Saturday, February 28, 2009

Forward, MARCH!

I've mentioned before that I have a particular disdain for the month of February. It bears mentioning again.

February is a short, miserable, placeholder month. There's no real football being played--the Super Commercial (adds and hype interrupted by bad play) doesn't count. The two other seasons I care anything about--deer and duck--have closed. The weather stinks--alternating rapidly between soft spring-like teases and raw winter blasts.

February is a basketball month. I hate basketball. My hatred for the sport is rooted in its hatred for me. Basketball and I belong to an exclusive mutual acrimony society. I loathe the height-loving, ball-bouncing, no-contact shoe-squeaking and it revels in its enmity for me, putting my lack of court talent on quick display if ever I venture under the hoop.

February is a fallacious feel-good month, with holidays hijacked and invented to promote this and sell that.

February dies today. I'll dance on its grave tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Networked Socialist

The Colonel felt like an old, tired wildebeest, standing a little ways off the migration route, watching the rest of the herd stream past towards the river crossing and wondering "why?". I was standing in a nice patch of grass. This side of the river looked just as good as the other side. Besides, there were beastly dangers and horrors lurking just below the surface of the swollen river. Members of the herd were disappearing in frothy, toothy swirls; but the rest continued to plunge ahead toward the promise of something better. And as they went, their frantic communications became more and more unintelligible. I had been at the forefront of other migratory rushes in years past, but the light of desire to plunge headlong into the unknown was dimming. Still, the light wasn't completely extinguished--there was still a flicker of need for adventure. The Colonel might be as old as dirt, but he hasn't become worm food just yet. So, I took the plunge...

I joined Facebook.

A friend of Number 1 Son summed up the incredulity that most of those who know me must be feeling at this point when he wrote the following on my wall (oh, there is a whole new lingo replacing the acronym-spiced speech of the cold warrior turned money-grubbing capitalist turned blogging farmer): "Facebook and a blog? What happened to the Colonel I used to hear stories about? The angry Marine lecturing a bunch of tech happy Air Force guys on how to use a pencil and paper..."

I replied with the lame "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" excuse. Truth is I've always been a closet techie. The internet sucked me in the first time I typed in a search. That first search--my first plunge into the swollen, crocodile-infested watercourse, some 15 of 16 years ago--returned just three hits. The hits to the same search today, unfiltered, would take a month of Sundays to peruse. But, once I got that first mainline hit of information on demand, I was hooked like no other junkie. Instead of going to the library, the library came to me.

So, now I'm on Facebook. Like a good Marine, I still follow directions to the letter and when the sign-up instructions said to enter my full name, I did: Thomas Edward Gregory. Mistake. Nobody knows Thomas.

If this Facebook thing takes off with me, I might just have to break with five generations of family tradition and start going by my first name.

But, you can still call me The Colonel.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Flag Raising Remembrances

The iconic image captured by Joe Rosenthal on the summit of Iwo Jima's volcano, Suribachi, stirred a nation and remains the most ubiquitous symbol of American warrior heroism. Sixty-four years ago today, four days after storming ashore across fire-swept beaches, a Marine patrol reached the top of the lone mountain overlooking the tiny Japanese-held island astride the American axis of advance to Tokyo. The Marines raised a small American flag. It was replaced shortly thereafter by a much larger flag, the raising of which was caught on film by both a motion picture cameraman and in a snap-shot by Rosenthal. The photographic record of the event, including a staged picture of Marines cheering the flag-raising was sent back to the United States and Rosenthal figured that picture would be the one that would make the papers, not the one of the second flag-raising. But, there was something about the almost accidental picture that captured the imagination of everyone Stateside.

I've heard many speakers try to explain, some very eloquently and convincingly, why the now-famous image has so ingrained itself in the American psyche. Suffice to say, there are certain elements of the picture that lend themselves to tradition, legend, and example. Study the picture and you will quickly see that none of the flag-raisers' faces are discernible--it is an "everyman" image into which any American can impose his or her self. More, every member of the flag-raising team is either in the act of an important function of the mission, or attempting to contribute--there are no "bystanders." None of the group are doing anything particularly heroic--yet, they represent an entire generation of heroes.

