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The opinions of Steve Southwell, Editor of the Lewisville Texan Journal
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Elections 2006 - Special Coverage

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/8/8 4:51:21 (2140 reads)

This election season, WhosPlayin? will be offering in-depth analysis of local elections, including interviews with candidates running in the North Texas area. We'll also post up-to-date information about polling dates and locations as soon as those are made public.

If you are a candidate for public office from either side of the spectrum or anywhere in between, please let me know if you're interested by contacting

If you have questions that you'd like to pose to your candidates, please let me know and I'll do my best to get answers from the candidates, or research their campaign literature to find out.

Interviews so far:

Amy Manuel
for Denton County Commissioner,
Precinct 2

John McLeod
for State Representative,
District 64

Sheila Ford
for State Representative,
District 99

Interviews coming soon: (Candidates agreed)
Barbara Ann Radnofsky for US Senate

Tim Barnwell for US Congress, TX District 26

Invitations have been extended to other candidates. If you are running for public office in Cooke, Denton, Tarrant, or Dallas counties, or statewide office and would like to be featured here, drop a line to the webmaster at

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More Truth - Always seek the truth

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/8/6 18:02:59 (2176 reads)

Yesterday morning, I read a column in our local newspaper that really had me irked. I won't bother to legitimize it by even mentioning the newspaper or what the article was about, but it was simply full of rhetoric and inaccurate generalizations.

I stewed about it for a good part of the day, and shared the column with my wife when she got home. She was also irked, to say the least, and could barely contain her anger long enough to let me finish reading it.

We both talked about responding to it, maybe with a letter to the editor, or by writing this ignorant jerk and setting him straight.

I called a good friend of mine and read him part of the article, asking how we could offer our best retort this twisted piece of work.

Friends are a good thing. And my friend is a wise man who in his own fatherly way asked me questions about what I thought I might accomplish with such a retort. He explained that I wasn't going to change this guy's mind, and that there will just be people like this.

My friend was in his car, on a family outing, and I didn't really want to bother him. When I found out that I'd caught him in the car, I wanted to leave him alone, and let him get back to his family. But this friend of mine, who is a very busy man these days, parked his car at their destination and let his family go ahead of him to make time to talk to me.

He explained that while we could easily offer a retort and give the facts to back it up, we'd simply be playing into their hands by allowing them to define the frame of the argument. He explained that what would be better is for me to write an article framing the subject in my own terms, and using my own arguments, rather than simply refuting points that didn't really even belong in the argument.

I thanked him for letting me vent, and let him get back to his family.

I stayed awake last night until 4am this morning. I just couldn't sleep. So many things to think about these days - so much social injustice, and the loudest voices range from misleading to outright lies. I've always been somewhat bothered by injustice. I can't remember a time in my life when I haven't been concerned in some way, though for a good part of my life I believe now that I lived on the wrong side of the truth.

I tossed and turned, trying to think about why it was that I have so much trouble sleeping, and why I can't seem to let go of the anger. I was reminded of my earlier article here on Fury Fatigue and More Love, Less Fear.

I realized that my own thoughts were unhealthy. Fear is angry, but Love lets go. Fear seeks to be heard, but Love seeks to understand. Though I penned these words, I must admit that I occasionally let my own mind get into territory where I know it's unhealthy to go.

So, seeking to understand, I thought back to the article that had set me off and irked me so strongly that day.

It occurs to me that as wrong as the author of that piece was, in the general idea and the "facts", there was some sliver of truth in what he said. The problem was that he'd taken these slivers of truth and exaggerated them, or drawn incorrect inferrences to the extent that it was nothing more than rhetoric.

Seeking to understand, and show tolerance, I thought about it some more, and I do believe that this author probably believes what he wrote, and did it simply for the sake of sharing his views, and trying to persuade people to what he thought was the correct course of action. I can't fault him for that. But I can learn from it.

This author's problem was that he latched onto a few ideas and sought out evidence to back them up, without considering the other side of the argument. When you think about it, that's what most of us tend to do. How many liberals do you know that would buy and read an Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh book? How many conservatives do you know that would read Michael Moore, or Al Franken? Maybe these are bad examples because the truth can usually be found somewhere between these extremes.

But my point is that we should continue to seek the truth always, by reading and listening with a critical perspective, and using logic and reason as well as soul searching.

As for my response to this well-intentioned but wrong-minded author, I've not yet decided how I'll respond, or even if I have the time. But after last night's reflection, and the advice of my good friend, I'm reminded of the words of Emily Dickinson:

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—

Truth is a gradual process. No article I write is likely to give someone that "Aha!" moment that I would so desperately wish for, but perhaps at best I could plant some seeds of truth.

