Monday, April 14, 2008

Firebrands or Loudmouths?

A firebrand is an ember that is picked up in the windstorm that has been caused by a wildfire. Sometimes the firebrand gets cast far ahead of the fire, and starts a new wildfire that can give the old fire new direction. People can be like that, and that is why they become known as firebrands, they cast their ideas before them and change the direction of people’s thoughts. I like to analyze the things that firebrands say, and check them for the positive contents. As you know a firebrand can also be destructive.

How we process what other people say determines who we are. I have a difficult time separating the good from the evil person, so I look for the good in everyone. There is and old saying that;
“There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves all of us, to find fault in the rest of us”.

So I’ve selected a few well known people that I found to be interesting, and pointed out a few of their good deeds. If you have your personal hero’s, add them to the list. Try to avoid pointing out any negative things, and only point out the good. If you find that difficult to do, it say’s something about you. Which may not be bad, but it should be thought provoking on your part.

The print in italics has been shamelessly swiped from the Internet.

Rush Limbaugh:
I’ll bet you thought that I would have a hard time finding something good about Ol’ Rush didn’t you? These are just a few of his good deeds.
Leukemia and lymphoma telethon
Limbaugh holds an annual fundraising telethon called the "EIB Cure-a-Thon" for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In 2006 the EIB Cure-a-Thon conducted its 16th annual telethon, raising $1.7 million; totaling over $15 million since the first cure-a-thon. According to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society annual reports, Limbaugh personally contributed between $100,000 and $499,999 from 2000 - 2005, and Limbaugh claims to have contributed around $250,000 in 2003, 2004 and 2005. NewsMax reported Limbaugh donated $250,000 in 2006. Limbaugh donated $320,000 during the 2007 Cure-a-Thon which reportedly raised $3 million.

Rush 24/7 Adopt-A-Soldier Program
Limbaugh's website maintains a page where U.S. troops can register for a free 24/7 membership through memberships purchased by donors who buy a subscription (at a reduced price) as a gift.

Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation
Limbaugh conducts an annual drive to help the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation collect contributions to provide scholarships for children of Marines and law enforcement officers/agents who have died in the line of duty.

Charity golf tournaments
Rush attends charity golf tournaments from time to time for various causes.

Shawn Hannity:
Freedom Concerts
Hannity has hosted country music-themed Freedom Concerts since 2003, billed to help benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, a charity created by Oliver North to provide college scholarships to children with a parent severely disabled or killed in military action. Appearing artists have included Sara Evans, Martina McBride, Lee Greenwood, LeAnn Rimes, Montgomery Gentry, Darryl Worley, Charlie Daniels, Larry the Cable Guy, and Michael W. Smith.
The Freedom Concerts were held annually in the Northern Star Arena at the Six Flags Great Adventure Amusement Park in Jackson, New Jersey through 2006. In 2007, the annual concert was expanded to a summer series held at locations across the United States, culminating with the September 11 event at Great Adventure marking the sixth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.[34]
Speakers at the Sept 11, 2007 concert included Oliver North, Newt Gingrich, Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani and several conservative talk show hosts from WABC Radio.

Hannity's internet dating service, called "Hannidate," matches conservative or Republican-leaning singles, straight and gay. Begun in 2005, it is described as a "place where people of like conservative minds can come together to meet."

Alan Colmes;
Alan Colmes has what I like to refer to as “Character”. Although some would disagree with him, he knows who he is.
While Colmes describes himself as a liberal and his Fox News biography describes him as "a hard-hitting liberal," he has sometimes been referred to disparagingly as a "Democrat In Name Only" or a "Fox News liberal". Al Franken printed Colmes' name in smaller font than the other text in his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. However, Colmes has also drawn praise from progressive political bloggers for his questioning of conservative guests.
Bob Garfield, interviewing Colmes for On the Media, asked him if he were "the human straw man" and a "foil" rather than an equal of Hannity. Colmes replied that if the conservative members of the audience saw him that way, that was "their problem," and said "It's more fun for me to be in a situation like this [where much of the audience disagrees with him] than to preach to the choir."