The thing I like most about the image is that the men are raising and honoring the symbol of our nation. They aren't draping themselves in the flag. They aren't using it for their own purposes of personal aggrandizement. They aren't imposing themselves in front of it. There is a striking sense of humility and subordination of self to the best interests of the nation for which that flag stands. The flag is not perfectly displayed, it's staff has not reached it's pull upright potential--just like the nation for which it stands.

I have a painted reproduction of the Iwo Jima Flag Raising in a place of honor on the wall of my study. It was a gift from a team of Marines I had been privileged to lead for three years, from 1990 to 1993. One of those Marines, Master Gunnery Sergeant Vickers, was the artist. It is a most prized possession, among a collection of many prized possessions from my active duty career as a Marine.

I feel a profound sense of sorrow for those Americans whose most prized possessions do not include a representation of the symbol of the nation that has made possession of personal property such a cherished right.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tallahatchie Free State Ministers Emeritus

Pending receipt of ministerial nominations, selection, and confirmation by the Colonel's esteemed panel of one chaired by a man curmudgeoned well before his time, the following ministers emeritus are hereby declared exemplary for the ethical and effective conduct of the affairs of the Tallahatchie Free State, a government in opposition, capitalled at Eegeebeegee, at the northern end of southern nowhere.

Foreign Minister: Alexander the Great--no other man in history made so many allies of former enemies in so little time.

Minister of Defense: Lieutenant General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC--no other military man more clearly understood the opportunity present in being surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy (will be an important attribute for the near-term conduct of military operations in defense of TFS borders).

Assistant Minister of Defense: General Anthony C. McAuliffe, USA, who, as commander of the 101st Airborne Division, eloquently responded with "Nuts!" to the surrender demand of the German commander whose forces surrounded the Americans at Bastogne during the 1944 Battle of the Bulge. In addition to his example of loyalty and mission focus, such brevity, clarity, and decisiveness in inter-governmental communications will be a TFS requirement.

Minister of the Interior: Theodore Roosevelt--responsible for the creation of the greatest and most effectively maintained collective expanse of national parks and wildlife preserves on the planet. Teddy's effectiveness in foreign policy and national defense also make him an example to bolster those named above.

Minister of Agriculture: George Washington Carver--considered the Leonardo da Vinci of American agriculture and perhaps most responsible for the resurrection of post-Southern War for Independence farming following the collapse of the cotton monoculture.

Minister of Education: Socrates--the father of modern western philosophy and credited with the Colonel's favorite pedagogic method (asking questions to draw out discussion). Reportedly short and unattractive (attributes near and dear to the Colonel), Socrates was also a battlefield hero and a staunch defender of the Athenian constitution (for which he gave his life).

Minister of Justice: Solomon, whose symbolic sword of justice shall remind the citizenry of the TFS that Right and Truth are principles worth fighting for.

Minister of Finance: Robert Heinlein, whose use of the science fiction literary form does not diminish the brilliance of his economic thought, conceptualized in several of his novels as the principle: TANSTAAFL ("there ain't no such thing as a free lunch").

The Tallahatchie Free State minister emeritus positions above and those enshrined in them carry no policy making or enforcement power, and exist purely at the pleasure of the Colonel, subject to his whim and wit, if lack of wisdom. Nominations to ministerial positions, both temporal and emeritus, are encouraged for the Colonel's consideration and are subject to arbitrary approval, condemnation, or curmudgeonly criticism.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday Morning MOTOs; Vol. II, Ed. 2

Greetings to one and all, patriots, rebels, freedom-fighters and frauds, from Eegeebeegee, captital of the Tallahatchie Free State, here at the northern end of southern nowhere. The purpose of this morning's press release from the Colonel's government in opposition, established not so much tongue in cheek as hand on wallet, is the publishing of the next edition of the regularly irregular Colonel's Corner feature foisting notables and disreputables upon the petards of their own pronouncements proclaiming their steel trap grips on the obvious. The Colonel's Monday Morning Mastery of the Obvious awards are hereby irrevocably, irreverently and irrepressibly presented in ascending order of MOTOness, as determined by an esteemed panel of one, chaired by a man curmudgeoned well before his time:

The Colonel's Monday Morning MOTO bronze medal is awarded to El Presidente por Vida Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who, following the victory of a referendum to allow him to run for reelection for indefinite terms, proclaimed, "Those who voted 'yes' today voted for socialism, for revolution." Seems the Venezuelan people have more in common with the citizens of these re-United States than anyone realized.

