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The bedroom wall above my bed while growing up...nous sommes tous français aujourd'hui.
Last night in Paris, France, and its suburb Saint-Denis, at lease 129 people were murdered and more than 350 were injured by three separate explosions and six mass shootings in yet another series of attacks by Muslim extremists.
The day before ISIS committed "one of the worst terror attacks in European history," President Obama declared ISIS "contained."
We all enjoyed another absolutely amazing Thanksgiving dinner at Ma and Pa Youngmans. Every dish was perfect with all of my favorites present. My plate was filled, from top-right: corn casserole, stuffing, candied yams, brocolli rice & chees, and finally a good helping of turkey both dark and white meat.
Thanks to the brilliant intellect and sound logical reasoning of our nation's liberal elites, we now know my fondness for white turkey meat is because I'm racist. At least, that's the opinion of Ron Rosenbaum writing in Slate, The Unbearable Whiteness of White Meat.
Recently, we also learned that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are racist thanks to Verenice Gutierrez, principal at Harvey Scott K-8 School in Portland, Oregon. It gets better...the same guardian of higher learning who believes the sandwich that defines innocuous is a vestige of discrimination, also believes a class/club open only to boys of the right race isn't at all racist, sexist, bigoted or, otherwise, inappropriate.
While I've always believed it was obvious hyperbole to mock liberalism as a mental disease, Rosenbaum and Gutierrez make me reconsider.
Today is the customer inspired Chick-fil-A appreciation day. Our family loves Chick-fil-A so appreciating them by stopping by today was a win-win. Actually, since we ate there for breakfast, lunch and dinner today, it was a win-win-win. Their food is terrific, always of the highest quality, and nobody makes better chicken strips. Their staff is the friendliest of any restaurant whether fast-food or otherwise. And, today, I learned they also have great breakfasts. We were proud to help Chick-fil-A set all time sales records today, even if Mary and the boys had to wait in the drive-thru for over an hour tonight. It was worth it. Thanks Chick-fil-A!
Lowe's was in the news today. I was reminded of the fact on my way home from work while listening to the news on the radio. So, naturally, I stopped in and bought some stuff I didn't need; an ice scrapper and a mop.
What's the opposite of a boycott? A girlcott? A buycott?
No doubt Lowe's will come up with some innocuous reasons for its actions, be counter-protested and possibly even be made to change its actions. But, for the time being, it's nice to think a multi-billion dollar corporation can do the right thing. And, I feel good supporting that.
We all voted this evening in the Tulsa City Councilor primary election. And, when I say we all voted, I mean we ALL voted. Despite voting at 6:40 p.m., 20 minutes before the polls closed, I was only the 104th voter. How sad. I took this photo at the poll where the very nice election judges helped our boys learn their civic duty.
As you can see, Drew, Will and Landon signed the election form or, at least, Drew and Will signed it and Landon squiggled. They were with Mama just a few minutes ahead of me so I'm not sure if they all got ballots or not. I know it was a disappointing election for me as I only got to vote once since they are now checking identification ... FINALLY!!!
[At the dinner table.]
Daddy: Drew, are we Democrats or Republicans?
Drew: I don't know what Democrats or Republicans are.
Daddy: Democrats want to raise taxes and Republicans want to lower taxes.
Drew: We're Republicans. Why would anyone want to raise taxes?
Daddy: So the government has more money to give away.
Drew: We're definitely Republicans!
Random thoughts I need to get out so I can clear my head:
House: Republican gain of 60 seats (not including 10 officially yet undecided all currently held by Democrats) is the largest gain for either party since 1948, when the Democrats gained 75 seats and the largest gain for Republicans since 1938 when they picked up 80 seats. Objectively, this is a truly historic election, far more so even than 1994 when Republicans enjoyed a 54 seat increase. This is the biggest win in 60 or 70 years depending on what you compare it to. Some politicians and pundits are trying to downplay the significance, they are idiots. They should have "idiot" tattooed on their forehead so when people interact with them throughout the day, they will be instantly warned that they are dealing with an idiot.
Senate: Republicans gained 6 Senate seats (AR, IL, IN, ND, PA, WI) and lost none. Because this was not enough to gain the majority in the Senate some people are downplaying the significance of this result too. However, because elections of Senators' 6-year terms are staggered, only about 1/3 of the 100 Senate seats, precisely 37, were up for reelection compared to all of the 435 House seats who only serve 2-year terms. This was a 16.2% increase in the Senate compared to the 60 out of 435 or 13.8% increase in the House. Arguably, by the numbers, Republicans scored even bigger in the Senate.
Senate II: In 2012, there will be 33 seats up for grabs, 10 Republican, 21 Democratic, and two "independents" who are Democrats in everything but name (Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut). Republicans will likely pick up the Senate in 2012.
Governors: At this time it appears that Republicans will have a net increase of 9 Governors. Again, this amounts to an 18% increase overall (9/50) and a 24.3 % (9/37) increase when you consider that only 37 governorships were up for election.
State Legislatures: Republicans picked up 680 seats in state legislatures around the country. Compare this to 472 the GOP won in the historic midterm elections of 1994 or even the 628 seats Democrats picked up in 1974 just after Watergate. Yes, Obama is worse than Watergate.
The 19 state chamber switches so far are all Democratic to Republican except for the Montana House which was tied and is now Republican, and the Oregon House which was Democratic and is now tied. Republicans gained: AL (House and Senate, H&S), CO (H), IN (H), IA (H), ME (H&S), MI (H), MN (H&S), MT (H), NH (H&S), NC (H&S), OH (H), PA (H), WI (H&S). This is the first time Republicans have controlled the legislature in Alabama since reconstruction. This is the first time the Senate in North Carolina has been Republican since 1870. This is the first time in history, the Senate in Minnesota will be Republican. And, finally, Republicans picked up 124 seats in the New Hampshire House going from 174 to 298 seats.
The Democratic gains after Watergate were the result one corrupt politician. The Republican gains in 2010 were the result of Democrats actually implementing their failed liberal/progressive policies.
President Obama: BO is saying that the massive historical repudiation of his presidency only evidences a failure to communicate his message rather than a failure of his policies. I really hope he believes this and doesn't move to the center as did President Clinton. If BO holds this line of arrogance, he will be well on his way out the door in 2012. And, know that he believes the failure wasn't on his end, we're just too stupid to understand his greatness.
Sarah Palin: She endorsed 43 House candidates and 12 Senators. Of those she backed, 30 of the Representatives won, seven of the Senators. Excluding the still undecided races, that puts her success rate at a minimum of 67%.
"The racist teabaggers have elected Marco Rubio, and Susana Martinez, and Tim Scott, and Nikki Haley, and Bill Flores, and Allen West, and..." PatrickRuffiniAnyone, who thinks Tea Partiers are racist is simply afraid to debate the real issues of smaller government, lower taxes and greater freedom and, instead, trots out the, quickly becomingly meaningless, ad hominem attack of racism. Really, is that the best you got?
Tea Party II: The freakishly biased, hypocritical, news outlet of the Democratic party, MSNBC, reports that "Just 32% of Tea Party candidates win." The first comment currently under the story says it all, "32% is HUGE! For a bunch of blue collar people who had no organization until 18 months ago." Sorry, MSNBS (not a typo), your little headline should have read, "Tea Party wins massive 32%."
In reality, the figure should actually be 57%! In one way or another, the Tea Partiers also had to win the primaries or, at least, win over a Republican candidate. In other words, each of the winners comprising the 32% figure had to win twice. This works out to a 57% victory rate (57% wins in the primary times 57% wins in the final election equals 32% of Tea Party candidates in office). For a brand new, grassroots, unofficial, uncoordinated, group of loosely affiliated individuals...the commenter had it right...this is HUGE!
California: The Golden State elected (re-elected) Jerry Brown as Governor...really, Governor Moonbeam, again? This, even after his campaign was caught on tape calling his opponent Meg Whitman a "whore" and another tape surfacing where he admitted with regard to his prior campaign promises, "You say you're going to lower taxes, you're going to put people to work, you're gonna improve the schools, you're going to stop crime." "It's all a lie."
California also reelected Barbara Call-Me-Senator Boxer. So few have so well defined arrogance as has Ms. Boxer.
California II: Most unbelievably, every incumbent state senator or assembly member on the ballot won re-election, whether they were Democrats or Republicans...or even freaking dead!!! Yes, the very dead, bereft of life, incumbent senator, Democrat Jenny Oropeza was even reelected. The totals are 10 incumbent state senators (9 Democrats, 1 Republican) and 52 incumbent state assemblymen/women (35 Democrats, 17 Republicans).
Dear California electorate, you all are a bunch of idiots and you get what you deserve. Your state's ridiculous taxes, massively burdensome regulation, and crazy social policies have destroyed your state. Businesses and productive individuals are leaving your state in droves. And yet, you reelect every single moron of both parties who have proven their inability to govern. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. California, your ideas have failed. Enjoy your bankruptcy, you deserve it. So help me, if the federal government decides to bail out the states whose failed socioeconomic policies have bankrupted them...I don't even have words.
Oklahoma: I'd like to apologize for the blue portion of the state of Oklahoma on our U.S. House of Representatives map. Just people voting for a blue-dog good ol'boy with the right family name who are ignorant of the national consequences of sending someone off to congress with a (D) after his name.
Allen West: Now here's a guy I'm excited about! I don't know of another more brilliant, more passionate, defender of the core principals on which our great nation was founded and from which we have so far strayed. Like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Congressman-elect Allen West out of Florida tells it like it is without all the politically correct B.S. He is a man to watch. In a literal sense, I highly suggest checking out any YouTube clip of him, you will be impressed! In short, he is the complete opposite of the metrosexual-euro-socialist-weenie-anti-colonialist-anti-American-exceptionalist-terrorist-enabler that currently occupies the oval office. Finally, if you read about the circumstances under which the Lieutenant Colonel left the Army after 22 years of service, just ask yourself, is this the type of man you'd want your son or daughter to serve under. If you answer no, either you're lying, or you place a very low value on the life your child.
Wikipedia: The Wikipedia article on the 2010 gubernatorial elections is hilarious. The article focuses on the popular vote...totally irrelevant, unless you lost a bunch of governor seats but won the popular vote totals. Despite having all the vote totals, nothing about the Republican pick-up of nearly 1/4 of all the governorships. Eventually the article will be cleaned up and begrudgingly improved, but it is hilarious to see the mostly liberal edited pedia drag its feet and avoid reality. Remember, Wikipedia is surprisingly good on factual matters but embarrassingly bias on anything political. (Update, article fixed as anticipated.)
Today, May 20th, is Everybody Draw Muhammad Day. I can't draw worth a darn so I created a little animated gif of me flicking my own personal bobblehead Muhammad.
If you don't know about this important day, here is a little explanation from Wikipedia (with edits):
Everybody Draw Mohammed Day is an annual protest in support of free speech, specifically in opposition to those who threaten violence against artists who draw representations of the prophet Muhammad. It began as a protest against censorship of an American television show, South Park, "201" by its distributor, Comedy Central, in response to death threats against some of those responsible for the segment. Observance of the day began with a drawing posted on the Internet on April 20, 2010, accompanied by text suggesting that "everybody" create a drawing representing Muhammad, on May 20, 2010, as a protest against efforts to limit freedom of speech.
U.S. cartoonist Molly Norris of Seattle, Washington, created the artwork in reaction to Internet death threats that had been made against cartoonists Trey Parker and Matt Stone for depicting Muhammad in a bear costume in an episode of South Park. Depictions of Muhammad are explicitly forbidden by a few hadith (Islamic texts), though not by the Qur'an. Postings on radical Islamic websites had said that Parker and Stone could wind up like Theo van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who was brutally murdered and mutilated by a Muslim extremist.
So, if you want to stand up to those who would threaten your free speech then draw Muhammad...or Mohammed...or whatever the eleutherophobic pedophile's name is.
Yesterday the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in Ricci v. DeStefano which overruled President Obama's recent Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. Not since Kelo v. City of New London has the outcome of a case been so obvious. However, this time the Supreme Court got it right. Activist Judge Sotomayer, however, relying on her status as a "wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences," got it wrong.
Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact
Everyone knows employers cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. This is called "disparate treatment" and is a violation of the law, specifically Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There is another, less understood, form of discrimination that is potentially just as illegal, "disparate impact." An employment practice, neutral on its face, has a disparate impact when it adversely affects one protected group more than another. A classic example is the requirement of a high school diploma for a manual labor position in which a diploma isn't really necessary. Statistically, fewer minorities have high school diplomas and will, therefore, be excluded at a greater rate by the unnecessary requirement of a diploma. This results in a "disparate impact" on minorities which, combined with the unnecessary nature of the requirement of having a high school diploma, is illegal. However, note that if the position was for an entry level clerk which utilized skills one ordinarily learns in high school, the requirement of a high school diploma would be lawful despite the disparate impact it might have on minorities.
