When one is a member of an organization, he or she soon realizes that seldom does everything done to achieve that organization’s goals go according to plan. Sometime this is the result of outside forces–things that members of the organization have no control over. Many other mishaps are the result of mistakes made by members of the organization. In all but the rarest of organizations mistakes are a fact of life–phone calls someone forgot to return, incorrect items shipped, data entered incorrectly, etc.

Sometimes these mistakes create minor nuisances, but sometimes the effects of certain mistakes can put into jeopardy the ability to achieve the organizations goals. These are the moments when members of the organization that have to deal directly with cleaning up the mess must put forth exceptional effort to overcome it. This individual will, however, most likely have to rely on the help of other members of the organization to achieve this. Here is where those members have a chance to shine.

I call those who shine given these opportunities MVPs. The principles of teamwork apply perfectly. These MVPs earn this moniker by reacting calmly in crisis, by developing creative solutions, by cutting through red tape, by sacrificing their time.

In a sea of mediocrity and underachievment, those who shine deserve recognition, most of all from those who benefit from their dedication and ability. Kudos to the MVPs that have helped me out of jams.

A Few Thoughts on Jack Kemp

I first became acquainted with Jack Kemp prior to the Presidential election of 1996. I was about 15, and this was the first election that I paid close attention to. When Kemp was announced as Bob Dole’s running mate, I vividly remember the chants of “Dole-Kemp, Dole-Kemp!” at the GOP convention as I watched on TV. At my young age I was impressed by this former NFL champion-turned-politician who I hoped would energize Bob Dole’s campaign and perhaps give us a chance to boot Slick Willie out of the White House. Alas, it was not to be. But I remember the first campaign signs I ever put up in our yard said Dole-Kemp on them. And I’ve been a fan of Kemp’s ever since, even if in those days I didn’t know anything about his politics other than that he was a Republican. Turns out he was a good conservative. R.I.P. Jack Kemp.

President Obama has announced a plan cut the deduction percentage that can be taken on one’s tax return for charitable contributions. While the administration claims that it will not affect behavior of taxpayers who give, we know better. This move will negatively impact charities. Why go after charities under the guise of soaking the rich by cutting the amount of deductions available to them? Perhaps to marginalise charities and use the proceeds to fund big government programs that will pick up the slack (in theory of course)?

Blago Defies Convention!!!

In a throwback to the days of blatantly corrupt politics, Blagojevich has deftly outmaneuvered his opponents by naming someone to fill out the remainder of Obama’s now-vacant Senate seat. The insanity of it all boggles the mind. Nevermind that Blago is on the cusp of impeachment for allegedly selling that vacant seat. Nevermind that anyone he chose would be tainted by association with Blago. And nevermind that everyone with anything to say about it had promised to block any attempt by Blago to fill the seat.

Blago’s appointment would have been just madness had he simply chosen a white guy dumb enough to accept the appointment. However, in a stroke of genius Blago played the race card with all the understatedness of a Japanese dekotora by selected an well-respected Black statesman, who would replace Obama as the Senate’s only Black. So now US Senate Dems are in a tough spot. Will Harry Reid follow through with his promise to use some kind of archaic procedure to bar Blago’s appointment. As Bobby Rush so diplomatically put it, do 99 white senators want to have their names on a plan to keep Blago’s appointee Burris out? Brilliant, brash, and at the end of the day simply pathetic, that Blago.

Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)

Why? Because it will soon be here. I beg your forgiveness for the tacky (yet pertinent) Fleetwood Mac reference.

In the wake of Obama’s triumphant elevation to the Presidency last Tuesday at the hands of millions of starry-eyed voters, many of my conservative friends determined to head for the hills. “I’m going into hibernation for a few weeks,” a Senate staffer told me, “You may not hear from me for awhile.”

This is precisely the wrong approach for activist conservatives. For those of us that spent the last few months contributing in various ways to the effort to stem the tide of Obamamania, there is no rest-only a slight change in focus. Faced with a federal government dominated by a socialist-leaning Democratic party on a power trip, it will be crucial for us to continue the fight. Starting now, it will be not about individual candidates but about issues, something that got little attention during the recent campaign. Issues took a back seat as the media and pundits focused largely on the shallow but glitzy rhetoric of the candidates, especially that from Barack Obama. Problem is, while Obama’s “Change” and “Hope” rhetoric is rather nebulous when it comes to specifics, the ideas that gave rise to rhetoric are products of the influence of 1960s-vintage New Left thought; and these ideas will be the guiding light for Obama as he at determines how to bring “Change” to fruition as policy.