Ann Coulter:
She looks good as an accessory to a white Corvette!

Al Franken:
Although it was difficult to find anything that Al Franken stood for, because if you look at his career he has stood for very little, most everything that he say’s or does is based on being critical of things that other people stand for, I think that it is important for him to be included as a firebrand for his impact on making people think. But, there was this positive tidbit. “Franken favors transitioning to a universal health care system, with the proviso that every child in America should receive health care coverage immediately. He believes that private pensions and Social Security should be protected. He wants to cut tax breaks for oil companies, increase money available for college students and cut interest rates on student loans”

Jim Hightower;
The "Doug Jones Average," a concept created by Jim Hightower, is the proposal that in order to check the true health of the American economy, it is less useful to look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average than it is to check up on how Doug Jones (i.e., the American working class and below) down the street is doing. If Doug Jones is on welfare, cannot feed his family, and is three weeks behind on his bills the Doug Jones average is "down." If Doug just got a raise, can pay his bills, and Doug and his family are looking into owning a nice but not too expensive house, the Doug Jones average is "up."

Bill O’Riley;
After the September 11 terrorist attacks, O'Reilly devoted substantial time on his television show and wrote pieces on the subject of how the United Way of America and American Red Cross failed to deliver millions of dollars in donated money, raised by the organizations in the name of the disaster, to the families of those killed in the attacks. O'Reilly claimed that the organizations misrepresented their intentions for the money being raised by not distributing all of the 9/11 relief fund to the victims. Congressional hearings were called on the matter and an investigation by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer took place. Bernadette Healey, the president of the Red Cross, resigned shortly thereafter. In sworn testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee in November 2001, Congressman J.D. Hayworth asserted that media pressure, most notably from O'Reilly, helped cause the Red Cross to increase payments to affected people and helped cause other charities to participate in an oversight database established by Spitzer.


kaivalya said...

As insightful as ever!
Keep up the good work Ernie.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks, This might have to soak a while, it's getting to be springtime, and I'm in a business that has to hmake hay while the sunshines.

Anonymous said...

Alright, I'll take the bait.
Ann would look great in a cardboard box but is welcome to ride in my Vette any day. I have nothing but good things to say about her so I guess that makes me a good person.
On another note here, I enjoy reading about the vacations and yard work but I must have missed something in life because if I was going to do yard work it would have to be at 2:00 am, before I go to work. The only reason it is still daylight when I get off work is because of daylight savings time and I'm too dang tired to do anything. And the last vacation I had was in '83 when I spent 9 days in the Yolla Bollies. I should have married a smart lady like the rest.


Robin Shelley said...

Well, Jim, maybe you could take up stalking Ann Coulter instead. You could do that at any time of the day or night.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Hi Jim, welcome back.

Marrying a smart women is a double edged sword. In my case, I have to put up with a woman that can outsmart me at any time. But, it least she takes me on the incentive trips that she wins. Plus, it was tough to find a smart woman that is still dumb enough to marry me. The trick is to just be real quiet, and just keep a “knowing” expression on your face. Sometimes it fools them.

Robin, Jim should do all right stalking Ann Coulter. He’s been known to sneak up on a bear… It’s about the same thing. And he’d end up looking about the same as a guy that was attacked by a bear when she got through with him.

Kym said...

If we are going to say nice things about Rush Limbaugh, I could say nice things too about Adolf Hitler. The man worked himself up from nothing to a ruler of a major power and he loved dogs. See how easy it is to say nice things. I'll bet I can even say nice things about George Bush.

I got it.

I like him more than Rush Limbaugh. 8)

Ernie Branscomb said...

Kym, I should have known that you would take the bait. The title, “Firebrands or Loudmouths” was a clue for you. I was hoping that someone would object to my leaving out the downside of some of these people. Did you notice that I included people from all sides of the spectrum? Conservatives can’t stand Jim Hightower, and liberals can’t stand Ann Coulter, as was noted in another post below.

