Saturday, December 24, 2005

Frequently Asked, Finally Answered

I thought it was about time for me to post some of my most frequently asked questions from readers. And so, on this night right before Santa can make his grand arrival, that's exactly what I'm doing. I'll probably link to this post in the sidebar for reference. This is all stuff that people have asked me in the past; should you want to ask me something else, contact me at I always check my letters and comments, and I read every last one of them.

So what are you waiting for? On to the questions:

What do you care about?

God, the truth, and the balanced pursuit of both. I never mix religion and politics unless I have to (it gets ugly), so I try to stick to a more official sense of truth when I blog. That means I aim to get to the heart of an issue, no matter how ugly the facts become.

What do you like about politics?

I love the intrigue of politics, and I love talking about political issues because it keeps the mind open and thinking. But contrary to popular belief, I hate politics. They should be viewed as a means to an end; they are a necessary evil that we must take part in to reach the best decision possible. Too many people on the left, the right, and in between view politics strictly as the end. This turns what should be a purposeful debate into the mindless taking of sides, much like kids fighting on a playground. If you're looking for a true partisan, find another blog. Crosstalk (two opponents attempting to talk over each other, as with political TV shows - Ed.) has no place here.

What exactly do you consider yourself politically?

A right-of-center Republican with a fierce independent streak.

Who are you?

Now, that would be too easy...All I can tell you is that I'm a journalism major at West Virginia University.

Why do you blog anonymously?

There's a few reasons, but the best that I can give is that I want my writing to stand separate from any reputation I might have outside of the blog. I don't want first-time readers who might know me from before to base their expectations on anything but my writing. I think not signing my real name makes you think a little more about what I talk about. This is also how I express the more logical side of my personality; if you were to talk to me in casual conversation, I would probably be the last person you would suspect to be the Unknown Blogger. I don't blog because I have nothing better to do; I blog because I literally have to express this part of myself.

And before you ask, I don't hide my identity because I'm scared of negative feedback. Trust me, when someone doesn't know that the person they're talking about is sitting right next to them, they tend to be brutally honest!

Will you ever reveal yourself?

I probably will eventually, but it would be quite a while from now. However, in the interest of my personal ethics, I will reveal myself immediately if I assume a major official position.

Why didn't you blog about (insert event here)?

I tend not to blog about major political events while they're happening because it's so hard to get unfiltered information about them. Case in point: The Valerie Plame scandal, which has been like Kryptonite to me. The bottom line is that I should not be the only news source you have anyway. Instead, I should be where you look for the news you may have missed. I try to blog about what isn't going by on the ticker tape.

Also, I get a lot of readers who ask why I don't touch on certain issues. A good example involves property rights laws, a very important discussion which unfortunately puts me to sleep. Just because I should care about something doesn't mean I will enough to blog about it. I look at every tip and every piece of information that gets sent to me, however, so keep sending feedback so I can see what matters to you. I often get persuaded to write about a topic if enough people are talking about it.

Why don't you blog more consistently?

Believe it or not, I do my best. I'm a very busy college student who can't afford to sit at my keyboard all day. I also love a little something called "fresh air," which is probably why I do my best blogging in the chilly winter months.

In the last months leading up to this post (September to December 2005), I had major obligations to attend to both as a writer and as a person. I have learned the best ways to handle them, and they should be a non-factor from this point on. If you want to check whether I've made a new post recently, I strongly suggest you subscribe to my RSS feed. If you use Firefox as your browser, just add me as a Live Bookmark. You should easily be able to tell when I've updated that way. I prefer to blog at least every other day, so check back often!

Will you link to my blog?

Sure. Just ask me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Scourge Of Braxton

Somebody get ahold of Ry Rivard (DA columnist and semi-inactive blogger), because I've got some news for him: His home in Braxton County, WV, might be getting an unexpected visitor.

Loren Coleman of Cryptomundo has posted a photograph of a creature that might just rival Point Pleasant's Mothman. Captured by a motion-activated wildlife camera about a week ago near a home in Braxton, the "Braxton Beast" appears to be an animal of some sort in the Bigfoot mold. What makes this bizarre is that two other similar sightings happened previously; one in 1952, the other in 1960.