More specifically, the legal analysis of disparate impact is as follows:
"Under the disparate-impact statute, a plaintiff establishes a prima facie violation by showing that an employer uses a particular employment practice that causes a disparate impact on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. An employer may defend against liability by demonstrating that the practice is job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity. Even if the employer meets that burden, however, a plaintiff may still succeed by showing that the employer refuses to adopt an available alternative employment practice that has less disparate impact and serves the employer's legitimate needs."
Ricci v. DeStefano, 129 S.Ct. 2658, 2673 (U.S. 2009).
New Haven Fire Department
In 2003, the City of New Haven, Connecticut, needed to fill vacant lieutenant and captain positions in its fire department. In the olden days, a racially discriminatory city might test applicants for the firefighter position on yachting, ice hockey and fondue etiquette in the hopes that only whites would score well and, thus, "earn" a promotion. Now days, painstaking care is taken by specialized outside contractors experienced in creating test which relate solely to job requirements and which do not favor one race or group over another.
The Test Construction
The Charter for the City of New Haven requires the hiring and promotion process to be based on merit. This is a logical requirement if one wants, by definition, the best people to fill a position. To fulfill this requirement, the City hired Industrial/Organizational Solutions, Inc. ("IOS"), to develop and administer the firefighter examinations. Pursuant to the City's contract with the firefighter's union, the promotional tests were to be based 60% on a written exam and 40% on an oral exam.
"IOS began the test-design process by performing job analyses to identify the tasks, knowledge, skills, and abilities that are essential for the lieutenant and captain positions. IOS representatives interviewed incumbent captains and lieutenants and their supervisors. They rode with and observed other on-duty officers. Using information from those interviews and ride-alongs, IOS wrote job-analysis questionnaires and administered them to most of the incumbent battalion chiefs, captains, and lieutenants in the Department. At every stage of the job analyses, IOS, by deliberate choice, oversampled minority firefighters to ensure that the results-which IOS would use to develop the examinations-would not unintentionally favor white candidates."
Id., at 2665.
The oral examination portion was likewise constructed by IOS based on job skills and abilities:
"IOS wrote hypothetical situations to test incident-command skills, firefighting tactics, interpersonal skills, leadership, and management ability, among other things. Candidates would be presented with these hypotheticals and asked to respond before a panel of three assessors."
Id., at 2666.
There were nine three-member assessment panels each having one white, one black and one Hispanic member. Accordingly, the oral examinations were judged by one white and two minority panelists consisting of "battalion chiefs, assistant chiefs, and chiefs from departments of similar sizes to New Haven's throughout the country."
118 New Haven firefighters took the exams to qualify for promotion to the rank of lieutenant or captain.
Because there were 8 lieutenant positions open, the top 10 candidates were eligible for promotion. All 10 eligible candidates were white. Subsequently, 3 more lieutenant vacancies opened up making the next 3 highest scorers eligible, all of whom were black. There were 7 captain positions open for which the 9 highest scoring eligible candidates consisted of 7 whites and 2 Hispanics.
Not surprisingly, people who only focus on equality of outcomes and not equality of opportunity had a problem with the test results and a controversy arose over whether to certify the test results. Without knowing whether they had passed or failed some firefighter candidates spoke up in favor of certifying the exam results. One candidate proclaimed:
"every one of the questions on the written examination came from the study material. If you read the materials and you studied the material, you would have done well on the test."
Id., at 2667.
Another candidate, Frank Ricci, who would become the lead plaintiff in the fight to certify the test results stated:
"he had several learning disabilities, including dyslexia; that he had spent more than $1,000 to purchase the materials and pay his neighbor to read them on tape so he could give it his best shot; and that he had studied 8 to 13 hours a day to prepare for the test. 'I don't even know if I made it," Ricci [testified], 'but the people who passed should be promoted. When your life's on the line, second best may not be good enough.'"
A lesson for everyone who is "disadvantaged" can be found in the wisdom of Frank Ricci. If you have a hurdle or obstacle to overcome, the answer is not to seek special dispensation but, rather, to simply work harder than everyone else. Is it fair, probably not, but it's the American way. Bust your ass and you'll be rewarded. I've seen so many people in my life come to this country unable to speak the language and with no appreciable skill other than the willingness to do long hard work. They open up a small shop, work 16 hour days, sleep on a cot in the back and their children become doctors and engineers--one generation and they are at the top to the social-economic ladder. Is it fair that they had to work so hard? I don't know. But, the results are undeniable.
The criticisms of firefighters who spoke out against the exams is incredibly telling:
"And they criticized the test materials, a full set of which cost about $500, for being too expensive and too long."
For this to have been noted by the court, somebody had to decide it wasn't worth it to purchase the study materials. It was a cultural--not a racial--bias which caused someone to weigh the $500 versus potential career advancement and decided the materials were too costly. There's no question this represented a lot of money to many but compare that to the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars people routinely spend on their educations. Call me insensitive, but $500 seems like a bargain. The most amazing criticism, though, is that the materials were too long. Now there's an individual who simply wants everything in life to be handed to him or her.
One witness for the City in favor of throwing out the test results was a black professor from Boston College, Dr. Janet E. Helms, whose "primary area of expertise" is in "race and culture as they influence performance on tests and other assessment procedures." While Dr. Helms expressed several potential criticisms of the examinations, she "expressly declined the City's offer to review the examinations." No doubt because she wouldn't be able to actually point to anything discriminatory. Dr. Helms testified:
"regardless of what kind of written test we give in this country...we can just about predict how many people will pass who are members of under-represented groups. And your data are not that inconsistent with what predictions would say were the case."
"no matter what test the City had administered, it would have revealed a disparity between blacks and whites, Hispanics and whites, particularly on a written test."
Id., at 2669.
Besides validating the testing results as basically being just what you would expect, imagine the uproar and condemnation if a white person made the same statement: it doesn't matter how the test is structured, whites will always out perform blacks, especially on written tests.
Based solely on the test results, in other words, the color of the skin of the passing candidates, the City of New Haven refused to certify test results. The minority candidates who didn't pass threatened to sue if the tests were certified based on the disparate impact theory. While the primarily white candidates who did pass threatened to sue if the tests were not certified based on actual disparate treatment.
The City refused to certify the test results and 17 white firefighters and 1 Hispanic firefighter brought suit. Frank Ricci was the lead plaintiff and John DeStafano, Jr. (Democrat), the Mayor of New Haven, was the lead defendant.
The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, Judge Janet Bond Arterton, a President Clinton appointee, ruled in favor of the City, apparently finding nothing wrong with the City intentionally, knowingly, purposefully, discriminating against the white firefighters. Essentially, the trial court found out-right disparate treatment against whites to somehow be less offensive than mere good-faith fear of disparate-impact against minorities. If this doesn't make sense to you, that's OK, it didn't makes sense to the United States Supreme Court either.
On appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, a three judge panel unanimously upheld the District Court. The Second Circuit panel consisted of: Judge Rosemary S. Pooler, appointed to the District and Circuit Courts by President Clinton, Judge Robert D. Sack, appointed directly to the Circuit Court by President Clinton and Judge Sonia Sotomayor, appointed to District Court by President George H. W. Bush and to the Circuit Court by President Clinton.
Finally, on appeal to the United States Supreme Court, the decision was reversed. The Supreme Court held:
"Allowing employers to violate the disparate-treatment prohibition based on a mere good-faith fear of disparate-impact liability would encourage race-based action at the slightest hint of disparate impact. A minimal standard could cause employers to discard the results of lawful and beneficial promotional examinations even where there is little if any evidence of disparate-impact discrimination. That would amount to a de facto quota system, in which a focus on statistics could put undue pressure on employers to adopt inappropriate prophylactic measures. Even worse, an employer could discard test results (or other employment practices) with the intent of obtaining the employer's preferred racial balance. That operational principle could not be justified, for Title VII is express in disclaiming any interpretation of its requirements as calling for outright racial balancing. The purpose of Title VII is to promote hiring on the basis of job qualifications, rather than on the basis of race or color."
Id., at 2675.
In noting the legal prohibition against simply giving extra points on an exam to certain races, the Supreme Court explained:
"If an employer cannot rescore a test based on the candidates' race, then it follows a fortiori that it may not take the greater step of discarding the test altogether to achieve a more desirable racial distribution of promotion-eligible candidates-absent a strong basis in evidence that the test was deficient and that discarding the results is necessary to avoid violating the disparate-impact provision."
Id., at 2676.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court adopted the requirement that there be a "strong basis in evidence of an impermissible disparate impact" before allowing disparate treatment in violation of Title VII. In other words, the City will not be allowed to discriminate against the white firefighters by throwing out their test results (because they were all white) without a strong evidentiary showing either that the examinations were not job-related and consistent with business necessity or that a less discriminatory but equally valid testing alternative existed. The City failed to meet this "strong" burden.
As gross generalizations go, liberals who are successful are arrogant and think they reached the position they did because they are special and no common person could ever achieve what they did. Did someone simply hand out the Presidency to Barack Obama, a position on the Supreme Court to Justice Sonia Sotomayor or a doctorate degree and professorship to Dr. Janet E. Helms? Or, did they work countless hours studying, sacrificing and toiling away to be the best they could be in their chosen career paths? I tend to think the latter. But, once they reach the pinnacle of their professions, these liberals don't look down and say, "Do what I did, bust your butt studying, working and sacrificing and you will likely achieve success in the freest and greatest country in the world." Instead, liberals say, "America is evil. You can't do it. You need help." The solution often involves moving the starting line up or the finishing line back and always involves giving liberals more power to alter and manipulate outcomes to their desired preferences.
Conservatives are just the opposite. We say there is nothing special about us and that anyone can achieve success. We want to focus solely on the equality of opportunity and ignore the color of the outcome. Is the NBA mostly black, the symphony mostly Asian and the firefighters mostly white? Who cares, as long as the best people are playing ball, making the music and fighting the fires. Take a lesson from New Haven firefighter Frank Ricci, study, sacrifice and work harder than the guy next to you and you will overcome adversity and achieve success.
As the result of Chrysler's restructuring plan which the Obama administration crammed down the throat of investors, the automaker's secured debt holders, which were owed $6.9 billion, will receive $2 billion in cash, or about 29 cents on the dollar and 0% ownership in the reorganized Chrysler.
While the unsecured UAW (United Auto Workers) retiree health care trust fund which was owed $8 billion will receive $4 billion in cash, 50 cents on the dollar, plus 55% ownership in a reorganized Chrysler.
The U.S. government, which gave Chrysler $8 billion of your and my money, will get 8% ownership and the Canadian government gets 2% ownership.
Italian automaker Fiat, which put up no money, WHICH PUT UP NO MONEY, did I mention they put up no money, will take control of the merged Fiat-Chrysler entity and initially receive a 20% ownership share which can increase to 35%.
Daimler AG which owned 20% of Chrysler, was pressured to give up all its ownership interest, forgive $2 billion in second-lien loans (worse than fully secured but better than unsecured) and, just for fun, contribute $600 million to...have you been paying attention: (a) secured debt holders who have superior rights under the law, or (b) unsecured Obama supporting union thugs? Yes, it goes to the union pension plan of course.
We are no longer a nation of laws but, rather, a nation of men. The law, the Constitution, the Courts, take a back seat to who you know. This and the GM deal were nothing more than the work a thinly veiled socialist paying off the union thugs who helped get him elected.
The union majority owned Chrysler joins Government Motors as manufacturers from whom I will avoid buying from.
With today being the 20th anniversary of the the Chinese government's massacre of innocent protesters at Tiananmen Square, I was curious how President Obama would respond. What words of wisdom would he read from his teleprompters?
Nothing. President Obama is too busy on his second Sorry-Muslims-America-Sucks tour to take notice of the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square. Even if he wasn't busy bad-mouthing American abroad, Obama still wouldn't have said anything. He's too dependent on the Chinese communists to purchase his never ending billions of dollars of debt.
This year alone Obama will rack up a budget deficit -- for just this year -- of $1.8 trillion. That's four times greater than any other year...not 40% greater, which would be outrageous...but, rather, more than 400% greater! Of course he's not going to tweak the Chinese about their abysmal human rights record. He can't, he (we) have sold ourselves to the Chinese.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy-the-Tax-Cheat-Geithner was in China speaking at Peking University. With China being the largest foreign owner of U.S. Treasury bonds they are, understandably, concerned that the United State's mushrooming budget deficit and ultra-loose monetary policy will undermine the value of their investment. Not to mention that our Commander-in-Chief doesn't exactly think a "bond" means what it's supposed to mean as has been evidenced by his screwing of auto industry bond holders in favor of unsecured creditors. Geithner assured the crowd: "Chinese financial assets are very safe." His comment drew laughter from the audience.
General Motors declared bankruptcy today, which would have been a good thing if it has simply been allowed to fail, gone into bankruptcy, followed the law, unshackled itself of its unmanageable burdens, and emerged a leaner, meaner, more competitive company. But, oh no, this is Amerika in the 21st century, and now the hand of Marx and Lenin rise from the grave and guide our government loving President to take control of GM and pay back his political cronies.
