Thought You'd Never Ask

Just mouthing off -- because I can.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Volunteering for the November elections

"Ranting is okay. But what are we going to, concretely, DO?"

As a proud tea partier, there is no lack of ways or places I can volunteer in the next few weeks before the November 2010 mid-term elections. In fact, it is a matter of not having enough time to do all I want to do (let alone blog about it). Fortunately there are a lot of ordinary conservatives of all ages, just like me, who are stepping forward to put their principles into action, fighting AGAINST outright Marxism and creeping nanny-state socialism and fighting FOR smaller government, lower taxes, and more liberty for the American people. We the ordinary people of America will turn back the tide this November.

See the websites of Americans For Prosperity, for Freedom Works, and/or for the Tea Party Patriots for ways you can network and volunteer with your neighbors, including door-to-door visits, poll-watching, and personal calls--the "boots on the ground" campaign in the next few weeks.

There are many conservative challengers running for office who could really use a few bucks. (Here are a few more.) Help them out. I've been sending small donations nationwide for the first time in my life--the stakes warrant it. Our family's affected--and invested.

If you are so inclined (or skilled) you can also make some videos.

Next election, you can even consider running for local precinct committeeman.

There is much to be done, and much that can be done, and fortunately, no one of us has to do it all because, for the first time in history, so much of us are doing so much.

UPDATE: Get off the couch!

UPDATE: Be the wave!

UPDATE: Voter fraud watch: you can help. It's a serious problem perpetrated nationwide by Democrats.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Why I blog anonymously

I blog under a pseudonym because of what happened to law professor Todd Henderson, who didn't. There are indeed vile people out there.

A commenter sums up the result:

Typical of "progressives" -- attack people personally rather than debate their positions honestly and logically. Threaten their jobs and families. Give them false labels like "racist."

I've experienced similar personal attacks and threats to the safety of my family, simply for my stating personal positions on government and taxes, and I'm a nobody.

The Left is deranged. Truth can withstand debate, but their "transforming of America" requires anger, threats, and vicious attacks. If their side has great solutions, put them out there for open debate rather than shut down those who want to discuss issue.

Typical left-wing kneejerk reaction, straight out of the Alynski playbook: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, polarize it."

I'm a nobody too. But I didn't want my family attacked, or have to hire a bodyguard. I didn't want us to have to enter the witness protection program, just because I expressed my opinion, speech protected by my country's Constitution.

Things like this make me admire all the more the brave people who shoulder the grief and speak out, like Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Mark Steyn.

At the same time, I try not to take low-class advantage of my online anonymity and do or say anything online anonymously that I wouldn't do or say or stand behind as myself in "real life." Except that I am a much better writer than I am a speaker, so I tend to sound a little more articulate here than I do in "real life."

Via Instapundit.

UPDATE: Other brave Americans I venerate for their heroism: Andrew Breitbart, Pam Geller, and Robert Spencer. These people are taking the heat for expressing their opinions so all of the rest of us don't have to be on the front lines (yet) as they are.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Here's a new list of the Best Books on American Conservativism (via Betsy's Page). How many have you read? I've read The Road to Serfdom, Free to Choose, Atlas Shrugged, and Capitalism and Freedom. I can recommend them all, and do, and give away copies. I think I also read Rabbit Redux in college, but it didn't impress me then. I want to read Witness, and Democracy in America and the Federalist Papers, both of which I have started in the past but not finished. Sometimes you have to grow up first to appreciate a good book. I think I also want to read I Am Charlotte Simmons, as I am a huge Tom Wolfe fan, but I am afraid it will make me cringe. Personally I would add more Ayn Rand and some Thomas Sowell to this list--can't imagine why he's not on there, especially for A Conflict of Visions.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

A 9/11 Tribute to Shreyas Ranganath

Srinivasa Shreyas Ranganath was beloved and admired by people who knew him on two continents.

He was born January 4, 1975 in the southern Indian town of Bhadravati, and grew up in the big city of Bangalore. “Shreyu” was remembered by family and friends as a sharply intelligent, fun-loving boy, with a mischievous grin, an outstanding singing voice, and a twinkle in his eye. He was the rallying central figure in the informal but intense cricket matches and hide-and-seek games that he played so passionately with neighborhood friends on warm summer nights in the streets or in the backyard of his family’s home. Even as a youngster “Shreyu” seemed to have more than a hint of the hero and the role-model about him—many of his friends sensed it, and no one looked up to him and admired him more than did his own younger brother, who knew him best.

As Shreyas grew older and attended middle school and high school with his friends, he was transformed into a serious and diligent student devoted to his education--not afraid of hard work and very willing to immerse himself in books. Yet along with his mental talents, he also had a generous spirit. At 16, while a member of the National Cadet Corp and attending a camp event, he pretended to be 18 years old so that he might, along with the adults there, donate blood to the wounded soldiers in the Indian Army. It was evident to many who knew him that Shreyas was “a great soul.”

