baylor during that span, but no solid results. Tulane settled in to protect a large lead, planning on conservative baseball. In the fifth inning, Madden walked after 2 outs, and a Bogusevic double sent him home to score Tulane’s 7th run. The Bears got the third out when Dini grounded out, but could not manage anything in the bottom of the inning. In the sixth inning, Holland singled but otherwise Tulane was quiet. The Bears went 1-2-3 in the sixth, and the announcers duly noted that in 2005, Tulane had never lost when leading after six innings. Reynolds repeatedly suggested that Baylor start playing its bench so that the young players could say they had played in a CWS game. Online, perhaps five fans remained, stubbornly hoping against the odds that the Bears could make a comeback like they did earlier in the year, like the May 13th game when the Bears trailed Texas A&M 8-0 but came back to win 10-9. Sometimes, wishing for the impossible gets granted.

Tulane went 1-2-3 in the seventh inning. At first, the Bears seemed to have nothing new, as Fortenberry struck out. But Witt made it to 1st on a fielding error, and moved to 3rd when Sevigny doubled to left center. A wild pitch allowed Witt to score and Sevigny to move to 3rd, and Baylor was on the board, trailing Tulane by a 7-1 score with 8 outs left to use. Griffin then doubled down the line and Sevigny scored. 7-2. Then Reynolds singled to center field and griffin scored. 7-3. Tulane changed pitchers and Ford popped up. Brees got a single into right field, but when Dillon popped up the inning was over. But with six outs left, the Bears had done some real damage.

Tulane knew it needed to grab the momentum back, but while Hamilton got a single up the middle, it came after the first two batters struck out and popped up. A fielder’s choice ended the Tulane eighth. After Russo flied out, Fortenberry smacked the first pitch he saw up the middle for a single. Witt singled through the left side, and that moved Fortenberry to 2nd. Sevigny struck out swinging for the second out, but in a double steal, Witt stole 2nd and Fortenberry stole 3rd. When Griffin smacked a single through the left side, Witt and Fortenberry scored. Reynolds on ESPN admitted the double steal was a brilliant move; it made the score possible, especially since Reynolds next grounded out to end the inning. But now it was 7-5 with 3 outs left apiece and everybody realized the game was very much in play.

It can be a very tough order, getting your offense moving on short notice. While Tulane knew after the seventh inning that they needed to get going, making it happen was something else entirely. Now with their splendid 7-run lead cut all the way down to 2, they felt real pressure. Southard grounded out to second, Emaus and Manzella popped up, and Tulane knew it would all come down to their pitching and fielding. The stands were loud and excited, and suddenly while both sides wore green, you couldn’t shake the feeling that the Rosenblatt fans were Bearish.

Ford started the Baylor ninth by singling through the right side. That brought the potential tying run to the plate, something which had seemed impossible just a little while earlier. Tulane changed pitchers, bringing in Morgan. The Bears brought in a pinch runner, sending Mandel in for Ford to get extra speed on the base paths. Brees followed with a single through the left side, moving Mandel to 2nd. That put the potential tying run on base, and the potential winning run came to the plate for Baylor in the person of Dillon. The Bears sent Gerdes in to pinch run for Brees, again playing all-in to score the runs they needed in their last chance. Dillon doubled down the right field line, but Tulane played it well enough that only one run scored, as Mandel touched the plate. Dillon was at 2nd, and Gerdes reached 3rd. It was now 7-6, with Baylor players at 2nd and 3rd and nobody out. Tulane sent Gomes in to pitch, replacing Morgan. Gomes walked Russo on purpose, hoping to set up a double play opportunity. It was pretty smart, with Baylor already having the tying run at 3rd and the potential winning run at 2nd. The guy at 1st was just a detail, it seemed. When Fortenberry popped up to the Shortstop, the move looked even smarter. If Gomes could coax the right ground ball out of Witt, a double play could end the game with a Tulane win, and all the Baylor noise wouldn’t change that. When Witt hit a slow bouncing ground ball to the second baseman, it looked like Tulane had wrapped it up.