The Colonel's Monday Morning MOTO silver medal goes to that paragon of bi-partisanship, and Pinko House chief of staff, Rahm Emanual for his own assessment, as reported by the AP, of the White House cabinet post vetting process that has resulted in a handful of nominees pulling their names from contention for reason of little things like tax evasion and strong opposition to the new administration's socialist policies: "Some would call it amateur hour." Some would, Mr. Emanual. The Colonel, on the other hand, believes it is symptomatic of the hubris with which H and his crew have come to the seat of power. They believe, as does the bronze award winner this morning, that they have a socialist mandate, and one of socialism's unwritten rules is that the ends justify the means.

The Colonel's Monday Morning MOTO gold medal is bestowed upon Republican Senator Mitch McConnell who, in assessing the $800 billion bill passed this week, according to the AP, proclaimed, "This is not the smart approach. The taxpayers of today and tomorrow will be left to clean up the mess." Senator, you have a death grip on the obvious! And, you and your party are just as responsible for this mess left to our children to clean up as the democrats. When given the opportunity to reverse forty years of socialist slide, you and the Republicans took the reins in Washington and became even bigger spenders on social programs than the socialists you replaced. Shame on you! Instead of demonstrating restraint, you set a higher bar for largess from our larders over which the re-empowered Democrats are now gleefully leaping.

The Colonel is taking applications for cabinet positions in the Tallahatchie Free State opposition government. MOTOs need not apply.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Liberalism's Totalitarian Tendencies

Rush Limbaugh is a punk prankster masquerading as a serious social sentinel. Keith Olberman is a cheap shot artist whose rhetorical diarrhea was tiresome even before he left the sports desk for political punditry. The Colonel has no patience for the self-serving political hacks at either end of the spectrum providing prodigious propaganda bloviation, not so much to support a position as to promote themselves. The Colonel has even less patience for the elected politicians whose service to their constituents in particular and their nation in general is all too often suborned to their desire to ensure their re-election--that goes for the self-serving sorts throughout the political spectrum. With that said, lets look at what history tells us will likely be the arc and consequences of the progressive policies being rushed into effect by the congressional totalitarians in Washington.

The last progressive president and congress to consolidate so much power was FDR and the congresses that took the oath of office during the Great Depression. That crisis was used to great effect by a charismatic president and a malleable congress to institute socialist governmental programs and policies. Most were sold to the public as the only way to pull the nation out of the economic depression, and did no such thing. Most historians and economists agree that many of the social programs FDR championed actually had the effect of deepening and prolonging the Great Depression. There are already glaring signs that H intends to lift a page from FDR's play book to further the progressive agenda no matter the cost to our nation.

The so-called stimulus bill garnering all of the attention at present is only the tip of the iceberg. It does indeed have some redeeming elements, arguably needed to take the sting out of the current economic crisis, but the vast majority of the bill is just old-fashioned pork. The President's Chief of Staff Rham Emanual was quoted late last fall as saying that this crisis provided a great opportunity to get spending approved for lots of programs that wouldn't ordinarily get funded. He is right on target from a tactical point of view--crises are great opportunities for change. Effective (not necessarily, scrupulous) leaders have always used crises, real or manufactured, to effect change that THEY deem in the best interest of their organization, community, or nation. The danger is that socialists believe they need to take care of us, even if we don't need or want to be taken care of. They push through programs and policies that increase their power over our lives because they know better than we do what is best for us. I, for one, beg to differ.