The U.S. government already threw $19.4 billion at GM under the guise of keeping it out of bankruptcy when the real purpose, all along, was to use the funding as an excuse to take control of the company. Now the plan is to give GM another $30 billion of your and my money in exchange for which the U.S. government will own 72.5% of the company. The United Automobile Workers ("UAW") union will be given 17.5% of the company despite the fact that the debt owed to them was unsecured, meaning they should have received nothing. It sure pays to have the President in your back pocket. Meanwhile, the secured creditors get 10% of the company which works out to mere pennies on the dollar for their secured debt. All of this is in gross violation of all of our nation's bankruptcy laws as well as the United States Constitution.
It's like if Peter took out a $100,000 mortgage and offered his home as security for the loan. Then Peter went to his friend Paul and said, "Hey, I'm a trustworthy guy, why don't you loan me $100,000 based solely on my good word." Paul loans Peter the money hoping, but with absolutely no guarantee, that he will get repaid. Peter then goes bankrupt but instead of going through good old regular bankruptcy, the government steps in and, contrary to all laws, dictates how everything is going to work out prior to filing and declares that unsecured Paul will get the house while the secured bank will get the dog house out back.
Contrary to popular
belief lies, GM was not too big to fail. It is only the fourth largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. America would have survived just fine, but it was just too good of an an opportunity for the Obama administration to pass up to have the government take control and ownership of a major corporation.
1. Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.
2. The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved.
When it comes to war, liberals are always crying about "exit strategy" even though the only exit strategy a war should have is total victory. So, you'd think liberals would have an exit strategy with regard to government ownership of a private corporation...that is, unless they never really intend the government to give up ownership. So, what is the government's exist strategy for its ownership stake in GM? There is no current plan. You decide why, incompetence or no intention to give up control.
I swear to God that I will never buy an automobile from a state and union owned company. I will not participate in the march toward socialism and the destruction our capitalist free market system which, until government intervention, was the greatest economic engine the world had ever seen.
Today is tax day, April 15th, the day where thinking people realize that maybe, just maybe, the federal government is out of control. Two questions: one rhetorical and one actual.
1) Assuming it was legal, would it be moral to allow people to borrow money from their children and grandchildren? This would be done without the children and grandchildren's consent and without regard to whether they were even alive yet. Further, the debt is one which the children and grandchildren could never get out of by declaring bankruptcy or otherwise. What would you think of someone who lived it up while saddling their offspring with ten of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt? Obviously, such a person would be a disgusting amoral individual who, at all costs, should be prohibited from stealing from future generations.
2) Is it any less immoral if a government does it instead?
I think there is a large percentage of the population that doesn't really understands what a million of anything is. I also think there are few people who understand the concept of a billion and even fewer who understand what a trillion is...none of whom are in congress or occupy the presidency. From PageTutor.com:
$100 million (about one standard pallet)
$1 trillion (stacked two pallets high)
Remember, these are all with $100 bills. If the last image was with $1 bills it would be 200 pallets high and if it represented Obama's budget deficit over the next 10 years, mentioned yesterday, it would be 2000 pallets high!
The single most significant event in this entire economic crisis took place Wednesday and it has gone nearly unreported, or, when reported, reported in such vague, generic, terms that what really took place would never be noticed. Today, the Federal Reserve...damn, just lost 90% of my readers...as I was saying, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury together created $1 trillion out of "thin air." Cool trick, too bad it has horrible consequences for you and I.
The Federal Reserve "purchased" $1 trillion ($1,000,000,000,000.00) of long-term Treasury bonds from the United States Treasury and said it would buy another $300 billion over the next six months. "Wow," you say, "I had no idea the Federal Reserve had that much money sitting around to buy $1,300,000,000,000 worth of Treasury bonds. You silly sheep. You think the rules that apply to you and me, the rules of common sense, the notion of fiscal responsibility, apply to the buffoons in Washington who are driving our nation into the ground? Of course not. The Federal Reserve "purchased" the Treasury bonds with an accounting entry. No money...not a cent...was given to the U.S. government in exchange for the government (you and me) handing over $1 trillion dollars of bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.
"Having already reduced the key interest rate it controls nearly to zero, the central bank has increasingly turned to alternatives like buying securities as a way of getting more dollars into the economy, a tactic that amounts to creating vast new sums of money out of thin air." Source.
So what's the effect of essentially printing $1 trillion dollars and shoveling it out the door of the Treasury Department?
"But there were also clear indications that the Fed was taking risks that could dilute the value of the dollar and set the stage for future inflation. Gold prices rose $26.60 an ounce, hitting $942, a sign of declining confidence in the dollar. The dollar, which had been losing value in recent weeks to the euro and the yen, dropped sharply again on Wednesday." Source.
The amazing thing, 99% of the reporting on this just mentions the "purchase" of the treasury bonds without stating the most important part that the treasury bills weren't purchased with any money, making it all equivalent to the government just turning on the printing presses and spitting out $1 trillion dollars.
If the government's jack-booted thugs broke down your door, put a gun to your head, and took 1 to 3 percent of your money and, at the same time, forced your employer to pay you 1 to 3 % less...that might make the news. But, if the government does that to everyone by tapping away at a keyboard for a few seconds...silence.
What's been the non-stop, around the clock, news coverage today and this week, the AIG bonuses of course. Given that the total bailout commitment is currently $11.6 trillion and the AIG bonuses total $165 million, does it really make sense that all the news is focused on just 0.000014% of the total outlay? Obviously not. Why then is the news focused on such a silly minuscule subject? Two reasons: to distract from the real issues (fault and mismanagement by the Democrats) and to promote the liberal inspired "class envy" to help usher in further "reforms" in the march toward socialism.
Don't believe me? Well, we now learn that the "Administration Seeks Increase in Oversight of Executive Pay":
"The administration has been considering increased oversight of executive pay for some time, but the issue was heightened in recent days as public fury over bonuses spilled into the regulatory effort." Source.
Let me translate: The Obama administration has been looking for an excuse to push their socialist agenda of taking over and controlling private companies, and with the aid of accomplices in the Democratically controlled Congress and the liberal mainstream media, have stirred up in recent days wealth envy over contractually obligated pay packages that Sen. Chris Dodd specifically exempted from the AIG bailout in the "Dodd Amendment" because AIG bought off the lying corrupt politician giving him more campaign contributions in 2008 than anyone else.
Liberal inspired wealth envy that everyone has the right to a home as big and beautiful as they want is one of the reasons we're in the mess we're in right now. Instead of learning from this, the liberals keep pushing the doctrine of wealth envy in hopes of propelling us towards their socialist utopia/nightmare. They don't even bother to hide it anymore, as Obama said: "Out of great crisis comes great opportunity."
We now learn that "Obama's budget will produce $9.3 trillion worth of red ink over 2010-2019."
"Worst of all, CBO says the deficit under Obama's policies would never go below 4 percent of the size of the economy, figures that economists agree are unsustainable. By the end of the decade, the deficit would exceed 5 percent of gross domestic product, a dangerously high level." Source.
In plain English, "unsustainable" means that Obama is putting us so far into dept that there will be no way to get out of it. Our nation's economy will completely and permanently collapse.
I also thought I'd mention that China is now asking the United States government to "guarantee the security of Chinese assets," those assets being the hundreds of billions of dollars of treasury bonds they own, you know, just in case our country goes under. Now what does our government have to guarantee those bonds with...only one thing...land.
Read this article. It was written more than a week before this week's revelations and essentially asks the question, if Obama were trying to destroy our country, what would he do different? Answer...nothing!
President Obama is a clumsy dork...or, at least, that's what Hollywood and the Mainstream Media (MSM) would have you think if he were a Republican and/or his name was Bush.
February 10, 2009, President Obama hit his head going into the presidential helicopter Marine One.
January 28, 2009, President Obama tried to enter the Oval Office of the White House by going through a window.
During the presidential campaign, Senator Obama went bowling while campaigning in Pennsylvania to show how in touch he was with blue-collar voters and bowled a 37 for a full 10 frame game...a 37!
President Bush was, and still is, repeatedly and continuously portrayed as a clown for not being able to open a door after a Chinese Press Conference. But, Obama makes similar gaffes and stumbles and the media looks the other way. Either both men are idiots deservingly the subject or ridicule or they are both simply human and under the intense microscope of imaginable media scrutiny. I believe the latter is clearly the answer and such gaffes and stumbles should be ignored...for both parties. It's just too bad the media only gets it half right.
I've got to say though, there really is no excuse for the 37 bowling score. I don't know another physically fit adult male who would only score a 37 bowling. Obviously, he's never been bowling before, which by itself, is no big deal. The problem is that Obama thought he could just go bowling for the first time, in front of all the cameras, and not make an idiot out of himself. This requires a special kind of arrogance, some combination of thinking bowlers are a bunch of clods and believing himself to be so athletic he can do anything well the first time he tries. Any normal person knows if you've never done something before, the first time you do it, you are likely to perform somewhere between looking silly and making an idiot out of yourself. No one would ever try something completely new and foreign for the first time on a campaign trail unless...think about this for a second...unless they were so arrogant and utterly clueless about their own limitations that they have a false sense of their own abilities. When it comes to bowling, its pretty funny. But, such a serious character flaw when it comes to pulling a nation out of an economic crisis or dealing with foreign powers over nuclear weapons...not knowing your own limits and weaknesses...could be disastrous.
I won't even begin to try and cover Obama's continuous oral gaffes as entire website are devoted to the subject. Just off the top of my head I can recall Obama saying there are 57 states, misstating tornado casualties by three orders of magnitude, seeing dead people in his audience, and not even understanding what is a price/earnings ratio. I'd give my right arm for an unbiased entertainment industry and media.
I've been meaning to write something about Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday but just haven't had the time. More books have been written about Abraham Lincoln than any other president. However, I think I can sum him up fairly succinctly with just a few choice quotes.
I watched the very well done "Looking for Lincoln: Myths surrounding Abraham Lincoln" on PBS with host Henry Louis Gates Jr. One of the commentators said that it was, "important to demythologize and talk about him as having human characteristics with human failings." I couldn't help but laugh as they (PBS/Gates/etc.) actually did a great job of factually telling about the life of Abraham Lincoln including that he may have visited a prostitute once...Oh, the horrors! My laughter though wasn't at an alleged brief moral failing of Mr. Lincoln but, rather, of how PBS wouldn't in a million years provide the same factual treatment and "demythologize" and discuss the "human failings" of say, oh I don't know, MLK. You liberals...I just want to collectively hug you all and give you a great big noogie...you're just too cute!
[To be continued...]
I don't have time for the quality of post I'd like to put up. So, instead, just some headlines and links along with a rambling comment or two.
"The Federal Reserve refuse[s]...to disclose the recipients of more than $2 trillion of emergency loans from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral."The taxpayers give out $2 Trillion...a sum so huge no person can really, fully, comprehend it...and the Federal Reserve refuses to disclose where the money went. I've written 4 or 5 snide comments and none of them fully capture the insanity of this, so I'll move on.
"Benefits included cash bonuses, stock options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships and professional money management."If the company you run collapses and you have to go on your hands and knees begging to the taxpayers for a handout...more like a truck-load-out...actually closer to a cargo-ship-out...doesn't it make perfect sense that you then reward yourself with some huge bonuses and stock options?
"The government's spending commitments exploded by 25 percent in 2008, putting taxpayers more than $1 trillion in the hole [each year] even before the astronomical costs of the economic bailout were taken into account."Ummm...Dear Government...make that Dear A$$holes in Congress...you can't keep doing this. I wouldn't mind so much if my great-grand-kids could travel back in time and shove searing hot pokers in your eyes, but you'll all be long gone when our nation collapses with no way to hold you responsible. I have no words to describe your collective stupidity.
And, finally, these words of "wisdom" from our President Barack Hussein Obama:
"[W]e shouldn't worry about the deficit next year or even the year after; that short term, the most important thing is that we avoid a deepening recession."Worrying about the short term is what got us in this mess. It's what causes all messes. From CEO's worrying about the next quarter's financial results instead of the company's viability a decade down the line to politicians buying the next election with massive handouts instead of making the hard decisions in the best interest of the nation a generation from now. The only thing that matters is the long term. What would you have previous generations do? That which was best for them in the short term, or that which was best for our nation in the long term?
The most recent, insightful, and academically rigorous research reveals that FDR's New Deal big government only prolonged the Great Depression. Our nation is not great because of our government, it is great despite our government. Our nation is the economic powerhouse of the world because of business. Big business, small business and entrepreneurs the envy of the world, are what made this nation great. Not politicians and government bureaucrats. And, God forbid, certainly not government programs and the stealing from one man to give to another or the shackling of future generations with incomprehensible debt.