Your analogy with Hitler and Bush was good “food for thought”. The problem that I have with most people is that they can’t discuss things objectively without thinking that the other person espouses the evil person’s ideas. So keep an open mind.

In many respects Saddam Husain was much more evil than Adolf Hitler. It would be almost impossible to find anything “nice” about Saddam. He was the apex of evil. He would have done things far worse than Hitler if he had been allowed to move into a position of power similar to the position that Hitler enjoyed. Saddam was bent on controlling the worlds oil supply. Had he accomplished that, he would have controlled the worlds economy. Hold that spooky thought for awhile.

As you read history now, there is an almost universal outcry of “why didn’t the rest of the world stop Hitler before he started exterminating people“. America was the great “hero” in the second world war.

Now, George Bush and America has put an end to possibly one of the most evil dictatorships that has ever existed, and we are hated around the world.

I’m not asking people to agree or disagree with me, I just want people to think, openly and objectively. Consider the good and the evil of a person, because we are all “good and evil”.

Where do we get the idea that Bush and America is wrong, are we really? Are these ideas subtly planted in our heads by people smarter than us? Are what we think really our own thoughts, or are we parrots, following the popular trend? To know the answer you would have to be objective and thoughtful.

Robin Shelley said...

I'm gonna leave the serious stuff to you smart women & men. I just wanna comment about Jimmy.
You're right. I think Ann Coulter would rip him up. Tear him to shreds! Oh, it would be a bloody mess! And Jimmy would be heartbroken. Absolutely devastated. Almost makes me cry just imagining it. I guess all that, coupled with his white Corvette,though, would make him a true patriot - you know, Red, White, & Blue.

kaivalya said...

I'll go out on a limb about George W Bush, bare with me here...

I think he is one of the best presidents we've had in a long long time. A vast majority of the recent presidents have been war-makers and liars - George W Bush has been one of the most blatant of them. I admire his transparency, you see him for what he is, unlike the previous presidents whom were better sneaks.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I agree Kaivalya, He's a quick read. History will tell us if he was right or wrong.

Thousands of people were slaughtered when we pulled out of Vietnam. I wonder if people know that will also happen when, or if, we pull out of Iraq. Are the people who want our troops “out" prepared to view the consequence of a rapid withdrawal?

John E. Carey said:
America’s departure from Vietnam meant death, torture and imprisonment for millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians...
...Every time I hear someone like Barack Obama talk about an immediate removal of American troops from Iraq, I say to myself: “you will condemn unknown millions to death and torture.”

If we can say "we should just pull out anyway, and blame it all on George Bush“, then I guess we should get on with it!

Peace is nice, if we can live with the consequences.

gramps said...

You should have seen the firebrands (fireworks too) at the Planning Department roadshow in Redway last nite. That firebrand Roger Rodoni didn't say a single word and his wife looked like she did not care for the company.
If George W. had only listened to his daddy, we would not be in this mess. We caught ourselves a Tar Baby and we're going to have a hell of a time letting go. Osama says he will bankrupt us just like he did the Soviets in Afghanistan. I'm beginning to wonder...

Kym said...

Ernie, I'm stuck on the Iraq question. I fought going into Iraq so hard I almost alienated everyone around me. But now that we're there, I'm not sure the answer is to just leave. I worry about the analogy to leaving Vietnam, too. (And, like a mom, I worry about making a mess then leaving without cleaning up.)

My off the cuff solution would be to withdraw but replace our troops with UN peacekeepers preferably from Arabic countries so that the outcry would be less. We would, of course, have to throw a bunch of money at the problem--even more than now probably. But, can we get Arabic countries to agree with this?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Kym, you are right about the U.N. peacekeepers of course, but I have no faith in the U.N.

I really feel that it will be their "easy way out" to say America caused this problem and do nothing. In fact, I would almost guaranty it.

Life is a bitch, and it is just not fair. I’m glad that I don’t have to be the “one” to decide.