But while the second baseman tagged the base for the 2nd out, he suddenly realized that Witt was running faster than he thought. If Witt beat the throw to 1st, then Gerdes’ tying run from 3rd would count and tie the game. So, he threw a little harder to get the ball there. The throw was just a smidge high and the first baseman couldn’t catch it, as the umpire signaled Witt safe at 1st base. Gerdes indeed scored from 3rd, but with the ball bouncing away from the first baseman, Dillon came around at full speed touching 3rd base and rounding the course to get home for the winning score before the first baseman could get hold of the errant baseball. Just like that, 8-7 Baylor wins, final.

If you’re not a baseball fan, what I wrote may not seem all that interesting, but it has parallels in Life as well. The announcers at ESPN, usually professional, turned into jerks when it seemed Baylor was out of it. Many of the fans online gave up when the score looked insurmountable, and many of the paying customers at Rosenblatt became quiet and sullen, unaware of the drama yet to unfold. But the Baylor fans and the announcers should have realized that Baylor had indeed earned its place at the College World Series, as well as their national ranking and NCAA seed. That was not coincidence, but the result of attributes that the team called upon all year, discipline and confidence and yes, resolve.

I noted at the start that Baylor followed that incredible win with a loss to Texas, and they are now packed up and done for the season. So, why brag about one win when they lost the chance for the National title? Because baseball teaches lessons if you pay attention, and part of that is to recognize what you have done along the way. The Conference co-title, the Regional and Super Regional triumphs, and a seriously valid national run all still stand. As for that 4-3 loss to Texas, hey it was 3-2 Baylor late in the game. Hats off to Texas for gutting it out; sometimes a game’s results doesn’t mean anybody lost, but rather that one team found an extra strength and determination and resolve to win. Way to go Texas, but way to go Bears as well.

Whether we’re talking baseball or the life it imitates, we should all be looking for that resolve, and how to use it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Guest Workers

Republicans and Democrats alike have chided President Bush for not tightening immigration controls, especially the border with Mexico. More than a couple political theorists suggest that a Democrat could win the White House in 2008 by running “to the right” of the GOP on the issue of Immigration, by pursuing a sterner position on Immigration and Border Security than has been presented up to now. The problem with such thinking is that it misses the nature of alien worker demographics in the United States, and so cannot claim a solution where it misdiagnoses the cause.

To be sure, many aliens enter the United States, legally and otherwise, for the purpose of becoming citizens here, and especially in the hope that their children will be American citizens. But observers miss key clues that show other plans and intentions of these visiting workers. A common practice by Mexican workers in the United States, especially among migrant workers, is to work in the United States and send money home to Mexico and other Latin American countries. More than a few alien workers have openly stated their plan to work in the United States until they have saved a certain amount, then return home where their money brings a relatively comfortable life. Americans themselves do that all the time; my own father once took a contract position that sent him to work in far north Alaska for eight months, because the money for the job was far better than any regular work he could get that allowed him to come home every day.

And it’s not just Latinos that do this. I have met with a large number of Asians who work hard in the United States because they can do so with few restrictions, sending as much as 80% of their earnings home. They do this by living in conditions most Americans would consider appalling, such as gong si fongs where as many as fifteen men may share a single apartment, and do little more than work, eat, and sleep. The modern convenience of wire transfers makes such finances possible.

The United States certainly suffers from this practice; the illegal workers do not pay income taxes, and the habit of using indigent services for medical and social care for families certainly taxes an overburdened system. Also, companies learn to play the game, hiding illegal workers to avoid their share of Social Security taxes and INS audits, and the habit of some to cheat their workers then report them to Immigration is a disgusting practice. But the United States also benefits from this condition, as skilled workers perform their work for far less than nominal wages, allowing regions to profit from a corrupt tradition. Reform is not going to be enough, but closing the borders would simply cause as many problems as it solves.