The United States government should be slashed on a massive scale. Whole departments eliminated overnight. Department of Education...gone. All hiring stopped. Raises halted. Benefits frozen. The word "entitlements" eliminated...you aren't "entitled" to anything. I've never been in a government office where people work as hard as at small private companies. The entire notion of our government should be reworked. Politicians should be elected who pledge to go to Washington with the goal of accomplishing nothing. At least no harm would be done which is better than can be said about most of what our government does. Seriously, have you ever heard of a single problem brought before Congress where politicians stood up and proclaimed that they ought to do nothing? That should be the most common reaction.
U.S. Stocks Slide in Dow Average's Worst Inauguration Day Drop Socialism has never saved an economy nor been the method by which all can share in the largest pie.
Not that anyone cares or can be pulled away from American Idol but here are some good videos on the whole government bailout/stimulus situation:
Good friends Matt Cassens and Kevin Gleeson over at St. Blogustine have created the Nobama Dissent Bumper Sticker proclaiming, "Dissent is the Highest Form of Patriotism." Liberals thought this was a pretty clever slogan during the Bush years. Now Matt and Kevin want see how THEY like it!
They're selling them at just over cost, so click on over and pick yourself up one.
First and foremost, let me take a moment to differentiate myself from the lunacy the far left has demonstrated the last eight years and state clearly and unequivocally that I wish President-Elect Barack Obama all the best. I hope and pray he has a four year term that is successful far beyond anyone's wildest dreams. I wish him and his family good fortune, good health and good luck. Come January 20, 2009, he will be my president and he will have my fullest support. I won't threaten to leave the country or, worse, threaten and then not follow through. I won't call for impeachment when there exist no constitutional grounds. I won't call him a liar for simply being wrong. Let nothing I write in the next four years contradict this statement. May God bless and watch over Barack Obama, his family and his administration.
With that said, Drew voted in pre-school on Tuesday.
Looks like my four year-old has more sense than 64 million Americans.
This is the "state" election results that every media outlet shows...and rightly so, since it determines electoral votes.
The is the "county" election results that no media outlet will show. Sure you can make the argument that it is distorted in favor of land mass at the expense of population centers. But, it is still is very interesting and certainly informative, enough so one might think to make the news. But, I've never seen it on television, only on the internet. Over the years I've spoken to some television only people who don't use the internet and they've never seen it shown on television either. I wonder if it showed an image favoring the Democrats if this would be different?
I heard some BO supporter say that BO won in a landslide. A little wishful thinking combined with a heaping of ignorance of history (which might help explain the support for BO). The above is President Ronald Reagan's 1984 election map (525 electoral votes to 13, nearly 60% of the popular vote to 40%. THAT is a landslide!
Here is Oklahoma's 2008 presidential voting by county. Oklahoma is the only state where every county went for McCain. Alaska has no counties, but all of its boroughs went for McCain/Palin too. But, even Alaska couldn't match Oklahoma's, highest state win for McCain, 64% to 34%. There's a reason I live in Oklahoma. God bless the Sooner State!
More Intemperate Thoughts:
This election really exemplifies the Oprahfication of America. The placing of emotions above logical thought. Never before have so many supporters of a candidate been so unable to articulate any rational reason for their choice. Interview after interview, BO supporters admitted to voting for him based on how he made them feel. That's never a wise thing on which to base a decision, any decision, let alone one as important, far reaching and complicated as choosing the leader of the free world.
Brian Williams led off his new cast tonight saying that BO was elected "despite being black." I really wish we could get away from the whole race thing. But, if it's going to be brought up, don't commit one of the worst sins there is, rewriting history. BO was not elected despite his race, he was elected because of it. Whether that's a good thing or not, this is a fact. Unless you believe a white, radically liberal, first term senator, with absolutely no accomplishments to point to, who attended a radical white racist church for twenty years and had loose ties to radical terrorists, would have beaten Hillary and then McCain...if you honestly believe that, then sure BO was elected "despite" his race.
I saw floating around the internet a photo of a bunch of babies of all different ethnic persuasions with a caption of something to the effect that now, finally, with the election of BO any of them can grow up to be president. This perfectly exemplifies the superficial thinking of the left. BO is 47, he was born in 1961 during the middle of the American civil rights movement the same year the Freedom Rides began. Accordingly, to be accurate, a group of babies from 1961 could have been used in the photo, because as BO has shown, any baby from 1961 could have grown up to be president. But, when does accuracy override feelings for liberals, after all it "feels" like only now can any baby grow up to be president.
I sure hope somebody tracks down Peggy Joseph in four years. She's the one who declared at a BO rally: "I won't have to worry about putting gas in my car, I won't have to worry about paying my mortgage. If I help him, he's going to help me." Either BO is going to bankrupt our country or there are going to be a whole lot of disappointed Peggy Josephs. I predict the following phrase will be popular in four years, "He ain't done nothing for us."
Speaking of disappointing supporters, did you hear BO start to explain away his future failures with this line from his victory speech: "We may not get there in one year or even one term." That's got to be some kind of record, going back on your promises in your victory speech. Why didn't he say this the night before the elections that he won't be able to do everything he promised?
Watch for the media's continued attempt to Dan Quayle Sarah Palin. The only reason the right got excited about voting for the Republican ticket was Palin. She is awesome! And, she terrifies the left. Smart, beautiful, a record of fighting corruption in both parties, a staunch conservative, knows how to handle a firearm and isn't afraid to use it and, horrors of horrors, she didn't murder her baby even though she knew it was a special needs child. The left is terrified of Sarah Palin and they will do anything and say anything to knock her down. Look for the continued full onslaught by the left and its lackey the mainstream media.
To anyone who may for the first time in their adult life be proud of our country, I say to you, you are not a patriot. You are nothing but a fair weather fan who doesn't deserve to enjoy the amazing freedoms and opportunities our nation has to offer. The Founding Fathers created a nation far greater and stronger than any one leader. If your pride and patriotism ebbs and flows with the political winds, you are simply ignorant and well deserving of the emotional morass that will come with future elections.
I hope I live to see the day when it is just as vile and disgusting to vote for a black man because of the color of his skin as it is to vote for a white man because of the color of his skin.
Hopefully, this will be the end of race discussions for me...what a stupid topic. But, I reserve the right to respond when others dredge up the subject.
Tomorrow is the big day. Here are some simple irrefutable facts and opinions to ponder (*warning touchy subjects below*):
* If you take race into consideration in making your vote, you are a racist. Here are the exceptions to this rule: none. If you can somehow rationalize why, in some instances, for some people, voting for or against someone partially or wholly because of the color of their skin is acceptable...then you are one screwed up individual.
* There is no limit to the amount of destruction that can be done by people whose lives are governed by their desires and passions rather than by logic and reason.
* If you want other people's money, you are a bad person. It's that simple. I wonder if we as a nation have tipped from a people wanting to be free from government tyranny to a people wanting something free from the government.
* If in response to something you perceive as a problem, your first thought is that the federal government needs to do something about it, you may be beyond help.
* If you want to get rid of the electoral college, then maybe you think you live in the country of America and not the United States of America. Brush up on your history and learn about how our nation was formed and exactly what it means to be the United States. And, if along the way, you somehow get the inkling that states' rights has something to do with racism, then get yourself some other sources because you're being bamboozled.
* If you think that avoiding an itsy, bitsy, imposition on someone such as getting a government issued photo ID and showing it when you vote is more important than the integrity of that vote, then I don't think you are an idiot, I just think you're lying and immoral because you know very well there is voter fraud but you're alright with it because it is helping your party/candidates.
* If both candidates had been in a box since before we knew they were running for office and all we had to go on was typed transcripts of their speeches and typed answers to questions and we knew nothing of their physical characteristics, whether they were male or female, young or old, good looking or ugly...and, if this would cause your vote to change, then you are an idiot and, also, see the first point above.
An observation; there appears to be a significant segment of the white population that "feels good" about voting for a black man simply because he's black, that somehow it relieves them of their collective white guilt and affirms the fact that they are a "good person" since, after all, they voted for a black man. What more proof could you want? Just one problem, you are voting for someone because of the color of their skin and against someone because of the color of their skin...there is a definition for this type of behavior, see the first point above. Not until you vote for a black person, solely because of that person's experience, qualifications and love of this country, can you feel good about voting for a black person. Until such time you are part of the problem, people taking race into consideration when making decisions...and that often leads to very bad and unanticipated (at least by you) results.
Finally, here's how stupid I am. If BO is so great, why don't whites get to claim him as one of our own...he's half white right? Why does he get to be a "black" guy...if he's equally white? Is it not a little bit weird that EVERYONE include BO himself all just agree that he's black simply because he "looks" that way.
It cracks me up, liberals (and any sane person) hate people that "inappropriately" consider race, but liberals also hate people that want to totally ignore race (me). Liberals, because they are smarter, pure of heart and moral to their core, want the sole ability to take race into consideration whenever and however they deem it necessary and appropriate...I just threw up a little in my mouth. I fear that is nothing compared to the stomach wrenching I'll be doing tomorrow night.
Does anybody care that they are about to elect an inexperienced, naive, arrogant, socialist, with absolutely no accomplishment to his name and who every enemy of our nation, enemy of freedom and enemy of democracy wants to be the next president?
I will derive no pleasure in telling you, "I told you so," over the next four years.
Journalism in America has gone from merely biased to so completely in the bag for a candidate it collectively refuses to look at honestly or hold to any recognizable standard that the once honored profession of journalism can only be described as dead. It started decades ago when people went into journalism "to make a difference." Whoa...that's the last place one should go to make a difference. A great journalist's only desire should be investigating and reporting the truth regardless of the consequences. Whether the truth serves to "make a difference" or preserve the status quo shouldn't make a difference. But, once a journalist adopts a goal, then the story gets filtered to promote that goal...and journalism dies.
(Now a bunch of semi-related thoughts that would be separate blog posts if I had time. I just need to put then down so I can stop thinking about them.)
Punish the Rich
In April, Charlie Gibson pointed out to Sen. Obama that when President Clinton and President Bush each lowered the capital gains tax, the federal government took in more money and asked, so why raise the capital gains rate? Sen. Obama responded: "I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness." In other words, even if it lowered revenue, Obama would look at using the tax system to punish the wealthy out of fairness.
This makes the same amount of sense as treating your cold by breaking someone else's arm. You really have something wrong with you, if you somehow feel better about your situation in life because the government steals more moneys from the wealthy. Where does such sick screwed up thinking end? If your kids aren't all that bright because you never read to them when they were young, never worked to engaged their minds growing up and never monitored their school work, would you feel better by feeding stupid pills to hard working, successful, smart kids? I hope not, but it's the same thing.
Spread the Wealth
In response to the recent Joe the Plumber's concern over being subject to higher taxes when he starts to earn more money, Sen. Obama responded: "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
Why are we the economic power house of the world? Is it because of our strong history of taking money away from people "for purposes of fairness" and because we used our government to "spread the wealth around"? When did flat out socialism become acceptable?
Welfare for Everyone Not Paying Taxes
Sen. Obama repeatedly says that he will give a tax cut to 95% of Americans. But, only 62% of Americans pay income tax. Accordingly, Obama is just flat out lying or, worse, he's redefining terms...which I really hate. What Sen. Obama calls a "tax cut" for the 38% of Americans who don't pay any income tax is really just plain old every day welfare. It's taking money by gunpoint from taxpayers and giving it to non-taxpayers. And, this is done without even looking to see if the recipients are hard working deserving individuals or crack addicted dope dealers...who cares...free money for everyone! As such a major focal point of Obama's economic plan, you've heard this explained by the mainstream media...right?
(Does any of this sound like a familiar Democratic lie like we heard from President Clinton before he told us this memorable line: "I've worked harder on this than anything I've ever done in my life, and while I said I'd like to lower your taxes, I can't." Worked harder...yeah, worked harder prancing around the Oval Office with his pants around his ankles.)
Double Standards - Get Used to Them
Would the media give a pass to a white candidate who admitted to attending for 20 years a racist, hate mongering, anti-American church which taught a radical race-based theology centered around white values? What about a Republican candidate with ties to a Timothy McVeigh type character? You think the media might be all over that? Heck, I still can't figure out how an ex-KKK member can be a member of the United States Senate...other than he's a Democrat and so that's OK.
When Sen. McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate, hundreds of journalist descended on Alaska to investigate her past. Where was the media's same fervor to investigate Sen. Obama's past? A few right-wing journalist have uncovered more information about Sen. Obama's past, in direct contradiction to his own statements, than all of the national media combined.
Which is easier spelling potato or counting the number of letters in the word "jobs." I got a four year old that can do the latter but not the former. Logic dictates you would therefore mock a vice-president or vice-president candidate more for not being able to count to four. But that would required an unbiased media which didn't have a visceral hatred for then Vice-President Dan Quayle, to properly ridicule Sen. Joe Biden for his numerological wisdom: "Look, John's last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word, jobs, J-O-B-S, jobs."