Then he told them many things in parables, saying: "A farmer went out to sow his seed.
As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.
But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear."
- Matt 13:3-9 (NIV)

Readers and Friends, thank you for seeking the truth with me. Pray that WhosPlayin will be a source of truth and wisdom. If you see me stray, please be like my good friend, and help me back onto the path.

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Too excited to sleep...

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/7/15 8:12:02 (1919 reads)

I find it difficult to sleep lately. This despite taking prescription sleep aids, Valerian root, Min-tran, Chaste tree, and Holy Basil each night before bed. I used to take Melatonin as well, and that did the trick, but my doctor recommended me to stop. I think I'm going to have to revisit that.

I think a lot of it has to do with the stress of my job and the stress of having my kids bouncing around the house 7 days a week while school is in recess. The company owns my daytime hours, but the night belongs to me.

I don't really have much of a point to tonight's posting, so I'll just ramble off a few miscellaneous items:

  • I see that WhosPlayin has now reached a Google PageRank of 2! We've had certain pages on our site with 3's and 4's, but now the main page of the blog has a 2. I'm excited by that. I can tell by my server logs that we do have a steady stream of regular readers. I'm inspired by that and I hope that I don't let you down if I fail to post regularly. Sometimes the inspiration is there, but just can't be put into words.

  • I read an interesting opinion poll today, published by the Pew Research Center for the People and The Press. Barbara Ann Radnofsky mentioned it in one of her emails today, and I thought the conclusions were quite interesting:

    --Americans favor the Democratic candidate in their district, by a 51% to 39% margin
    --the level of enthusiasm about voting among Democrats is unusually high, and is atypically low among Republicans
    --Public anger with Congress continues to rise, and anti-incumbent sentiment has reached new highs
    --The heightened Democratic enthusiasm is particularly notable among liberal Democrats, 53% of whom are more interested in voting this year than usual
    --The partisan gap in enthusiasm is even visible among independents
    --Frustration with incumbents is high even among GOP voters, 43% of whom say that most members do not deserve reelection
    -- Fully 38% say their vote this fall is a vote against George W. Bush. This is up from 15% four years ago, and is far more than ever measured during the Reagan administration, the presidency of Bush's father, or the Clinton administration.
    --Education, the economy, health care, Social Security, Iraq, and terrorism rank as the most important issues for voters this year
    --Government surveillance programs, the inheritance tax, abortion, global warming, and gay marriage rank as much less important priorities, with gay marriage in particular mentioned by only one-third of voters (34%) as very important to them. About as many (33%) say the issue of gay marriage is "not at all important."

  • What in the hell is the deal with Israel? I know they have a complicated existence, but they don't make things better for themselves by flying off the handle and terrorizing (yes, I said terrorizing) their neighboring nations in response to terrorism. The Israeli government is acting right now like that jack-ass buddy of yours who likes to get drunk and start fights when everyone else is just trying to enjoy happy hour. Ol' buddy Uncle Sam is about sick of it. With friends like this, well... uh... I guess more death and destruction can follow. The instability in the region is driving up oil prices even further, and I'm afraid will lead to one or more countries in the area being vaporized by a nuclear (Note to GWB: It's pronounced Nu-clee-urr) weapon. I hope it doesn't have "Made in Texas" stamped on it. (You know they're manufactured here, right?)

  • Speaking of high oil prices...($77.03 on Friday) I wanted to mention that I need to write a review of my new 2006 Toyota Prius. We do product reviews here, but the standard is that unless we're ridiculing some stupid product you'd never buy, you have to have used it for awhile and know what you're talking about. Having just made my first $583 payment, and put a thousand miles on it, I think I can now speak intelligently. I'll write more later, but here are the basics:

    1. I love this car. It was expensive, but based on current gasoline prices, not economically justifiable. However, I considered it a moral imperative. Not to say that anyone not driving a hybrid is irresponsible. Just that we had the means, and we heard Vice President Gore's messsage in An Inconvenient Truth and took it to heart. I'd always known that global warming was a scientific fact, but figured the causes and cures were a matter of controversy. (They're not.) I didn't realize how bad it was getting until he quantified it.
    2. It's really comfortable, and feels somewhat like driving a spacecraft. It starts with a button, not a key, the shifter is different, and the controls for audio and climate are all on a touch-screen LCD display in the center dash that provides real-time fuel economy data as well as a display of whether the engine, motor or both are being used. I'll get some pictures - it's really cool.
    3. The fuel economy we've been getting in general definitely is less than the EPA rating, but still twice as good as our van gets down hill with a tail wind. We've been getting anywhere from 39 to 44 MPG, but of course this is Texas, and you have to have the AC on full blast, so I think that accounts for some of the drop.