The proper steps, I believe, are not politically sexy but common-sense. Begin with enforcing the laws on the books. Beef up funding for the Border Patrol and INS, especially with linguists. Punish companies which abuse alien workers, make an example of two or three of them, and put real teeth into laws against smuggling people into the country, especially where their subjects have been coerced into carrying drugs or prostitution. Make it unprofitable. One immediate effect this will have, is to show our neighbors that things have changed on this particular playing field, and that will make the next steps easier to plan and make reality.

Monday, June 20, 2005



Monday is more than a day of the week. It represents picking up some tasks already in a state of momentum from the previous week, and beginning a few new projects and putting out a few new fires. And of course, every so often a bear created by a co-worker gets loose and finds its way into your territory, with the real possibility that some bears are aimed your way by your colleagues.

As my work continues towards the completion of a major project, along with the normal complement of surprises, I began to consider what a workweek in Washington is like. If nothing else, it helps me appreciate my own position.

To begin with, Washington is still abuzz with the ‘Slander The Marines’ act by Senator Durbin last Tuesday evening, followed by an absurd attempt to defend the insults. Naturally, the reverberations continued into Monday, as politicos tried to decide whether to hide from the echoes or deal with them. Being politicians, most tried to ignore the issue.

In that same vein, Congress refused to consider the appointment confirmation of John Bolton to the United Nations. Lunch and drinks were apparently much higher on the agenda.

In a political tribute to “Money For Nothing”, the Congress also waylaid discussion on Social Security Reform or Reform for the Internal Revenue Service, while staffs hurried to manage the most important priority; television interviews and fundraisers for the politicians as the July 4th break approaches.

And of course the best news; the whole day, regardless of its lack of accomplishment, was paid for by the American taxpayer.

Tuesday should be just as fun.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Aluminati, redux

About a year ago, I wrote about the creation of a new class of political operatives; the Aluminati.

Over the years, becoming noticeable after the resignation of Richard Nixon and the subsequent abrogation of the U.S. promise to defend South Vietnam, the Aluminati came into influence, spreading the most irresponsible gossip and anti-American propaganda from the safe comfort of academic and journalistic bastions, free from criticism or the need to prove their case; the allegation was enough for the Left. One wonders what the Boston inflection of J’accuse! might be.

Once established, the Aluminati fed richly off their unchallenged assertions. Claims that the Central Intelligence Agency had deliberatedly created and spread AIDS, while created from whole cloth of Leftist paranoia, nonetheless found currency among inner-city radicals and anti-American agents. The connection between Ronald Reagan and the Iranian government, though it never existed in fact, was firmly set in the minds of those pre-disposed to believe that an American President would put connivance ahead of his sworn oath. Even a Democrat President was not immune; as the end of the century approached, the completely unbalanced not only came to believe that the U.S. government was about to impose martial law and replace the American Constitution with something from the 'X-Files' for no reason or cause at all, but produced hoax tapes and fake documents to sell their story. Small wonder then, that when a Republican won the next election, the Aluminati saw the election as a coup d’tat, and when a terrorist group actually did kill thousands of Americans in a vicious act of malice, the Aluminati blamed America for the attack. Success in the War on Terror must, to their mind, be derided as failure. Authorizing the tools to be used against terrorists, already in use against gangsters and drug cartels, must be denounced as attacks on Civil Liberties. An age of unparalleled hypocrisy and hate began in 2002, not by the government but by those individuals and groups which hated the American ideal and mission.

The Aluminati knew they were losing in 2003. The fall of Baghdad was a crushing blow for thugs in Fallujah and Damascus, and also for professors in Berkeley and Senators known to Martha’s Vineyard. The Aluminati might have been unbalanced, but they were not without resources, and it is no coincidence that Michael Moore began production of his most infamous propaganda piece to counter the clear U.S. victory. It is no coincidence that Moore sided with the terrorists in Iraq; he knew their brothers as his patrons in the film industry.