[UPDATE: Just a day after writing this, Saturday Night Live made another Dan Quayle potato joke,,,more than 16 years after Vice-President Quayle added an "e" to the end of "potato." The attempt at humor was trite, tired, insipid, didn't provide any new insight and didn't flow or relate to anything other than the fact that Sarah Palin was on the show. The jokes about Sen. Biden and his many gaffes...zero.]
When Sen. Obama is confronted with the poor choice in people he has chosen to associate with over the years, his response is to point out all the nice normal people he associates with and has as advisors now (ignoring his advisors who have been ex-Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac executives). The obvious response to this is that character is doing what's right when nobody's looking, or prior to deciding to run for president. My personal disgust for Sen. Obama peaked in March when it was revealed that--prior to thinking he might run for president and having to release his tax returns--in 2000, 2001 and 2002, despite earning near or more than a quarter million dollars each year, he and his wife only gave less than 1% to charity each year. Is this pattern of charitable giving indicative of an unselfish man and woman who at the core of their being have the welfare of others in their heart? Or, is it more indicative of a couple who are selfish, greedy, and who are only out for themselves?
No doubt, someone reading this will call me racist. It's a lot easier than refuting arguments or explaining double-standards. For the same reason merely calling Obama skinny had been labeled racist or just wearing white clothes, let alone, God forbid, you use the candidate's middle name. It wasn't that long ago that the media used George "Herbert Walker" Bush as much as they could to try to show him as a rich elitist since only rich elitists have two middle names (this was before there was any need to differentiate President Bush from his son). But, now using middle names might work against the media's selected candidate, so it's forbidden...and racist.
How quickly would a Republican's candidacy for president be brought to a close for uttering the phrase, "typical black person"? But, when Obama talks about how the "typical white person" reacts...well, that's OK.
Call me a proud American, who the arrogant, elitist Sen. Obama criticizes for clinging to my guns and religion. (Barack Obama: "And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.")
Oh, and lets not forget the massive voter fraud that is going on across the nation. As an example, as many as 200,000 "mis-matched" voter registrations in Ohio, with ACORN at the heart of it all. Imagine just for a moment, how quickly an organization fraudulently, illegally, repeatedly, registering hundreds of thousands of predominately Republican voters would be shut down and investigate by every media outlet and organization imaginable. Do you know the one fact the media and its fine investigative journalists will never let you know? What percentage of the fraudulent registrations are for people registering as Democrats?
Journalism is dead.
A rare glimpse, not often revealed by the media, of government beneficiaries looking to the mother pig for their handout.
Don't worry everyone, your government bailout will come. Congress can't help but act. After all, whoever heard of a politician getting in front of a microphone and telling his/her constituents that, after long consideration, the best course of action is to do nothing.
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship."
- Attributed to Alexander Tytler
This is a very rare photograph of President Franklin D. Roosevelt "FDR" giving his address to the American people after the stock market crash...or, at least that's what Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Biden would have you believe:
"When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened.'" - Joe Biden
Two problems: (1) the stock market crash was in 1929 when Herbert Hoover was President (FDR became President 4 years later in 1933), and (2) there were no televisions around at the time of the stock market crash. Televisions weren't commercially available until the late 1930s and even by 1942 there were only about 5000 total sets in operation.
Can you imagine if the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin had made this same mistake? We'd never hear the end of it! Oh, how clueless. How out of touch. No sense of history. Makes things up. Tells lies. Not fit for office. Blah, blah, blah. But, since it was a gaffe from the liberal media's Vice-Presidential candidate...under the rug it goes.
[Update: in response to a Kool-Aid drinking commenter]
Remember, the stock market crashed in 1929. From the sometimes useful, if it's not about something political, Wikipedia:
"NBC began regularly scheduled broadcasts in New York on April 30, 1939 with a broadcast of the opening of the 1939 New York World's Fair."
"It is to be noted that DuMont (and others) actually offered the first home sets in 1938 in anticipation of NBC's announced April 1939 start-up."
"The broadcast was transmitted by NBC's New York television station W2XBS Channel 1 (now WNBC-TV channel 4) and was seen by about 1,000 viewers within the station's roughly 40-mile (64 km) coverage area from their Empire State Building transmitter location." [Note that's 1000 viewers in 1939...not 1000 television sets. The number of viewers available for an experimental 1929 broadcast probably could have been counted on two hands.]
"NBC's experimental New York City station was licensed for commercial telecasts beginning on July 1, 1941."
Here is an actual picture of the 1939 broadcast by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the New York World's fair. I have found absolutely no support for the proposition that then Governor Roosevelt spoke about the stock market crash, or anything else, in 1929 on the highly experimental, 48 line resolution, very limited, television that was available at the time for which there weren't but a handful of receivers. If anyone has a citation to the contrary, I'd be very interested. And, even if you do, do you really think that was what Biden was referencing? Or, are you just trying to make some after-the-fact justification?
[I wrote most of this post last year and so it starts out applying more to individuals, but it concludes and is, otherwise, equally applicable to corporations (no matter how big) and individuals.]
Two individuals, both make the exact same amount of money.
Number One buys a house way under any idiotic here's-what-you-can-afford formula knowing full well that in 30 years before it is paid off there absolutely will be job changes, illnesses, disasters and/or other life altering events which affect his ability to make ends meet.
Number One lives well within his means, not buying the latest electronics, doesn't eat out every day, buys a used car, keeps it well maintained and drives it until it has over 200,000 miles, and a hundred other things that are not so much sacrifices as they are just being smart. Number One uses this money to buy plenty of insurance, stuff his retirement fund and put away funds for a rainy day.
Did I mention the two individuals make the exact same amount of money.
Number Two buys the biggest possible house the bank will loan him money for, since he's experienced increasing salaries and home values his whole life and such trends will naturally continue forever. Two is maxed out on his credit cards due to all the fun toys he buys for himself and all the partying he does around town. His credit is in the pits and he acquires transportation in the financially worst way by leasing a new car every two or three years. He has no savings and is depending on the government...you and me...to take care of him and pay for his health care and medicines when he retires.
And then something happens to both of the above individuals, a downturn in the economy, or an illness...or just the passage of time when Number Two's ridiculous mortgage is about to jump from a teeny-tiny teaser intro rate to a you're-screwed rate.
Can anyone tell me why the government should step in and stop Number Two from losing his home? Whenever the government comes to the rescue, all I see is people who live their lives making safe, risk-adverse, decisions being spit on.
I don't care what happens to the guy, his family, the bank that gave him the loan or the brokerage firm that invested in his loan. Let him lose the house, move into one he can really afford, or horrors of horrors an apartment, and let the businesses suffer the consequences and learn a lesson.
Let me emphasize...I actually don't have a problem with the choices Number Two makes. It's his life, he can live it any way he wants. But, when things go not as planned, he should suffer the consequences of his choices. Only then will others see that those choices truly are not the wisest ones to make.
People living their lives like idiots is not my problem...and by my problem I mean that it is not the government's problem. They need to stop being helpless little children, stop looking to the nanny state to suckle them through life and suffer the consequences of their choices.
And, if tough love multiplied by hundreds of thousands or millions of homeowners means a downturn in the economy, plummeting stock market, devaluation of the dollar, collapse of billion dollar business and increased unemployment...so be it. The short run pain is a far lesser evil than the long run destruction that would result from another massive, inefficient, eternal, government program taking us another step...giant leap...towards socialism. Have we learned nothing from the short-term gain (which is disputable), long-term destruction, brought about by FDR's New Deal?
No bailout, no government assistance, no government program! DO NOTHING! That would be the hard choice. That would be the option that would take true moral courage. Let people and companies be responsible for their actions. In the long run...which is the only thing that matters...it would be best for everyone. But, don't worry, it won't happen. The government, both Democrats and Republicans, can't help but do something. After all, they think government is always the answer. So, bad behavior and poor performance will be rewarded and Americans won't have to take their medicine and suffer through any short-term discomfort. The best part of all, you won't be around when your descendants are asking how you could have sold them out.
I am not Catholic. But, I married one and my wife and I are raising our two sons Catholic. Below is a very powerful issue ad. It does not support one candidate or the other and, in fact, treats the candidates absolutely identically.
If you consider yourself Catholic...if you truly consider yourself Catholic...I don't see how your vote could be at issue. For more information or to embed or share the video with others go to CatholicVote.com.
The mainstream media is parroting the line that "there's plenty of blame to go around" for the recent mortgage and financial crisis. If you're at all familiar with the slant of the mainstream media, you'll immediately see this as an indicator that the Democrats may be primarily to blame. So, I set out to find the answer to the question who's to blame and this is what I found:
Jimmy Carter - 1977:
In 1977, Democratic President Jimmy Carter was in the White House and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. They passed and signed into law the Community Reinvestment Act ("CRA"), which was designed to prohibit lenders from "redlining" unprofitable neighborhoods. The term "redlining" was coined in the late 1960s by community activists in Chicago. It describes the practice of marking a red line on a map to delineate the area where banks would not invest.
While redlining was real, it's origin had nothing to do with race, discrimination or anything malevolent or improper. It was solely about profitability. Banks weren't lending to people in certain locations because doing so was not profitable. If this weren't true, a company could easily come in, or start up, and open up branches in redlined neighborhoods and have a monopoly on the amazingly profitable business that was being ignored by the big bad old-time lenders. However, no such business came in, or started up, simply because there was no money, or insufficient money, to be made in such locations.
What could an innocent little law from 1977 possibly have to do with the mortgage and financial crisis of 2008? Actually, not too much. The lenders were able to either squeak out a little profit from the poor neighborhoods, break even or absorb their losses during the economic boom years brought about by Reagonomics in the '80s and the internet boom of the '90s. But, the CRA was a foot-in-the-door. After all, you don't boil a frog by throwing him in boiling water, you put him in room temperature water and slowly turn up the heat. You don't take more than half a man's earnings when you first pass an income tax, you just take a percent or two. You don't get paid family leave on the first try, you have to lie and tell the voters that small businesses won't be shackled with paying workers for 3 months of paid leave every year. Then, once everyone is used to unpaid leave, tell everyone how unfair it is that only the rich can afford to take family medical leave and that out of "fairness" we have to force businesses to pay people to sit at home and not work. Same thing with the CRA, it wasn't the worst piece of needless economic legislation the Democrats had ever hobbled the American people with but, rather, simply a foundation on which bad policy could be built.
Bill Clinton - 1993:
In 1993, Democratic President Clinton was in the White House and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. President Clinton initiated revisions to the CRA and regulatory scheme which substantially increased the number and aggregate amount of loans to small businesses and to low- and moderate-income borrowers for home loans. The revisions also allowed, for the first time, the securitization of CRA loans containing subprime mortgages. The first company to pool and repackage the loans into securities was the now defunct Bear Sterns.
White House Press Briefing by Clinton Administration Robert Ruin, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, December 8, 1993:
"In July the President asked the four banking regulators to reform CRA, to reduce paperwork in process and reward performance, and to get that done by January 1, 1994. We're delighted to report that that has been accomplished on schedule. And in conjunction with the President's Community Development Bank and financial institution legislation, which recently passed the House of Representatives, CRA reform will generate billions of dollars in new lending and extend basic banking services to the inner cities and to distressed rural communities around the country."
Clinton's strengthening of the CRA required lenders to find ways to provide mortgages to their poorer communities by loosening their underwriting standards. In other words, the banks had to make bad loans...officially called "sub-prime loans." So how do you give loans to people who simply don't qualify? Pursuant to the CRA, you get rid of objective color-blind criteria like the size of the mortgage payment relative to income, credit history, savings history and income verification. Instead, things like participation in a "credit-counseling" programs should be taken as evidence of an applicant's ability to manage debt. More on these bogus "credit-counseling" programs below.
George Bush - 2003:
In 2003, President George Bush tried to pass what the liberal New York Times described as, "the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago":
"The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios."
"The plan is an acknowledgment by the administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which together have issued more than $1.5 trillion in outstanding debt -- is broken. A report by outside investigators in July concluded that Freddie Mac manipulated its accounting to mislead investors, and critics have said Fannie Mae does not adequately hedge against rising interest rates."
"The proposal is the opening act in one of the biggest and most significant lobbying battles of the Congressional session."
So, we have President Carter laying the foundation for disaster with Bill Clinton worsening the situation beyond which even the greatest economic engine in the world can sustain, all with the help of clueless and/or corrupt Democrats along the way. Finally, the supposedly "stupid" President George Bush attempts to bring a solution to what he knew was a major problem, but the Democrats blocked him.
Follow the Money...to the Democrats:
The New York Times also said there was a "lobbying battle" over Bush's proposal to reign in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac...so, lets follow the money! Over the last ten years, from 1989 to 2008, the top three recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac campaign contributions are...drum roll please: (1) Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd and Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, (3) Democrat Senator John Kerry. What about number 2 you ask? I think someone stepped in number two because, in less than four years in office, a certain inexperienced, junior Senator from Illinois somehow managed to rise to the number (2) spot in most campaign contributions received from the, now under Federal conservatorship, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Democratic Senator Barack Obama. Change!