When the nine justices charged with preventing unconstitutional laws and policies rejected many of his programs, FDR attempted to "pack" the Supreme Court by appointing more left-leaning justices who cared more about the enactment of socialist policies than a strict and proper interpretation of the Constitution of these re-United States. The extra appointees to the court ensured that FDR's unconstitutional programs were deemed "constitutional." It was a totalitarian move more like those of Stalin or Mussolini than Washington or Jefferson. It was a repugnant disregard of the Constitution and our nation has been on a socialist slide ever since. President Obama may not be planning to pack the court--probably doesn't need to. He is, however, planning something just as insidious. He intends to move responsibility for oversight of the national census to the office of none other than that paragon of political bi-partisanship, Rham Emanual. The desired end-state is obvious to all but the most oblivious observer--control the census and you control the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives.

President Obama has the eloquence and hip hype to dull the eyes of all but the most vigilant. I'm listening to him address a crowd in Fort Myers as I write this and I'm almost persuaded. He is good.

So was FDR, Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Jack Bauer is a Snivelling Wimp

There are ten reasons why the TV show "24" is bad for America.

Never watched the show until Miss Brenda ordered it from our mail order movie subscription. For the last month or so, we have watched the first two years and have been watching the current season at our leisure via the magic of DVR. The Colonel is far from impressed. In fact, I'm increasingly convinced that the show is an insidious, insipid, installment of entertainment insanity. Here's my ten point dismissal of this disreputable drivel:


1. Jack Bauer is a snivelling wimp.

2. Jack Bauer is a snivelling wimp who breaks his oath of office to "support and defend the Constitution" an average of once every ten minutes.

3. Jack Bauer is a snivelling wimp who places the welfare of his flighty family above that of the nation and its constitution, for which he took an oath to defend against all enemies foreign and domestic (and which implicitly requires suborning of personal and family concerns to the greater good of the people of these re-United States).

4. Jack Bauer is a snivelling wimp who resorts to torture at the drop of a hat.

5. Jack Bauer is a snivelling wimp who possesses less self-discipline in his entire body than the average nineteen year-old Marine lance-corporal has in the tip of his little finger.

6. Jack Bauer is a snivelling wimp who maintains less situational awareness than a soon-to-be-road-kill armadillo, as evidenced by his propensity for capture by bad guys an average of twice per episode.

7. Jack Bauer is a snivelling wimp whose firearm carriage and safety would result in court martial were he under the Colonel's command.

8. Jack Bauer is a snivelling wimp who possesses less leadership ability in his entire body than the average Marine second lieutenant has in the tip of his little finger.

9. Jack Bauer is a snivelling wimp whose fictitious (thankfully) organization, CTU, couldn't find their own backsides with both hands, let alone a terrorist with mass murder on his mind. (Homework for the three of you who read this blog: Ask ten people this week whether CTU is a real or fictitious organization.)

10. Jack Bauer is a snivelling wimp who the Colonel wouldn't trust with the keys to his pick-up, let alone the security of our nation.

Obviously, no one writing, directing, producing, or acting in this intolerable excuse for programming has ever taken (and lived under) the oath of office of these re-United States. Thankfully, the real Americans who have taken the oath, by and large live by and execute their defense of our nation's security in accordance with the constitution on which it stands.

Gotta go, Miss Brenda has the next episode fired up on the DVR--need to see how many rounds it takes to dispatch Nina.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Tecumseh's Temblors

Was an earthquake responsible for JFK's death?

On this date, the 7th of February, in 1812, the last in a series of four mega-quakes emanated from the New Madrid fault between Memphis and St. Louis. The first, estimated at an astounding 8.1 on the Richter Scale, struck on December 16, 1811 with its epicenter in northeast Arkansas. Six hours later, an aftershock estimated at 7.0 rocked the region. A third powerful earthquake, estimated at 7.8 and epicentered in the Missouri bootheel, jolted the region on January 23, 1812. The final act in this earthshaking play 197 years ago today was an 8.0 temblor that struck New Madrid, Missouri.

These four major earthquakes and the countless accompanying aftershocks occurred along a failed mid-continent rift (where tectonic plates began to pull apart eons ago and then ceased), had incredibly far-reaching effects, and left indelible geologic evidence still visible today. Amazingly, the four major quakes were felt as far away as the major cities on the eastern seaboard--the jolts rang church bells as far away as Boston! The course of the Mississippi River was dramatically changed in numerous locations along a 200 mile stretch. Whole islands in the Big Muddy simply disappeared. Thousands of square miles of adjacent forests were felled. During the final quake a large expanse of land in northwest Tennessee subsided suddenly, flooding to create Reelfoot Lake. Sandblows, mini-volcanoes of sediment under pressure, jetted into the atmosphere through fissures in the earth. One major such sandblow near New Madrid is still extant and is referred to by locals as The Beach. Eyewitness acounts of the final quake claim that its shaking could be felt lasting for nearly an hour!