He studied at the Dayanand Sagar College of Engineering in Bangalore, and lived in the Basavangudi area of the city. But his interest in seeing the world and “meeting people of different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs” brought him to the United States, where he enrolled in the master’s degree program in Electrical Engineering at the University of Utah. Completing only one semester (Fall 1999), he decided to return to India—either because of health problems, as one source said, or because he found the winters in Utah too cold. Friends and colleagues who knew him in Utah remember him as soft-spoken, “the sweetest person I’ve ever known,” and “a very sincere student, very quiet, not into parties.” He did, however, like eating the sandwiches at the local Subway deli.

Back in his hometown of Bangalore, Shreyas developed a new passion. Once the center of British colonial rule in South India, Bangalore is now the country’s third-largest city with a population of over 6 million, and is known as India’s “Silicon Valley,” the center of high-tech innovations. There Shreyas became an expert professional in software design. “For him, it became an addiction,” said one friend. “He had a great love for software.”

He landed a job at Wipro Technologies, a global software services company, and “the largest independent R&D services provider in the world.” He worked long 16- and 18-hour days as a code-cruncher, but loved the work. And he still found time to help others, including bright young kids from his neighborhood who needed financial help to stay in school.

At the age of 26 he, along with three other colleagues from Wipro-Bangalore, was sent abroad to work as a software consultant on a three-month project for the firm of Marsh & McLennan Companies, a global professional services firm which in 2001 had 57,000 employees and an annual revenue of $10 billion. Once again Shreyas found himself able to visit the United States, enjoying his work while seeing new places and meeting new people (with his Sony Walkman as his “constant companion,” usually playing his favorite songs by the Irish rock band U2). He was assigned to work specifically for Marsh Inc., an insurance brokerage subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, located on the 97th floor of the World Trade Center’s Tower One in Manhattan.

A longtime friend and fellow employee of Wipro offered to share his Hackensack, New Jersey home with Shreyas and one of the other three consultants on the same assignment, Shashi Kiran L. Kadaba, a young man who was engaged to be married the following year. These three men spent many congenial evenings together, cooking elaborate meals of gourmet Indian food, or watching Hindi movies. Shreyas “appreciated Hollywood movies,” said the friend, “but he had a great taste for Indian movies.” On the evening of September 10, 2001 the three consumed “a wonderful dinner” in honor of the birthday of the Hindu god Krishna.

The following morning, a clear and beautiful Tuesday, Shreyas Ranganath and his three fellow colleagues from Wipro in Bangalore (Hemanth Kamar Putter, Deepika Kumar, and Shashi Kiran Kadaba) reported for work as usual. When they spoke by telephone with their immediate superior in Bangalore, “the four sounded cheerful, at the beginning of yet another busy day in New York.” About an hour later they were murdered along with 291 other employees and associates of the Marsh & McLennan Companies who worked on floors 93 to 100 of the North Tower. Forty-six other Wipro employees present in New York City that day were spared.

Shreyas Ranganath touched the hearts of many people in his short life. He had a certain quiet charm, a twinkle of fun, and an easy, sweet nature that many would later remark upon. His hard-working diligence, his excellence in his chosen field, and most of all, his generous spirit were his gift and inspiration left to the world. Wipro named a hall in Bangalore in his honor; the Marsh & McLennan monument and website bear his name. But more permanent than stone are the memories of small kindnesses and the not-so-small contributions he left and still leaves in the lives of the people he personally touched as he passed.

Shreyas Ranganath is not forgotten.

I have reposted this tribute (first run on September 11th, 2006 as one of the 2,996 stories told by The 2,996 Project). I did not know Shreyas Ranganath but after having written his story, I am sorry I didn't. I will not forget him.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Good quotes

Click on the links to read them all:


"The real lesson of the bedbug epidemic is this: Once, the government’s primary role was protecting us from things like that. Now its primary role is stopping us from fixing them."

Power Line:

"In the end, our way of life is simply incompatible with the precepts of radical Islam. There is no way to reconcile the two. Rather than start down the road of self-censorship, our government officials, including the military, should stand up for American freedoms."

Russell Sobel, via

"Our analysis suggests not that gangs cause violence, but that violence causes gangs. In other words, gangs form in response to government's failure to protect youths against violence. . . . These findings are also consistent with the literature on mafia activities, which shows that the mafia tends to emerge when state policing power is weak or there is a lack of strong governmental enforcement of rights. They are also consistent with evidence from the "Wild West" days of the United States and from pirate activities at sea."

Does Keynesianism ever work? Answering Milton Friedman via

"The fascinating thing to me is that the widespread faith in the potency of fiscal policy…rests on no evidence whatsoever. It’s based on pure assumption. It’s based on a priori reasoning."


". . . suddenly, with the Ground Zero Mosque, Islam’s spokesmen are making a big push to soften sharia law in the public eye. My problem is that I don’t see them making this push as to their fellow Muslims, which would be a genuine reformation, and high time too. Instead, I see them making this push to ill-informed Westerners, which strikes me as snake oil salesman-ship, preparatory to a deadly snake bite."

Charles Krauthammer at Gateway Pundit:

"I like the way the president announces we hear this is going to be a six-year plan. Even Lenin had the modesty to stop at five."