Barack Obama - $$$:
Now, why would these lending institutions spend such a disproportionate amount of money on a baby Senator? Because they knew it was money well spent and it all goes back to Obama's days as a community rabble-rouser, I mean, "organizer." The original lobbyists for passage of the CRA were hardcore leftists who supported the Carter administration and were often rewarded for their support with government grants and programs like the CRA that they personally benefited from. These included various "community organizations" such as "ACORN" (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). As mentioned above, it is groups like ACORN which, for a handsome fee, provide the bogus "credit-counseling" to poor borrowers to qualify for loans instead of actually having a way of paying back the loan.
Neighborhood organizations, like ACORN, also benefit themselves from the CRA through a process of legalized extortion. The CRA is enforced by four different federal government bureaucracies: the Federal Reserve, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The law is set up so that any new branch creation, branch expansion or bank merger can be postponed or prohibited by any of these four bureaucracies if a CRA "protest" is issued by a community organization. The delays and expenses associated with such a protest can cost banks huge sums of money, and the community organization not only understand this perfectly well, but count on it. The community organizations use the threat of protests to get the banks to give them millions of dollars in "donations" (read that as bribes) as well as promising to make a certain amount of bad loans in their communities. With his history as a "community organizer," the lobbyists for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac knew Senator Obama was a good buy for their money.
Christopher Dodd - Friend of Corruption:
In 2003 Senator Dodd refinanced the mortgages on his homes in Washington D.C. and Connecticut through Countrywide Financial with below-market rates because he was part of Countrywide's VIP program known as "Friend of Angelo" - Angelo being Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo. But, Dodd failed to disclose the preferential loans in any of his congressional financial disclosures. Completely unrealted to such preferrencial treatement, in June of 2008, Dodd introduced a bill in congress to bail out mortgage companies like Countrywide as the expense of hundreds of billions of dollars to the American taxpayers.
As recently as July of this year, Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, the guy who should know more than anyone how these institutions are doing...if he wasn't corrupt and/or incompetent said the following:
"To suggest somehow that [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] are in trouble is simply not accurate...the facts are that Fannie and Freddie are in sound situations...they have more that adequate capital." CNN - July 13, 2008
Don't forget, as detailed above, Democratic Senator Dodd is the number one recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I'm sure it was just a coincidence and not incompetence or corruptions that led him to believe that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in sound financial condition and not in any trouble just two months ago.
Barney Frank - 2003 & 2008:
Back to President Bush's attempted reforms of 2003, Barney Frank, then ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, said at the time:
"These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis...the more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing." New York Times - September 11, 2003
"I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness [in the regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] that we have in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidised housing." The Independent - September 25, 2003
As recently as August 25, 2008, this clueless turd told Money magazine:
"Fannie and Freddie are better off than the market thinks." Money Magazine - August 25, 2008
Such sentiments were echoed in 2003 by other Democrats who blocked President Bush's attempts at reform like Representative Melvin Watt, also on the Financial Services Committee: "'I don't see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing."
John McCain - 2005:
What about Senator John McCain? Well, in 2005, while Obama was just figuring out how to get his congressional parking sticker while taking his first
bribe campaign contribution from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, John McCain (62 on the list of Mae/Mac recipients) was the co-sponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, which the Democrats succeeded in defeating in congress. On May 25, 2006, John McCain had this to say about the need for the legislation:
"If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole." - John McCain, 2006
And, just what would the bill co-sponsored by Senator John McCain have done? From the Congressional Research Service Summary:
"Sets forth operating, administrative, and regulatory provisions of the Agency, including provisions respecting: (1) assessment authority; (2) authority to limit nonmission-related assets; (3) minimum and critical capital levels; (4) risk-based capital test; (5) capital classifications and undercapitalized enterprises; (6) enforcement actions and penalties; (7) golden parachutes; and (8) reporting."
Liberals criticized the bill because it transferred oversight and eliminated certain minor, redundant or irrelevant reporting requirements. Their complaints ring hollow when asked how in the world Mae and Mac could have possibly been less regulated? Actually, reading the bill (63 pages and 31,000+ words in my version) reveals that it may very well have provided the necessary reforms to have, if not avoided, significantly lessened the current mortgage and financial crisis.
Sounds like Senator John McCain understood the economy and economic ramifications of uncontrolled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac better than the Democrats ever have.
[If I have time, I'll add all the ex-Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac officials who were paid millions while they their drove their companies into the ground who are now advisers to Barack Obama's, on his vice-presidential search team and hold other close personal and professional relationships with Obama.]
[As long as this is, I've had to shorten it quite a bit and leave a lot out. There are a lot more bills, laws, corruptions and scandal involved. I've just touched on the highlights.]
[Rest assured, there is blame for heads of the companies involved in this crisis as well as the consumers (more on one or both of these in the future), but primary blame rests with legislators and regulators who created the rules by which the game was played.]
Collection of photos of all but 92 victims of 9/11 attacks from the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui convicted of conspiring to kill Americans, now serving a life sentence in the Federal ADX Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.
A news article came out today which correctly declared in its title: "World Wants Obama as President." My response to which is, "Duh!" Barack Hussein Obama II is wildly popular the world over. Now, why do you think so many Europeans, third-world nations, communist countries and terrorist despots want Obama to be President of the United State so badly?
Is is because they all want to see the United State of American remain the sole super power, leader of the free world, military protector of freedom and democracy, with the strongest, most vibrant economy in the world, who doesn't kowtow to Euroweenies or seek the permission of global bureaucracies when it deems it must act in its own best interests? Umm...perhaps.
Or, could it be in Senator Obama they see a leader that will put American in its place, who will cripple its economic engine, scuttle its military, bow before the bureaucrats of Brussels, Strasbourg and The Hague and join the other nations of the world as a peer and forgo its anachronistic role as leader of the world? Naw...couldn't be that!
Of course the world wants Obama, the other team always wants you bench your star quarterback and play with an inexperienced, third-string, walk-on. Who do you want for President; the man who's best for Europe and the Middle-East or the man who's best for America?
Elsewhere on the interweb, the question was asked, "What are you afraid of?" The responses seemed to mostly be about creepy-crawly things and only touched on what, to me, were real fears. I quickly penned the following off the top of my head:
I am afraid of my children being harmed by developing a health problem which I cannot do anything about or by some type of accident when I am not around to protect them.
I am afraid of not being as good a husband and father as I could be.
I am afraid of people whose lives are governed by their desires and passions rather than by logic and reason.
I am afraid of liberals and their desire to help people in the short run at the expense of doing great harm in the long run (nearly every government program ever created).
I am afraid of Supreme Court justices who decide cases by their feelings and what they personally believe is right rather than by the Constitution and what the Founding Fathers believed was right.
I am afraid of people who are ignorant and government schools whose very existence depends on perpetuating that ignorance.
I am afraid of radical fascist beliefs spread by the sword overwhelming a world corrupted by pacifists and appeasers. So many on both sides are willing to die for their beliefs but unfortunately it appears that it is those who have no qualms about killing for their beliefs who will ultimately prevail. There is a scourge on this planet and over the centuries and last few decades it has shown itself to only be growing.
I am afraid that liberal government's insatiable quest for money will one day turn to the largest pool of wealth in the world, private retirement accounts of hard working Americans.
I am afraid that it may already be too late for the United States to survive given our national debt of more than 9.6 trillion, otherwise known as $9,600,000,000,000.00, which is more than $31,000.00 for every man, woman and child, more than 124,000.000 for just my family alone. If that doesn't convince you we are economically doomed, then what about the fact that our federal government is additionally on the hook for $57.3 trillion in federal "entitlements" for Medicare, Social Security and other government programs. That's over $500,000 per household and doesn't even include state and local governments!
I am afraid when you combine the above two fears that the only solution is massive inflation so that the accumulated debt can be paid off with worthless dollars, all of which would render my hard earned saving stuffed away every month at great cost and sacrifice...worthless.
Shortly thereafter an individual deployed in Iraq posted the following:
Currently here I am afraid of IEDs, Insurgents, and the biggest fear Amry/AF Iraqis that decide to switch to the bad guys side.
To which I replied:
I'm going to put aside my list of fears for a while and just pray about yours.
Sometimes you just have to put things in perspective.
I previously reported that a producer for a national TV/radio/internet personality had contacted me when his boss saw my Hillary Clinton collage at the top of the Drudge Report for a day back in May. Well, that "personality" was Dennis Miller who recently used the collage as the first background image for his new green-screen during his Bathrobe Sessions.
Miller's Bathrobe Sessions are informal, viewer mail driven, weekly webcasts filmed in his home while Dennis is still, literally, in his bathrobe. Here, Dennis is getting ready to lower his new green screen.
We don't get Dennis Miller's radio show here in Tulsa, so it's been really nice to hear his show and see his Bathrobe Sessions over the internet. Unfortunately, the Bathrobe Sessions are part of the subscription side of Miller's website, so their viewership is limited. Here, the green screen is being lowered for the first time.
Miller's eclectic intellect is unparalleled in talk radio. While well founded in conservatism, his show is a nicely balanced mix of current events, special guests, listener calls, comedy, satire and his own brand of obscure but always interesting trivia. He's worth checking out on the radio or on the internet.
Dear Sen. Hillary Clinton (and her supporters):
So, how does it feel? How does it feel to be stabbed in the back, screwed if you will, by your own left-wing media? Who'd have though that the only thing keeping this country divided and liberals in power, a ridiculously biased media, could ever turn out to be your worst enemy.
Don't get me wrong. This isn't a slam piece, in fact, "I feel your pain." For years the mainstream media has fawned all over the Democrats as if they could do no wrong, while liberal talking points about Republicans wanting to starve children and put the elderly out on the street are parroted on the evening news. It must have been fun all these years knowing the media was at your side helping you to take on your opponents.
But now, they have turned on you. A more politically correct candidate has come along with nothing more than charisma and...ummm...well, just charisma, and all your years of hard work battling the right, fighting for bigger government and less personal responsibility, trying your darndest to nationalize 20%...an entire fifth...of the entire U.S. economy, is all lost. Let me be clear, if the mainstream media didn't have a collective "thrill going up its leg" and reported honestly and even handedly before and during the democratic primaries, you, Sen. Hillary Clinton would have wrapped up the Democratic primary long ago and Sen. Barack Obama would be a minor footnote to the 2008 presidential election.
But, then of course if that were the case, the mainstream media and Northeastern Rhino's wouldn't have selected Sen. John McCain for the Republican party and a real conservative would have been elected or maybe Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani would still be battling it out (only because I'm convinced now that Fred Thompson wasn't all that interested in running). Either way, given the hypothetical of an unbiased media, although you'd have had the Democratic nomination locked up long before the first primary and solidified by every primary thereafter, you would still be so far down in the polls compared to the Republican candidate that your war chest would be no bigger than an anorexic Olsen twin.
In closing, let me reiterate, how does it feel? How does it feel that your political demise is owed to the same media that slanted and lied to make you what you are? Wow, that's got to suck...oops, sorry, didn't mean to remind you of your time in the White House. Hope you are still enjoying the "gifts" you took when you left...you won't be back for more.
Your Imaginary Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
I completely wasted nearly 30 minutes today arguing with idiots on YouTube. I can't believe I got suckered into such a waste of time. The level of intellectual discourse there so approaches zero that it would not be inaccurate to say that it does not exist. Besides the typical name calling, the comments included factual allegations that were a simple Google search away from being shown as objective inaccuracies and the logical leaps that people took from given premises were utterly fallacious. Never again! Is there an internet for adults only?
Last night and most of today, the Drudge Report had my Hillary Clinton collage at the top of the page. Matt Drudge shrunk the image, turned it black and white and cut a little off of the bottom which contained the DanzFamily.com URL.
Even better, a producer for a national TV/radio/internet personality -- whose name you definitely know -- contacted me when his boss saw the image on the Drudge Report and said he wanted to use it on a recurring segment of his internet site. If something comes of it, I'll give out more details, otherwise I'm just flattered as I'm a big fan!
[Update:] The "personality" was Dennis Miller and details can be found here: Dennis Miller Uses My Image.
This issue came up recently elsewhere on the internet in response to various initiatives to assist poverty stricken people in third-world nations. Some of the initiatives being discussed were monetary grants and providing simple, low cost, laptops to people. The former always sounds like a good idea, but I don't think there is much evidence of its success and, at least in this country, does more harm long-term than good. The laptop idea...I've never understood.
I made a comment in the discussion that was responded to with much agreement (unusual for the internet) and praise. The comment, and my solution to third-world poverty is:
The single most important thing people need to rise out of poverty is property rights. You can have all the financial assistance and $100 laptops in the world, but if someone (a relative, a neighbor, a warlord, the government, etc.) can come in and take what you have built up away then there will always be poverty. There is an absolute correlation evidencing causation between the existence of well protected property rights and people being able to rise out of poverty and become wealthy. Man will find a way to become prosperous, if that prosperity is protected. Until the governments of poor nations are reformed, every other effort is doomed to failure.