The sparse settlement of the region at the time limited the death toll and property loss. Were such a quake to strike the region today (some geologist estimate that they do every 200 to 500 years) the loss of life and property would be staggering. St. Louis and Memphis would be reduced to rubble piles that would rival Hiroshima and Nagasaki in mid-August 1945. Infrastructure damage and destruction would virtually stop commercial traffic--all bridges across the Mississippi River from St. Louis to well below Memphis would likely either drop or be so badly damaged to be unusable. Several million people would be left homeless and several million whose homes still stood would be without power and potable water indefinitely. The nation's ability to respond and provide relief would be overwhelmed without question. But, let's not dwell on that scenario--it is too terrible to contemplate..., and the Colonel's long-awaited great American novel will be based on the aftermath of such a future event.

What is even more fascinating to consider are the historically significant men whose fortunes rose and fell attendant to the 1811/1812 quakes. One man in particular, seems to have actually predicted the quakes. His name was Tecumseh, a leader of the Shawnee in the Midwest. Tecumseh sought to stem the tide of white migration west into Indian lands and participated in armed resistance to the American settlers and the troops sent west to protect them. In 1811, Tecumseh, allied with the British who were also trying to prevent the young American nation's westward expansion, travelled to tribal councils from Canada to Alabama in an attempt to rally all of the disparate native American tribes into a great confederation to confront the United States. Encountering widespread skepticism, Tecumseh told each tribe that resisted his call to arms that he would return to his own council fire and stomp the ground so hard that all of the skeptics' houses would fall. He even went so far as to tell them that the earth's shaking would be the signal for all of the tribes throughout the region to rally behind him for war on the whites.

William Henry Harrison, governor of the newly-formed Indiana territory, spent considerable energy bilking the native American's of their land with broken treaties and other swindles. Fearing the threat of a pan-Indian confederacy led by Tecumseh and fueled by a religious movement behind Tecumseh's "prophet" brother, Harrison attacked and destroyed Tecumseh's village near what is now Greenville, Ohio while the Indian leader was still in the south. Harrison's action in early November 1811 became known as the Battle of Tippecanoe (which became Harrison's nickname) and combined with his actions in the War of 1812 against the British and their Indian allies, vaulted him to national prominence. He ran for president twice, losing in 1836 and winning with his vice presidential running mate John Tyler in 1840 under the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too!" Harrison, the oldest president elected until Reagan (a moment of silence for the Gipper, please), died in office after serving only 32 days.

Tecumseh did not see the rally to his cause by the southern tribes for which he had hoped, even with the great earthquake signs he predicted. He warred against the United States on the side of the British in the War of 1812 and was killed fighting against an army led by Harrison at the October 5, 1813 Battle of the Thames near present-day Chatham, Ontario. Legend has it that Tecumseh's "prophet" brother put a curse on Harrison that took effect upon his election to the presidency in 1840 and extended to every president elected thereafter in a "zero-year." Harrison died in office, and so did every other "zero-year" president (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Harding, FDR, and JFK.) until Reagan (elected in 1980) survived an assassination attempt and apparently "broke the curse."

Even a Paul Harvey "Rest of the Story" couldn't top this one!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Storm Soldiers

Storms are temporary; the effects are long-lasting.

A year ago this evening, while the rest of the nation was deciphering the results of the Super Tuesday presidential primary, the good folks here at the northern end of southern nowhere were digging out from under the debris left behind by a tornado. Some crawled out from under fallen sheet rock to find that their homes, some that had stood shelter and sentinel for over a century, were completely gone. The timber-felled swath of the storm is still a vivid scar across the hills and bottoms on a line stretching for miles. Here on Eegeebeegee, the Colonel has a dozen felled trees yet to render useful with a chainsaw. Pieces of tin and former house trim still reveal themselves to be picked up on my daily security patrols.

