When an Army of One isn’t enough

I can’t vouch for the veracity of this, but I will say that a society that consists of citizens who won’t bother to freely defend it is not worth defending. And a war that citizens will not freely fight is not a war worth waging. I have also heard that some states have begun adding an agreement to submit to the draft in order to get your drivers license, but I have not had the chance to verify that yet either.

I don’t think a draft is necessary in order to continue the occupations, as we could simply pull enough troops out of Europe rotation to cover Iraq and Afghanistan. I suspect that it would indicate that some additional fireworks may be in store in the relatively near future.

$28 million has been added to the 2004 Selective Service System (SSS) budget to prepare for a military draft that could start as early asJune 15, 2005. SSS must report to Bush on March 31, 2005 that the system, which has lain dormant for decades, is ready for activation. Please see the SSS website to view the SSS Annual Performance Plan – Fiscal Year 2004. The Pentagon has quietly begun a public campaign to fill all 10,350 draft board positions and 11,070 appeals board slots nationwide. Though this is an unpopular election year topic, military experts and influential members of Congress are suggesting that if Rumsfeld’s prediction of a “long, hard slog” in Iraq and Afghanistan [and a permanent state of war on terrorism] proves accurate, the U.S. may have no choice but to draft.

UPDATE – the driver’s license thing is genuine, as it is a stated strategy of the SSS. However, I’m not sure if all that much has actually changed, as perusing the document shows that a high percentage of registrants have been collected for the past few years. Of course, that doesn’t mean that a draft isn’t imminent, though it could signify nothing more than that the Federal government is continuing to keep closer and closer tabs on everyone. Big Brother, coming to a high school near you!

Dilettantes need not apply

Gypsy writes: Didn’t like your column prior 9/11 (wasn’t into comps then) but found you extraordinary since. Your true vocation is commentary, not computers! Anyway, just wondering when you’ll get your own radio show. You’re more intelligent than Savage, Scot (Mark Scot, you may have never heard of him) or Rush. I truly believe you are an untapped talent, regardless of you being sanguine or not.

I very much appreciate the compliments which many of you have paid me in this regard, and I certainly am glad that the collective you also consider my writings to be worthy of reading, but I think it’s important to remember that talent in one medium does not necessarily translate into talent in another. While I have no doubt that I could easily dissect Bill O’Reilly, or, with more difficulty, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, in a debate on most subjects, I don’t believe that I have the necessary ambition required to become a broadcast media star. One thing that radio and television personalities on both sides of the spectrum demonstrate rather vividly is a combination of towering ego and an almost desperate need for the approval of others. While I am rather prone to arrogance, I simply don’t believe that anyone’s views, much less mine, are required for the world to continue turning and I have very little need for external approval. Also, what little taste I have had of the limelight has been arguably more distasteful than enjoyable to me.

If writing did not come easily to me, and if I was not aware that there are few people adequately expounding some of the views that I regularly put forth, I don’t know if I would still be writing this column much less maintaining the blog. Fortunately, both require very little effort on my part. Except for in the case of a few damaged psyches, ego boost is also subject to diminishing returns. Most importantly, success in a field as lucrative and psychotically competitive as broadcast radio and television requires a level of interest several orders of magnitude higher than I presently possess.

Gypsy alludes to my technological interests – it is actually rather stronger than you might imagine. I have been at ground zero for three technological shifts, each of which created significant markets in the past ten years, and only my youth, inexperience and lack of follow-through prevented me from exploiting the opportunities presented more thoroughly than I did. Six years ago I identified a fourth shift which I am now developing, and to be honest, the process is far more challenging and of far more interest to me than doing the Tastes Great – Less Filling thing on the airwaves. In the long run, I suspect it will pay better too.

Things are still in the feasibility stage at this point, otherwise I’d be quite happy to talk your ears off about it. Once everything has proved itself to my satisfaction – perhaps more importantly, to Big Chilly’s – and there’s something worth talking about, I’ll be happy to satisfy the curiosity of anyone who happens to be interested. As I said, I conceived the notion a while ago, but computers weren’t fast enough and I hadn’t figured out one vital link in the natural evolution of the market. What I can say is that if this works as I envision it, you’ll know about it because you will almost surely be using it within ten years.

Getting back to the media, the one new medium that intrigues me a little right now is Internet broadcasting. The notion of broadcast without a corporate filter or a need to pander to the lowest common denominator in order to survive is an interesting one. An executive of a large company interested in video blogging has talked to me about my willingness to participate in some new ground being broken there; if anything happens to come of it I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

The courage of Gavin Gay

Gavin Newsom, the lavenderphilic San Francisco mayor, is putting his conservative and Christian counterparts across the country to shame. If he’s willing to stand up for what he believes is right, how can men like George Bush not do the same in being willing to exert the powers of their office to the utmost in order to end evils like abortion and the income tax charade?

No wonder our country is in such decline, when it is only those who believe in evil who show the courage of their convictions. Sure, there’s probably a cynical element – after only a few months in office, Gavin Gay now has national stature and the assurance of love from the national media, a brilliant political move – but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the man is making a concrete gesture that is having a genuine impact on the national debate.

Success and Passion

From the New York Post: Industry insiders said they were stunned by the rapidly increasing advance sales for the film, which opens next week on Ash Wednesday. “It is the number two selling film in our company’s history [in terms of advance sales], right behind ‘Lord of the Rings’ [The Return of the King] and momentum is actually growing,” said Art Levitt, CEO of Fandango Inc., which sells tickets over the phone and on the Internet. “It’s a phenomenon. None of us expected it.”

I used to wonder why the success of things like Left Behind and Passion were so startling to industry insiders. Then, after I became a Christian and was writing a novel for a major New York publisher, I found out. They had to go outside the company just to find a religious Jew to edit the book – to their credit, they wanted someone who believed in something to oversee the project – and, of course, they didn’t actually know any Christians inside or outside the company. Apparently, anecdotal experience trumps demographics. I have no doubt the same thing is true for Hollywood.