Absent property rights, poverty is not far behind. Take for example second-world communist nations. They can have an incredibly educated populous but are still mired in poverty due to the lack of property rights. People, no matter what nation or background they are from, have near infinite potential. Their ability to make a better life for themselves and their children need only be protected.
Charlton Heston died yesterday at the age of 84 with his wife of 64 years, Lydia, at his side. I had the immense pleasure of meeting Mr. Heston and his wife in 1991 at an awards ceremony for President Ronald Reagan. Heston was incredibly humble and friendly and, if you didn't known him, you would have been unable to tell him apart from the other attendees. He was a man of unparalleled character and accomplishment.
Heston stared in heroic roles in epic films as Moses in The Ten Commandments (1956); Judah Ben-Hur in Ben Hur (1959), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor; George Taylor in Planet of the Apes (1961), "Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!"; Robert Neville in The Omega Man (1971); Robert Thorn in Soylent Green (1973); Capt. Matthew Garth in Midway (1976); and 120 other great films.
Heston attended Northwestern University until America was attacked at Pearl Harbor when he voluntarily enlisted in the United States Air Force. Heston was a B-25 radio operator and gunner stationed in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands. Like hundreds of others in Hollywood of Heston's generation, he proudly served in our nation's military in stark contrast to todays coddled stars who the USO can't even get to entertain the troops let alone fight along side them.
Heston was admired and respected by Hollywood, serving as the President of the Screen Actors Guild from 1965 to 1971, the second longest tenure to date, and Chairman of the American Film Institute Board of Trustees from 1972 to 1982 and President from 1982 to 1999. In 2003, Charlton Heston was awarded America's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Charlton Heston marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., where King delivered his famous "I Have A Dream" speech. (Above photo is Heston with Sidney Poitier and nut-job Harry Belafonte at the 1963 march.) But, Heston's favor with the Hollywood left (redundant?) dwindled when decades later the demand for equal rights which he fought for, became a cry for special rights. Combined with his staunch defense of the Second Amendment in the face of Hollywood's desire to pick and choose what rights apply and to whom, solidified the left's hatred of this great man.
Heston was President of the National Rifle Association from 1998 to 2003. In 2000, at the 129th NRA convention, Heston proclaimed: "As we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those words again for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore: 'From my cold, dead hands!'"
There's no way to do justice to a man like Charlton Heston in a few short paragraphs. However, some insight can gained from his own words. After the jump is a very telling speech he gave to the Harvard Law School Forum February 16, 1999, entitled, "Winning the Cultural War." I strongly encourage you to read it.
"Winning the Cultural War"
Charlton Heston's Speech
to the Harvard Law School Forum
February 16, 1999
I remember my son when he was five, explaining to his kindergarten class what his father did for a living. "My Daddy," he said, "pretends to be people."
There have been quite a few of them. Prophets from the Old and New Testaments, a couple of Christian saints, generals of various nationalities and different centuries, several kings, three American presidents, a French cardinal and two geniuses, including Michelangelo.
If you want the ceiling re-painted I'll do my best. There always seem to be a lot of different fellows up here. I'm never sure which one of them gets to talk. Right now, I guess I'm the guy.
As I pondered our visit tonight it struck me: If my Creator gave me the gift to connect you with the hearts and minds of those great men, then I want to use that same gift now to re-connect you with your own sense of liberty of your own freedom of thought...your own compass for what is right.
Dedicating the memorial at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln said of America,"We are now engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure." Those words are true again. I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what resides in your heart. I fear you no longer trust the pulsing lifeblood of liberty inside you...the stuff that made this country rise from wilderness into the miracle that it is.
Let me back up. About a year ago I became president of the National Rifle Association, which protects the right to keep and bear arms. I ran for office, I was elected, and now I serve...I serve as a moving target for the media who've called me everything from "ridiculous" and "duped" to a "brain-injured, senile, crazy old man." I know...I'm pretty old...but I sure as Lord ain't senile.
As I have stood in the crosshairs of those who target Second Amendment freedoms, I've realized that firearms are not the only issue. No, it's much, much bigger than that. I've come to understand that a cultural war is raging across our land, in which, with Orwellian fervor, certain acceptable thoughts and speech are mandated. For example, I marched for civil rights with Dr.King in 1963 - long before Hollywood found it fashionable. But when I told an audience last year that white pride is just as valid as black pride or red pride or anyone else's pride, they called me a racist. I've worked with brilliantly talented homosexuals all my life. But when I told an audience that gay rights should extend no further than your rights or my rights, I was called a homophobe. I served in World War II against the Axis powers. But during a speech, when I drew an analogy between singling out innocent Jews and singling out innocent gun owners, I was called an anti-Semite. Everyone I know knows I would never raise a closed fist against my country. But when I asked an audience to oppose this cultural persecution, I was compared to Timothy McVeigh.
From time to time, friends and colleagues, they're essentially friends from Time Magazine, say how dare you speak your mind. You are using language not authorized for public consumption!" But I am not afraid. If Americans believed in political correctness, we'd still be King George's boys - subjects bound to the British crown.
In his book, "The End of Sanity," Martin Gross writes that "blatantly irrational behavior is rapidly being established as the norm in almost every area of human endeavor. There seem to be new customs, new rules, new anti-intellectual theories regularly foisted on us from every direction.Underneath, the nation is roiling. Americans know something without a name is undermining the nation, turning the mind mushy when it comes to separating truth from falsehood and right from wrong. And they don't like it."
Let me read a few examples. At Antioch college in Ohio, young men seeking intimacy with a coed must get verbal permission at each step of the process from kissing to petting to final copulation...all clearly spelled out in a printed college directive.
In New Jersey, despite the death of several patients nationwide who had been infected by dentists who had concealed their AIDs --- the state commissioned announced that health providers who are HIV-positive need not...need not...tell their patients that they are infected.
At William and Mary, students tried to change the name of the school team "The Tribe" because it was supposedly insulting to local Indians, only to learn that authentic Virginia chiefs truly like the name.
In San Francisco, city fathers passed an ordinance protecting the rights of transvestites to cross-dress on the job, and for transsexuals to have separate toilet facilities while undergoing sex change surgery.
In New York City, kids who don't speak a word of Spanish have been placed in bilingual classes to learn their three R's in Spanish solely because their last names sound Hispanic.
At the University of Pennsylvania, in a state where thousands died at Gettysburg opposing slavery, the president of that college officially set up segregated dormitory space for black students. Yeah, I know ... that's out of bounds now. Dr. King said "Negroes." Jimmy Baldwin and most of us on the March said "black." But it's a no-no now.
For me, hyphenated identities are awkward...particularly "Native-American." I'm a Native American, for God's sake. I also happen to be a blood-initiated brother of the Miniconjou Sioux. On my wife's side, my grandson is a thirteenth generation native American...with a capital letter on "American."
Finally, just last month...David Howard, head of the Washington D.C. Office of Public Advocate, used the word "niggardly" while talking to colleagues about budgetary matters. Of course, "niggardly" means stingy or scanty. But within days Howard was forced to publicly apologize and resign. As columnist Tony Snow wrote: "David Howard got fired because some people in public employ were morons who (a) didn't know the meaning of niggardly,(b) didn't know how to use a dictionary to discover the meaning, and (c) actually demanded that he apologize for their ignorance."
What does all of this mean? It means that telling us what to think has evolved into telling us what to say, so telling us what to do can't be far behind. Before you claim to be a champion of free thought, tell me: Why did political correctness originate on America's campuses? And why do you continue to tolerate it? Why do you, who're supposed to debate ideas, surrender to their suppression? Let's be honest. Who here thinks your professors can say what they really believe? It scares me to death, and should scare you too, that the superstition of political correctness rules the halls of reason. You are the best and the brightest. You, here in the fertile cradle of American academia, here in the castle of learning on the Charles River, you are the cream. But I submit that you, and your counterparts across the land, are the most socially conformed and politically silenced generation since Concord Bridge. And as long as you validate that and abide it...you are - by your grandfathers' standards - cowards.
Here's another example. Right now at more than one major university, Second Amendment scholars and researchers are being told to shut up about their findings or they'll lose their jobs. Why? Because their research findings would undermine big-city mayor's pending lawsuits that seek to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from firearm manufacturers. I don't care what you think about guns. But if you are not shocked at that, I am shocked at you. Who will guard the raw material of unfettered ideas, if not you?
Who will defend the core value of academia, if you supposed soldiers of free thought and expression lay down your arms and plead, "Don't shoot me." If you talk about race, it does not make you a racist. If you see distinctions between the genders, it does not make you a sexist. If you think critically about a denomination, it does not make you anti-religion.
If you accept but don't celebrate homosexuality, it does not make you a homophobe. Don't let America's universities continue to serve as incubators for this rampant epidemic of new McCarthyism.
But what can you do? How can anyone prevail against such pervasive social subjugation? The answer's been here all along. I learned it 36 years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., standing with Dr. Martin Luther King and two hundred thousand people. You simply...disobey. Peaceably, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely. But when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don't. We disobey social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom. I learned the awesome power of disobedience from Dr. King...who learned it from Gandhi, and Thoreau, and Jesus, and every other great man who led those in the right against those with the might.
Disobedience is in our DNA. We feel innate kinship with that disobedient spirit that tossed tea into Boston Harbor, that sent Thoreau to jail, that refused to sit in the back of the bus, that protested a war in Vietnam. In that same spirit, I am asking you to disavow cultural correctness with massive disobedience of rogue authority, social directives and onerous laws that weaken personal freedom.
But be careful...it hurts. Disobedience demands that you put yourself at risk. Dr. King stood on lots of balconies. You must be willing to be humiliated...to endure the modern-day equivalent of the police dogs at Montgomery and the water cannons at Selma. You must be willing to experience discomfort. I'm not complaining, but my own decades of social activism have taken their toll on me.
Let me tell you a story. A few years back I heard about a rapper named Ice-T who was selling a CD called "Cop Killer" celebrating ambushing and murdering police officers. It was being marketed by none other than Time/Warner, the biggest entertainment conglomerate in the world. Police across the country were outraged. Rightfully so-at least one had been murdered. But Time/Warner was stonewalling because the CD was a cash cow for them, and the media were tiptoeing around it because the rapper was black. I heard Time/Warner had a stockholders meeting scheduled in Beverly Hills. I owned some shares at the time, so I decided to attend. What I did there was against the advice of my family and colleagues. I asked for the floor. To a hushed room of a thousand average American stockholders, I simply read the full lyrics of "Cop Killer"- every vicious, vulgar, instructional word.
"I GOT MY 12 GAUGE SAWED OFF
I GOT MY HEADLIGHTS TURNED OFF
I'M ABOUT TO BUST SOME SHOTS OFF
I'M ABOUT TO DUST SOME COPS OFF..."
It got worse, a lot worse. I won't read the rest of it to you. But trust me, the room was a sea of shocked, frozen, blanched faces. The Time/Warner executives squirmed in their chairs and stared at their shoes. They hated me for that. Then I delivered another volley of sick lyric brimming with racist filth, where Ice-T fantasizes about sodomizing two 12-year old nieces of Al and Tipper Gore.
"SHE PUSHED HER BUTT AGAINST MY..."
Well, I won't do to you here what I did to them. Let's just say I left the room in echoing silence. When I read the lyrics to the waiting press corps, one of them said "We can't print that."
"I know," I replied, "but Time/Warner's selling it."
Two months later, Time/Warner terminated Ice-T's contract. I'll never be offered another film by Warner's, or get a good review from Time magazine. But disobedience means you must be willing to act, not just talk. When a mugger sues his elderly victim for defending herself...jam the switchboard of the district attorney's office. When your university is pressured to lower standards until 80% of the students graduate with honors...choke the halls of the board of regents. When an 8-year-old boy pecks a girl's cheek on the playground and gets hauled into court for sexual harassment...march on that school and block its doorways. When someone you elected is seduced by political power and betrays you...petition them, oust them, banish them. When Time magazine's cover portrays millennium nuts as deranged, crazy Christians holding a cross as it did last month...boycott their magazine and the products it advertises.
So that this nation may long endure, I urge you to follow in the hallowed footsteps of the great disobedience's of history that freed exiles, founded religions, defeated tyrants, and yes, in the hands of an aroused rabble in arms and a few great men, by God's grace, built this country. If Dr. King were here, I think he would agree.
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
I too have a dream, that liberal elitists and race-pimps will join in Martin Luther King's dream and stop focusing on people's skin color.
Whatever last vestiges of racism that still exist will never be eliminated as long as some people demand double-standards and special (not equal) treatment based solely on race. As long as some I-know-what's-best academic thinks it's OK for them to take race into consideration, there will always be some ignorant racist cracker moron who thinks they too should be allowed to consider one's race.