Moore’s earlier success in selling lies cloaked as a documentary opened the door to a cottage industry for the Aluminati. It worked for Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, and Barbra Streisand, and it allowed Jane Fonda and Sean Penn to commit treason with effective impunity. It wasn’t long before the Democrats, aware of their chronic losses in federal elections, decided to consider implementing Aluminati tactics in their campaigns. It became apparent early in the primary season, that attacks on the Republicans brought in contributions and poll support, even when those attacks were completely irresponsible and included lies about the troops and misquoted history. With the support of the television and print media, the Aluminati believed they had little reason to worry about contradiction or backlash. Fortunately, the 21st Century has produced a social antibody to the Aluminati; the New Media.

Abuses of the truth and public trust by the Old Media had become obvious to most Americans by the end of the 1980s. Even the clear disdain by the New York and Los Angelese elites against regular people and their concerns could not stop the rising popularity of Talk Radio, and the subsequent stardom of Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh proved unanswerable for the Aluminati, in large part because he destroyed their contentions simply by presenting them in context, by presenting the historical facts against their claims, and by allowing regular people to say their piece. While Limbaugh at times is himself bombastic and over-the-top, he still presented a threat the Aluminati could not answer. And Limbaugh was only the first of many voices in radio. By 1999, the Aluminati could no longer present a claim with the assumption that it would be accepted simply because they said it was so.

Many people born before 1980 do not understand the full impact of the personal computer; certainly IBM blundered in not even making a true PC available until after Apple proved the market’s viability for the product. But the evolution of the Internet Community was unseen by almost everyone. The Aluminati believed that by controlling the print and television media, they could prevent any serious threat to their control of the flow of information. The creation of the FOX network proved that was incorrect but worse, the sudden rise in the ability and number of blogs showed a vector dominated not by political factions, but by the users and audience themselves. Where Old Media influence was controlled by money and patronage, the New Media depended on the coin of Credibility of the blogs. By the beginning of 2004, the number of blogs showed a strong rise, and by the end of 2004 the count had positively exploded, with speciality blogs relevant to any consideration. The Aluminati falsely compared the Bush Administration to failed economic periods and disastrous enterprises; blog economists and historians not only countered their claims, but provided compelling proof. The Aluminati lied about military morale and conditions; military on active duty themselves countered those claims with the new class of ‘Milblogs’. The Aluminati lied about the polls; statisticians and analysts ripped open contrived analyses to show flawed demographics, even the outright manipulation of the respondent pool to obtain the desired results. The Aluminati even found themselves unable to manipulate smear campaigns; an attempt to defame the Swift Boat Veterans’ criticism of John Kerry backfired as the Swift Boat Vets provided consistent and corroborated evidence to back up their claims; to this date John Kerry has not backed his contentions. Worse for the tinfoil warriors, a crass attempt by CBS to influence the 2004 Presidential Election by using forged documents to back up false claims about President Bush’s service during the Vietnam conflict backfired when document and typesetting experts, along with military clerks who served during the early 1970s and family of the supposed author countered the claims effectively. The Aluminati’s favorite weapon, to flood the airwaves with rumors and charges against Conservatives, was now worth a great deal less, as average Americans began to challenge unsupported contentions and demand evidence.

The 2004 re-election of George W. Bush, accompanied by gains in the Congress which reinforced the message, has scared the Aluminati enough that a number of Democrats have reverted to the faux Americana that got Bill Clinton elected. But a number of the Aluminati refuse to reject the tactics that brought wealth to Michael Moore and fame to Howard Dean. The easy glory from the Hard Left has become an addiction the Aluminati cannot do without, even in the face of growing evidence that America is growing more conservative, away from liberalism.

The selection of Howard Dean as the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the continuing efforts by CNN and CBS to pursue an all-out policy of false accusation against the Bush Administration, and the resurgent attempts to quell free speech on the internet and in radio all show the determined if last-ditch effort to stop or slow the advance of citizen journalism. For the near future at least, the market for tinfoil accessories remains alive, however futile its mission.