To combat this, we as conservatives must become a very vocal minority. But first, we must become educated. In order to spread the word, we must be able to articulate clearly why Obama and Pelosi and Reid are wrong. We have to be literate in the language of conservatism. This does not mean mastery of the GOP talking points of recent years. It does not mean strident partisanship. It does not mean tasteless jokes about watermelon patches at the White House. What it means is understanding why we as conservatives believe what we believe about the government’s role. It means recognizing that the GOP has in recent years been guilty of straying from the brand of limited-government conservatism most us signed up for. Once we get back to the basics of the conservatism of Reagan and Goldwater, we must be clear in communicating our opinions to our elected representatives in Washington, be they Republicans or Democrats. We must also talk to friends and neighbors and get them on board. We must win the battle on the ground for all those minds that think they are Democrats until a conservative friend explains to the them how our redistributive tax code works.

The groundwork must be laid for picking up seats in Congress in 2010-a mere two years from now. We cannot sit by idly and hope that the Democrats fall on their face and thereby hand seats on Capitol Hill back to us. We must point out there faults and show how conservatism would remedy them. We must do this actively and constantly.

Now is not the time to let up or give up. Now more than ever we must be on our game. If we are, then the era of Democratic domination will be short-lived.

How Palin Changes the Race

Sarah Palin. There has been little talk of anything else for the past week. If only to mute the buzz of the Obama campaign, which has clearly dominated the airwaves in the previous months, she has been a huge success. Last Friday morning, the talk was supposed to be of Barack Obama’s landmark acceptance speech the night before at Invesco Field in Denver. Alas, only the print media had that opportunity. Not long after the first editions were hitting the stands, the live media began covering a leak that Palin might be McCain’s surprise VP pick. From that point forward, Palin has been the center of media focus; and last night’s rocking acceptance speech, which energized the party faithful in a way McCain himself has failed to do since winning the primaries, only served to reinvigorate the frenzy over this hertofore unknown governor from Alaska.

The concurrence to be found among the punditry as they struggle to make sense of this all is only among the truly partisan. The widespread charges of inexperience and hypocrisy are offset by the irrepressible raving of the Right. And for these, nothing the Libs or media cynics say will dampen their enthusiasm. In fact, it will probably only serve to stoke that enthusiasm. This is probably the most important effect of the Palin choice, and most advantageous for McCain. This alone might be enough to make the choice of Palin a worthwhile gamble for McCain; but there’s more.

John McCain has struggled for months to win the affections of the GOP faithful. In that time, as I have wandered through the circles of staunch GOP activists and fundraisers, a consistent message stood out until last night–lukewarm enthusiasm bordering on apathy in some extreme cases. As McCain endeavored to counter this, he made some concessions to the Right that hurt his Maverick credentials. And in this he began to lose what made McCain the Maverick unique, and the hero of those who also praise the issue-before-party approach of Joe Lieberman.

Now, Palin has taken the pressure off McCain. In a few short days the GOP faithful have been brought back to a circa-2004 level of excitement. This will allow John to return to what he’s best at-mildy annoying his own party and winning the hearts of independents. Now John can be John. Palin has made that possible. In the hearts of Republicans, it seems that now Palin has also made victory possible. And in the meantime, a GOP star has been born.

Obama Finally Goes in O'Reilly

Its on now. Bill is going right after national security.

When it comes to Iran, Obama says he will not take the military option off the table. Says he can’t divulge detailed plans for a response to Iran. Diplomatic options and sanctions have not been exhausted. “Maybe” that will work says Bill.

Bill says Obama was right–Iraq was a mistake–but that Obama needs to admit the surge worked. Obama responds that the surge succeeded. But he will not admit he was wrong because we’re still wasting money over there. Bill challenges Obama to get the Iraqis to pay us back with oil money.

Then Bill call out Obama for saying McCain can’t find Bin Ladin. “You won’t invade Pakistan,” Bill says. Obama wiggles out, says time to put more pressure on Pakistan.

And like that, its over. Unlike his two-piece interview with Hillary, this one will be split up over 4 nights!