    I'll write more and post some photos in a full review when I get time. I'd encourage anyone who wants to drive one to go to your Toyota dealership and do so.

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Candidates who Support Network Neutrality

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/7/1 3:41:26 (2883 reads)

The fact that you're able to read this blog right now is a testament to the empowering and egalitarian nature of the Internet as we know it today. Unfortunately, after intense lobbying and campaign contributions from the Telecom and Cable industries, who would like to put in a pay-for-play system, it appears likely now that both the Senate and the House will pass a Telecommunications bill that doesn't preserve Net Neutrality.

I thought I would use this forum to list candidates who DO SUPPORT NETWORK NEUTRALITY. If the issue means something to you, do two things: 1. Call up your Representative and your Senator and DEMAND they support Network Neutrality.
2. Vote for these candidates in November, who have publicly stated and pledged that they will vote for network neutrality:


Senate: Barbara Radnofsky

Representative - District 26: Tim Barnwell

Want to see other candidates listed here? Post a comment with a link to that candidate's public statement supporting Network Neutrality

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More Love, No Fear

The Editor's Column
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2006/4/27 6:00:00 (3253 reads)
The Editor's Column

We are in a war. The war of which I speak is not the war in Iraq, or the war on terror, but the war being waged in our own homeland. This war, like all wars is the result of the choice of fear rather than love. This is a war of culture in which fear is being exploited by those who seek to divide us and undermine the unity of our nation. The power-hungry and morally corrupt that drive our government and manipulate public opinion seek to divide us by pitting the rich against the working class, the native born against the immigrant, the religious against the free-spirited, the conservative against the progressive. Love will win this war, but we have to remember the purpose of the war, and not get too caught up in the battles. For Progressives in this country, these times are disheartening. Just when you think that the corruption can’t possibly get any worse, and you are feeling furious enough to move to action, the regime will make another corrupt and deceitful move. The cycle continues for so long that you get "Fury Fatigue", and apathy starts to set in, because you feel powerless.

We must not allow ourselves to succumb to negativity, or we will become as spiritually bankrupt as they, and the truth we try to uphold will appear tarnished. Know that Love always wins in the end. All the great teachers and leaders have given us that message. There are but two emotions that all others are derived from: Love and Fear. If we learn to recognize these, we can stay on the right side, for fear is a useless emotion. I’m of course not speaking of fear in terms of cautiousness, which is a basic human instinct. Our experience has taught us that touching a hot stove is going to hurt. We don’t fear touching a hot stove. We’re aware of it and cautious. We don’t dwell on it.

Fear seeks to control; Love seeks to liberate.
Fear breeds intolerance; Love breeds acceptance.
Fear makes worry; Love makes serenity.
Fear has distrust; Love has true faith.
Fear destroys; Love builds.
Fear is violent; Love is peaceful.
Fear wants to be heard; Love wants to understand.
Fear hoards; Love is content.
Fear is greedy; Love shares abundance.
Fear finds blame; Love seeks correction.
Fear demands punishment; Love applies discipline.
Fear harbors grievance; Love forgives
Fear creates lies; Love exposes and endures even the hardest truths.
Fear hides from responsibility; Love takes it on with pleasure
Fear makes pride; Love seeks humility.
Fear is bondage; Love is freedom.
Fear leads to hate and disgust; Love leads to joy and fulfillment.
Fear is the illusion of separation; Love is the realization of one-ness.
Love conquers Fear. Always.
In the end, there is nothing but Love.
Love is everything, and everything is one.

Next time you feel yourself demoralized by the fear mongers, think to yourself “What would Love do?”

People everywhere are coming to this realization, and it’s resulting in a spiritual awakening that will unite our nation eventually, regardless of religion, creed, or any of the superficial things that divide us.

Almost any issue can be put to the test, and the heart will tell you the right answer. Sometimes fear can lead to multiple potential solutions to a problem, and one of those solutions may be the right solution, but the key is to arrive at the solution after careful consideration of the way that Love would take. Seek the truth, and then present the solution in terms of how it exemplifies Love.

Stay on the side of Love. Don’t fear your opponent in this war of philosophies. Our distance is mostly a matter of perspective that can be overcome with gentle persuasion and a generous dose of love, concern, and truth.

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