In its wake the tornado created a sort of rural renewal. New, modern, homes replaced the older homes erased by the wind. The community, close-knit as country can be, formed a tighter weave of care and inclusion--even the Colonel and Miss Brenda, the ultimate outsiders, found our threads pulled into the whole cloth of country clan. It is a welcome embrace.

One of our neighbors is hosting a party this evening in the new home that replaced the old farm house swept aside a year ago. My guess is it will not be a pity party. Rather, the Colonel is quite sure it will be more of a victory celebration. These people here in the hills of north Mississippi are real Americans, with spine and grit and good humor. When the storm scoured them clean last February, they immediately went to work rebuilding on the cleared spaces. Their sorrow for loss was short-lived. They didn't wait for someone from the government to bail 'em out of their troubles. They rolled up their sleeves, pulled together as a community, and put their own lives back in order.

If the re-United States doesn't survive the current mess, the Tallahatchie Free State will. Maybe the Colonel can reprise the role of Baron von Stuben.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Climate Change Pre-nuptial Pairings

The temperatures are still bouncing ten to fifteen degrees either side of the freezing point of the ubiquitous combination of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, but it is becoming increasingly evident that spring is just around the corner here at the northern end of southern nowhere. Don't need a groundhog to tell the Colonel what's gonna happen outside amongst the flora and fauna. Daily security patrols throughout the Eegeebeegee Area of Operations provide the Colonel all the information needed to develop an intelligence picture of the seasonal shift shuffling in from stage left.

The earliest clues of the coming climate change are the anticipatory avian antics discernible by the Colonel's ornithological observations. There's a whole lot of sky-dancing going on. The elder members of a resident flock of canada geese have paired up and split off from the cackling crowd to begin a honking hookup that will ultimately result in an increase of goose poop on putting greens. A pair of red-tailed hawks entertained the Colonel yesterday with their high altitude circling and crying, the male soaring skyward and then tucking wings for a mouth-dropping dive to impress ladyhawk with his daring-do. Even the members of the Caw Crew have extended their raucous reveille to a day-long cacophony of mating proposals.

But there is one undeniable hint of the coming of spring: the shelves in the sporting goods department at Wally World are loaded with supplies for turkey season. There'll be six more weeks of frustratingly cold weather before the six frustrating weeks of the spring turkey season arrive.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Exceptional Expansion

A southern president responded to non-state actors' terroristic activities on U.S. territory by invading the country from which they came and was denounced by a congressional minority led by a little-known orator from Illinois who rode the wave of the war's unpopularity to his eventual election to the presidency. Not talking about W and H; the pandering politicians (apologies for the redundancy) posited in this post are James K. Polk and Abraham Lincoln.

One hundred and sixty-one years ago today, the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo concluded an expansionist war with Mexico predicated on trumped up territorial grievances. The treaty's terms were disastrous for Mexico. With an American army occupying Mexico City, the Mexican government was forced to give up 525,000 square miles of territory that would later become the states of Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. Coupled with the 285,000 square miles within the Oregon territory (later to become the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho) extorted from Great Britain on the threat of war earlier in his presidency, the three quarters of a million square miles of territory acquired by Polk fulfilled his political platform of Manifest Destiny and established the contiguous continental boundaries of the United States whose map outline (with a future minor adjustment--the Gadsden Purchase of a small chunk territory between the Gila and Rio Grande rivers, needed for a transcontinental railroad right of way) is the one we know today.

Polk's territorial achievements were overshadowed by the north-south slavery issue which, upon the election of Lincoln in 1860, resulted in the secession of thirteen southern states from the Union and a much more horrible war than the piddling scrap with Mexico that had made Polk so unpopular by the end of his presidency. Polk died of cholera shortly after he left office and was maligned for decades for the methods by which he advanced his vision of American expansionism. He is recognized in a much better light today. Along with Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, James K. Polk is on the Colonel's short list of the greatest presidents in the history of these re-United States. The Colonel's criteria is simple: advancement of American Exceptionalism or enlargement of the American Empire.

Expansion of the socialist nanny-state agenda does not qualify.