I’m Back… with my own twist of a Mailbag Post!

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I know, I know, I know. There aren’t that many of you out there who have been checking the site daily, constantly disappointed in the lack of a new post from me.  The only one’s who have been disappointed are my fellow Wise Guise, who have realized my 2 to 4 posts a week this summer have kept the site flowing with new content daily.  But I’m back, baby! And, as I thought about what to write for my first post back and all that has happened since my last post, I realized there was only one thing to do: MAILBAG POST!

Yes, maybe I don’t receive much any fan mail.  BUT, in real life, on Facebook, and in the Twittersphere, I often get asked many questions.  Perhaps those people don’t expect me to answer them via a blog post, but when you’re chatting with a blogger, ya gotta know you could be a subject of the next great blog post that gets read by 200 to 1,500 readers.

The following questions are a mixed bag of topics and a mixed bag of both fictional and real people asking questions about those topics. Which is which? It doesn’t matter. After all, if you’re still reading at this point, you’re actually intrigued by what my thoughts on various things are.  So here we go…

“Where have you been?” – Max from Mexico

Wow! Either this is a fictional questioner embodying my love of alliteration or The Wise Guise has gone international… I choose the latter!

Over the last several weeks, I finished up my legal fellowship in Phoenix, traveled with my wife and her family in Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons, participated in one of my best friend’s bachelor parties, and traveled with my family to Missouri for my grandfather’s funeral. Now, my second year of law school has begun, which is just crazy with new classes, new leadership positions in student organizations, and interviews for jobs next summer.

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“Your grandfather passed away. I’m so sorry. Were y’all close?” – Max from Mexico

Gosh, Max. Look at this love from across the border! I love it! Even though I’ve always lived in TN and my grandpa (for the duration of my life) always lived in Missouri, we traveled to visit it each other quite often.  It hit my family pretty hard, but he had lived a good life and had lived well past the doctor’s predictions.  He passed away in the same nursing home room with my grandma, not alone, and ready to meet his Maker after living a good, long life.  As I wrote on Facebook the morning he passed away, “The man standing with me in my Facebook photos this morning is Dwight Ball, my mother’s father. He was a man who held many leadership positions within his church over the years. He always farmed a good-sized garden, even when living in suburban America. He worked for decades in a manufacturing warehouse. Growing up, he was always one of the strongest men I knew. I’ll never forget growing up, visiting him in Missouri or him visiting us in Tennessee, watching The Price is Right and Wheel of Fortune with him. Watching golf tournaments and football games with him. Waking up early to go the mall to walk with his friends, drink coffee, and eat donuts with him. My family, America, and the world lost a good man in the early hours of August 13, 2012. The world and our country would be in much better shape if more people were as hard working and faithful like Grandpa. Instead, as we celebrate his life this week, we all mourn his loss. Love you, Grandpa! Save me a seat next to you in heaven with a good view of The Price is Right!”

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At the funeral, I was able to reflect on the man he was and how it’s impacted who I am today.  As usual, we often underestimate how much those around us affect our values, priorities, and worldviews.  If I can look back on my life being 10% as hard of a worker and as humble a servant as my grandpa, the world will be a better place because I was here.  The world is definitely a better place because he was.

Speaking of Missouri, what do you think about Todd Akin’s remarks about pregnancy and rape, and his subsequent decision to stay in the race despite every major Republican politician and pundit across the conservative spectrum asking him to step down? – Sam from Seattle

First of all, the alliteration continues and we continue to reach out to new regions of this great North American continent. Second of all, this question is best answered by my wife’s statement when I asked her if she heard about it. “Gosh. Some people should just be muzzled.”

As an adamant pro-life person, misunderstandings and misstatements only hurt the cause of persuading others that our positions are best for society, families, and women.  White men especially must be careful in how they discuss these issues.  Everyone discussing these issues must be careful to be fully informed of the science and to communicate the science and pro-life philosophy with compassion and empathy. Todd Akin’s statements make him a lightning rod for attacks from the pro-choice community and the Democratic Party. If he is still a part of the discussion and discourse, the GOP and pro-life policies will be much less likely to succeed.