Before you ask, no, I don't give a lot of credit to Bigfoot and Loch Ness sightings. Leave the overblown conspiracy theories to the liberals, right? But my journalistic curiosity demands that I at least take a look. The link above has a picture (I think it's just a leaf, but see for yourself) as well as a ton of comments from readers discussing the whole thing. Check it out.

By the way, who knew that there were blogs dedicated to this kind of thing? You learn something new every day.

(Hat tip:

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Freedom Of Choice

New drug acts as marijuana in the brain (UPI)

Now this is interesting stuff. According to a study at McGill University in Canada, a new drug called URB597 has an impressive anti-depressant effect. It works by raising the brain's levels of endocannabinoids. Translation: It's kind of like smoking up.

Lead investigator Dr. Gabriella Gotti was very much encouraged by the results.
The results were similar to the effect we might expect from the use of commonly prescribed antidepressants, which are effective on only around 30 percent of the population....Our discovery strengthens the case for URB597 as a safer, non-addictive, non-psychotropic alternative to cannabis for the treatment of pain and depression.

If she is implying that this is more effective than traditional anti-depressants, then this is big news for sure. What makes it even bigger news is that the study says it might be a safer alternative to medical marijuana. Somewhere, I can hear a NORML rep crying.

I've really never been a fan of the whole legalization movement anyway. I'm actually fairly liberal on private use; the way I see it, I have no more right to tell you what drugs to take than to tell you what to feed your kids for dinner. I may not agree with what you're doing, but it's your choice. That said, I've got some issues with people who want to smoke pot in public. Supporters argue that getting high is the same as getting drunk, but at least I don't have to get drunk just because I'm standing next to a beer drinker. Second-hand cigarette smoke is bad enough as it is. Do what you want with your body, but I'm keeping mine clean.

An Executive Decision

Once again, I can't help being reminded of how much more socially liberal Europe is than we are. In the wake of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision not to commute the death sentence of convicted killer and Crips founder Stanley "Tookie" Williams, there was speculation of rioting in that state. But so far, it looks as though the strongest reaction has come from - of all places - Austria, Schwarzenegger's homeland.

In Austria, leaders of the opposition Green Party actually called for Gov. Schwarzenegger's citizenship to be revoked. Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel rejected these demands as being "absurd," which is exactly what they were. Many have been talking up the fact that Williams showed a reformation by speaking out against gangs and the violence they create. He even wrote children's books on the subject. That's all fine and good, and I commend him for having turned himself around to that extent.

But what often gets ignored here is a very simple truth: Williams (I almost called him Tookie just now, but that name makes me chuckle for some reason) never apologized for the deaths of four people during armed robberies in 1979. That was the crime he was convicted of, but he professed his innocence until the unfortunate end. Commuting his sentence would have given him life without parole, but if he were so proud as to refuse to confess, then what precedent would it have set to spare him? The proof showed that he killed those people, or he never would have been convicted in the first place. And even though Jamie Foxx and other celebrities were calling for him to be given clemency, the families of his victims were calling for his execution. Call it catharsis, but if he had just admitted his wrongdoings, I doubt the victims' families would have been as eager to see him dead as they were.

Anyway, Schwarzenegger's opinion was very similar to mine: "Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption." But notice when you read the article that every viewpoint except the governor's comes down on the side of clemency. What, you mean to tell me they couldn't have found at least one other counterpoint source in the name of journalism? Or was it unimportant to the AP writer, who sounds as though she's in mourning?

There's no way it should have been hard to find someone who agreed with what the "Governator" did. Heck, they could have asked me.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Consumer Inconfidence

Since Viacom is splitting into two companies (Viacom and CBS), the two corporations just began trading on the stock market today. The new, MTV-owning Viacom rose 5.8 percent from its initial price. But oddly enough, CBS Corp.'s stock fell 11 percent from its starting price.

I wonder why people wouldn't want to buy CBS? I mean honestly, who wouldn't want a piece of that fine, reputable organization with a history of quality journalism?