My wife’s argument for muzzling has a lot of merit. But we all need to ensure we’re informed, educated, and empathetic about these vitally important issues.

So since you posted your GOP VP Predictions/Analysis post, Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan to be his Vice-President. What are your thoughts? – Multiple Real-Life People (I promise all these questions aren’t fake…)

After Romney clinched the nomination and speculation about the veepstakes began (Thank God that word won’t be used again for another four years), I loved Paul Ryan.  I wavered back and forth between Ryan as the best policy pick and Florida Senator Marco Rubio as the best swing-vote, demographic-reaching pick. I couldn’t be happier that Rubio is introducing Romney next Thursday in Tampa, FL for his Convention Nomination-Acceptance speech and that Paul Ryan has joined Romney on the ticket.

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The Ryan pick shows several things about Mitt Romney:

- The VP pick rarely if ever wins the election and can only sometimes lose it.  A Portman pick would have been primarily to establish pragmatic seriousness within the Beltway AND try to win Ohio.  A Rubio pick would have been reaching to the hispanic community AND trying to win Florida.  The Ryan pick is the choice that could possibly win Wisconsin, but more importantly selects the most serious policy thinker from the conservative movement over the past 4 years (at least).

- Romney realizes that the old campaign strategy won’t win the election.  In an election that has been somewhat boring and just filled with bland, negative campaign attacks from both sides (until recently when Obama surrogates have claimed Mitt Romney was responsible for a woman’s death AND the Democratic VP claimed Romney wants to put African-Americans back in chains), Romney realizes that he’s not likable enough to simply win by pointing out how President Obama has failed and how President Obama is wrong.  It’s time for the GOP to be more than the Party of No and show that, in reality, the Republican Party is the one proposing real ideas to the most difficult problems our country faces. And no one has put out more real ideas on that than Paul Ryan.

- Mitt Romney is thinking long-term. He’s thinking about who he could choose that would be best for the conservative movement and for the party.  Yes, Paul Ryan is young and yes Paul Ryan is an irreplaceable asset in Congress. BUT, he’s revitalized the race already and moved discussions to more serious problems facing our country.

- The X-Factor: Something no one is talking about is the impact Paul Ryan has on Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney is more comfortable on the stump and more likable/relaxed when he’s campaigning with Paul Ryan.  Anything to make Romney more comfortable and appealing to the broad electorate is a good move for this campaign in the final months.

What do you think about Joe Biden’s comments from a little over a week ago? – My Mom in Memphis

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Willie Geist, Vanderbilt grad and all-around all-star for NBC networks, said it best on Morning Joe the morning after Biden made the comments. “It has to be said that if Paul Ryan, the Republican candidate, said that to an African-American audience, there would be calls this morning for him to get out of the race, for Mitt Romney to withdraw from the race. There’s a double standard.” Well said, Willie. AND GO DORES!

Thoughts on Thomas Friedman’s newest article, “We Need a Conservative Party”? – Alex from Nashville

He gets some things right (what the biggest domestic problems facing our nation are, who some of the great conservative thinkers are on these issues) and some things very, very wrong.  While I commend Friedman on commending Jeb Bush on education and the others, he only tells half of the story in order to support his preconceived arguments that Barack Obama is more reasonable than the Republican Party in addressing these problems and the Tea Party is a dangerous force ruining the GOP.  I fundamentally disagree with Friedman on both of these things, in addition to his exclusion of any current GOP superstars (i.e. playing a primary role in the GOP convention next week) and their work in addressing these problems.  For example, both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are examples of candidates outside of the traditional Tea Party mold, who advocate similar immigration principles/proposals as Bloomberg, and who are hardly Christine O’Donnell and Sharon Angle. But that weakens Friedman’s argument that the Tea Party is ruining the GOP. He doesn’t care to mention Cruz, because Ted Cruz is a Bush administration attorney who went to Harvard Law and clerked for Chief Justice Rehnquist… hardly a fringe candidate.  Also, as David Brooks pointed out yesterday, only one of the presidential tickets right now is proposing real solutions to the biggest problems, as opposed to running around yelling about paying a fair share and thinking raising taxes on a small few will close the deficit and make our entitlement programs sustainable and efficient.
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Have you seen the viral video of Coach James Franklin awarding a full scholarship to a fourth-year walk-on? – Matt from Nashville
Vandy! Vandy! Oh hell yeah! Go Dores! Anchor Down! One week until we open against Top 10 team South Carolina. As I’ve been saying for months, hop on the bandwagon now before it’s what all the “cool” kids are doing. I’ll be there next Thursday at Dudley. It’s go time!
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Thoughts on the new Survivor cast, including the three returning players? – Clayton from The Wise Guise
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I’ve made it no secret that I think Survivor is still one of the best (and most relevant) shows on TV. Then, after the announcement that we’d have three returning players this season, I analyzed who it could be and who it most likely would be.
Before I discuss the three returning players, let’s look at the rest of the cast. As Dalton Ross over at Entertainment Weekly reported,Blair from The Facts of Life is playing SURVIVOR! JACKPOT! You take the good, you take the bad, and you take former National League MVP Jeff Kent… and you have THE FACTS OF SURVIVOR! If you can’t tell, I’m quite excited about the 15 new players to the game.
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Former beauty queens, former MLB MVPs, former 80s teen sitcom stars, a sex therapist.  The cast has it all.  Also, starting the game with three tribes of 6 will keep things more interesting as it will prohibit the formation of a strong alliance that can keep a majority all the way.  It will require more big game plays and less safety for big players.
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AND DID I MENTION THE RETURNING PLAYERS? So, no, Colton’s not coming back.  But my #2, 3, and 4 predictions of returning players are the three returning to the game. Michael Skupin, Jon Penner, and Russell Swan are coming back.  I loved all three of these players whenever they played the game previously.  But I’d be lying if I said I’m not giddy with excitement at Mike Skupin finally returning to the game.  Ever since he fell in the fire in the first few months of 2001 as he was one of the most powerful players to ever play the game to that point, I’ve wanted Mike to get another chance.  He’s older and grayer, but he’s back.  And I’ll be rooting for him all the way!
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You have to see the newest Homeland Season 2 trailer. It’s mind-blowing. What are your thoughts? – Clay from Nashville

I have seen it multiple times. And I get more goosebumps and tingles down my spine each time.  It’s an unbelievable use of the song.  It gives us lots of new questions and things to look forward to in this new season without giving away any details about the plot.  It proves once again why this second season of Homeland is the TV series I’m most looking forward to this fall. Enjoy!

How’s your fantasy football team looking this season? – Peyton from Pittsburgh

The Bedford Falls Ballas lineup after our auction draft this past Sunday is: Cam Newton, Marshawn Lynch, Steven Jackson, Reggie Bush, Greg Jennings, Roddy White, Jared Cook, Ravens D/ST, Matt Prater, Demaryius Thomas, Big Ben, Jeremy Maclin, Santonio Holmes, Daniel Thomas, Laurent Robinson, Alex Smith. I’m feeling good about my chances.

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What’re your thoughts on Spielberg’s “Lincoln” film coming out? – Frank from Freeport

I can’t wait for the first trailer.  The cast.  The director.  Spielberg’s slump.  I think it all ends here.  With Daniel Day-Lewis in the leading role, this will go down as one of the all-time greats. The poster with Lewis’s profile gives me goosebumps.

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What are your predictions for the Vanderbilt/South Carolina college football season opener and the season as a whole? – Adam from Atlanta

Ah, we’ll have to stop answering questions right there. The Wise Guise and friends are working on a College Football Season Preview Round Table to be posted next week.

Until then, kind readers, it’s good to be back. If you like this mailbag and want to see future ones, let me know and, as always, send mailbag questions to me at thewiseguiseblog@gmail.com.  Cheers to getting a fourth perfect game pitched this season and no more 50-game suspensions!

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Posted on by Joseph Williams in Featured, Football, Misc. Posts, Movie Previews, Movies, Politics, Reality Check, Sports, Television

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