Only when we all finally join together to recognize that all men are created equal and should be treated equally...without exception...can the dream become a reality. Unfortunately, that won't happen as long as there are those who have more to benefit from the continued existence of racism than from its elimination. That goes double for the self-appointed hyphenated-American spokespeople who benefit more from a devolving sub-culture than from the advancement of the people they claim to represent.
[Image by Denny Dent.]
April 1st, besides being the worst day of the year to surf the internet, it's about the time I sit down to finalize our taxes. There's no sense in doing it any earlier since we either owe a little or will put any overage towards this year's estimated taxes.
I do my taxes the way God intended taxes to be done (that's a joke, God didn't invent taxes...his counterpart did), by hand, on paper, with my trusty HP-15c, written out and filed by mail...zero computers or assistance. If I can't figure it out...I don't have to pay it. Seriously, the idiots that pass the tax laws can't do their own taxes, study after study has shown you can't rely on advise from the IRS...if the day comes that I can't figure out what I owe...then I don't owe anything. At this point I've come to believe that either you are for the Fair Tax, or you don't understand the Fair Tax.
I've never understood people who are happy about getting a big fat tax return. Whenever I hear someone all excited about their tax return I always ask them to loan me $100 a month for the next twelve months and then after sixteen months I'll give them their $1200 back. No one ever takes me up on the offer. I even had one person recently tell me, "Well, that's different." Um...no it's not!
Anyway, please excuse me for the next couple of week if I'm a little less tolerant than polite company should be about certain subjects: taxes, social security, entitlement programs, government spending, government debt, government operation...heck, anything government.
With Fred Thompson dropping out of the presidential race, the Danz Family is throwing its support behind Mitt Romney. There are a lot of challenges facing our nation, but getting the economic engine that drives our nation running at maximum potential is, arguably, the most important. Someone once said that the First Amendment is the most important because with it you can get back all the others. Likewise, with a strong economy, you can then tackle all the other troubles facing our nation. Whereas with a weak economy, other problems become far more difficult if not insurmountable. No one in this campaign has anywhere near the business acumen of Mitt Romney. We believe he is the best candidate to lead us into the future.
The worst, of course, would be a candidate that would drive us closer to socialism. Seriously, how do you think our nation became as great as it is/was? Was it due to the greatness of our government or the greatness of our market driven economy and the incredible economic freedom our nation provides to people? As our nation struggles to maintain its stature in the world, what will help it along? More government give-away programs? Or, a leader that understands business and what is needed to stoke our economic furnace?
And, let me address the "Mormon" issue. Dear unbelievably clueless liberal mainstream media, coming from a non-denominational Christian and a Catholic, we have absolutely no problem with Mitt Romney being Mormon...the only problem with Mitt Romney is that he's not Mormon enough!
Here is a nice little gadget for keeping track of both the Republican and Democratic presidential delegate totals:
(USS Shaw exploding during attack on Pearl Harbor.)
I wrote a pretty good post last year about Pearl Harbor Day. Good thing I checked, as I was about to write a similar piece again.
Let me just say, I can't tell you how thankful I am that we didn't have around back then the same liberal mainstream media, disgraceful Hollywood trash, appeasers, cowards, cut-and-run advocates, surrender monkeys and flat out traitors that we have to deal with now.
As the United States Supreme Court considers today various cases relating to the "War on Terror," consider how America dealt with German Nazi Saboteurs in 1942. On June 27, 1942, eight Germans were caught on American shores before they were able to commit any acts of sabotage as part of the Nazi Operation Pastorius.
Roosevelt realized that neither the death penalty nor secrecy could be guaranteed in a civilian trial, so he issued a proclamation that established a military tribunal...which was held in secret at the Justice Department.
Despite the would-be saboteurs pleading innocent, denouncing Hitler and insisting they had no intention of actually engaging in sabotage, they were all sentenced to death. Although, President Roosevelt commuted one sentence to life and another to 30 years for helping in the arrest and prosecution. On August 8, 1942, the remaining 6 of 8 German would-be saboteurs were electrocuted.
Think about that timeline...caught June 27...tried during July...executed August 8. Further, none of them ever harmed anyone or anything. That's the attitude and actions it took to win World War II.
Oh, and to bring today's little history lesson full circle with the matters being considered by the United States Supreme Court today, the lawyers for the Germans attempted to have the case tried in a civilian court, but were rebuffed by the Supreme Court in Ex Parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1 (1942), which held:
[T]he law of war draws a distinction between the armed forces and the peaceful populations of belligerent nations and also between those who are lawful and unlawful combatants. Lawful combatants are subject to capture and detention as prisoners of war by opposing military forces. Unlawful combatants are likewise subject to capture and detention, but in addition they are subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals for acts which render their belligerency unlawful. The spy who secretly and without uniform passes the military lines of a belligerent in time of war, seeking to gather military information and communicate it to the enemy, or an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals.
Look for a 5 to 4 decision coming down from our current Supreme Court...the 4 justices being ones that would have lost us WWII and would have us lose whatever it is we're fighting now if they and their ilk had their way.
Great Quotations III
The random quotes in the left-hand column have grown to twenty-seven. I previously posted the first thirteen and then the next eight, and below are the latest six (I count two on the superiority of a small government as one):
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
- John Stewart Mill, British philosopher
"Opposition to the war in this country is the greatest single weapon working against the U.S."
- Richard Nixon, 1966
"Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one."
- Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776
"That government is best which governs least."
- Thomas Jefferson - Thomas Paine
"If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."
- Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, 1776
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated."
- Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, 1776
"If any group of citizens is uniquely unqualified to tell someone else how to vote, it's those of us who live in the sheltered, privileged arena of celebrityhood...the idea of choosing the Leader of the Free World based on the advice of someone who lives in the cloistered world of stardom seems a bit loony to me."
- Pat Sajak, Wheel of Fortune Host, 2007
The other day I was watching a "news" program on television with three liberal talking heads -- they didn't even bother to have a token conservative or independent. The three pundits were all mocking Hillary for taking both sides of every issue she confronts. They were joking and laughing and pointing out instance after instance where she said one thing and a few months or even just a few minutes later, said the exact opposite. The thing that amazes me, all three will likely vote for her in the primary and certainly vote for her in the general election. I just don't understand.
Throughout history candidates have always been weasely and avoided taking stands on issues. But, never in history has there been a candidate who has come down so solidly on one side, only to come down on the other side later on. To the people that support Hillary Clinton: do you know, I mean really truly know, what she stands for? I think deep down inside, without any external influences, she is a Marxist. But, I wouldn't bet the house on it. Again, to the people that support her, name something that you believe Hillary Clinton absolutely truly stands for, something that is at the core of her beliefs. Health care? Abortion? Whatever the issue, now imagine that somehow Hillary Clinton could be president if she switched sides on that issue. Do you think for a second that she would stand by her alleged convictions and watch the presidency slip away. Of course not. The only thing that is "core" to Hillary Clinton is power and that is why she flip-flops on so many issues. She doesn't have any beliefs of her own, other than what she thinks she needs to put forth at the moment to further her march towards the White House.
If you think Hillary Clinton supports an issue that is important to you, you better hope she continues to think that issue will help her in her quest for power. Because, if the tides change and your issue is no longer politically expedient for Ms. Clinton to support...you're out of luck!
In honor of Hillary Clinton's many faces, I have put together the following montage:
And, should anyone want to use the Hillary Clinton faces montage elsewhere but would like a horizontal version, here it is -- click to pop:
Hat tip zombietime.
The Golden Compass fantasy film featuring Nicole Kidman and many other stars is scheduled to be released to theaters on December 7, 2007, in time for the Christmas movie season. The film is based on the book Northern Lights (released in the U.S. as The Golden Compass) which is the first book in a trilogy entitled His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. Books two and three are The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, respectively.
With regard to Mr. Pullman, his books and the movie, lets just say that I am not a fan. But, rather than hearing my opinion, let's hear from Mr. Pullman himself:
"I've been surprised by how little criticism I've got. Harry Potter's been taking all the flak. I'm a great fan of J.K. Rowling, but the people - mainly from America's Bible Belt - who complain that Harry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven't got enough in their lives. Meanwhile, I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God."
"I read [C.S. Lewis's books] when I'd already grown up, and I thought they were loathsome, full of bullying and sneering, propaganda, basically, on behalf of a religion whose main creed seemed to be to despise and hate people unlike yourself."
"I loathe the Narnia books, and I loathe the so-called space trilogy, because they contain an ugly vision."
"I don't say [in The Amber Spyglass], There is no God. I say: There is a God, and here he is dying - and this is what I was particularly pleased with, as a result of an act of charity. And he goes with a sigh of the most profound and exhausted relief."
"But when you look at organized religion of whatever sort - whether it's Christianity in all its variants, or whether it's Islam or some forms of extreme Hinduism - wherever you see organized religion and priesthoods and power, you see cruelty and tyranny and repression. It's almost a universal law."
Let me be clear. I've never shared in the anti-religious criticisms of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Ms. Rowling is a self-professed Christian whose books, I believe, are as harmless as the Bewitched television show I grew up watching. While the subject matter may make some uncomfortable, I don't believe there is any intent to undermine Christianity in her readers. Mr. Pullman is any entirely different story. He is a militant atheist who's stated intent is not to just undermine God in the hearts and minds of children but to kill him off entirely. Philip Pullman fancies himself as an anecdote to C.S. Lewis and wishes his trilogy would have the opposite effect that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Chronicles of Narnia have had on the world.
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has described the film and Mr. Pullman's books very well:
"It is [Mr. Pullman's] objective to bash Christianity and promote atheism to kids. "The Golden Compass" is a film version of the book by that name, and it is being toned down so that Catholics, as well as Protestants, are not enraged.
The second book of the trilogy, The Subtle Knife, is more overt in its hatred of Christianity than the first book, and the third entry, The Amber Spyglass, is even more blatant. Because "The Golden Compass" is based on the least offensive of the three books, and because it is being further watered down for the big screen, some might wonder why parents should be wary of the film.
The Catholic League wants Christians to stay away from this movie precisely because it knows that the film is bait for the books: unsuspecting parents who take their children to see the movie may be impelled to buy the three books as a Christmas present. And no parent who wants to bring their children up in the faith will want any part of these books."
The Catholic League has also posted a video critique.
Philip Pullman is a brilliant author and judging by the previews, the movie appears to be visually sensational and that is the real danger. Unlike the other mindless drivel that comes out of Hollywood, The Golden Compass and the two movies that will surely follow, have been meticulously crafted from inception for the purpose of destroying Christian faith in children and young adults. I'm not big into boycotting things, and I'm not suggesting that you don't see the film. I simply want people to know what they are walking into when they enter the theater. As for me and my family, it's a busy time of year, I imagine we just may find better things to do with our time than see this film.
Al Gore has won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. The liberal mainstream media (redundant?) will of course play it up like it's some kind of honor (which all the other Nobel prizes really are) and won't tell you that the Nobel Peace Prize is really a complete joke.
Just a little history of the worthless, politically motivated, anti-American, nothing to do with "peace" prize:
2005: Mohamed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency won the Nobel Peace Prize for their work fighting nuclear proliferation. Under their watch only India, Pakistan, and North Korea tested atomic bombs, while Iran's nuclear weapons program continued unimpeded and Libya revealed it had a nuclear weapons program for years. In case my sarcasm is not clear, without Mr. ElBaradei or the IAEA the result would have been exactly the same or some other person or body would have stepped in and actually done something.
2004: Wangari Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize for which her qualifications can best be summed up in her own words: (1) "Some say that AIDS came from the monkeys, and I doubt that because we have been living with monkeys (since) time immemorial, others say it was a curse from God, but I say it cannot be that." (2) "In fact it (the HIV virus) is created by a scientist for biological warfare." (3) "It is a tool to control (black people) designed by some evil-minded scientists."
2003: With it becoming increasingly obvious in 2003 that Iran was the source of much of the violence throughout the Middle East, the Nobel Peace Prize was award to Shirin Ebadi who is nothing more than a tool for Ayatollah government and who advocated non-existent reforms meant to pacify Iranians against complete rebellion. Ms. Ebadi never failed to tow the party line blaming Israel, America and the West for her nation's ills and arguing that Islam "needs to be better understood and to be interpreted more intelligently." Which actually may be true, in that I'm too stupid to understand hacking people's heads off and purposely targeting civilians.
2002: Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize the significance of which was summed up by Gunnar Berge, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, who expressly admitted that the award was meant as a slap in the face of President George W. Bush for initiating war in Iraq. When asked if the selection of the former president was a criticism of President Bush, Mr. Berge, replied: "With the position Carter has taken on this, it can and must also be seen as criticism of the line the current U.S. administration has taken on Iraq." President Carter's attacks on Israel and sanctification of fraudulent "elections" of dictator's and murderous thugs no doubt also impressed the Nobel committee.
2001: Kofi Annan and the United Nations won the Nobel Peace Prize for...ummm...can anyone name anything positive the United Nations has ever accomplished? After looking it up, the award was "for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world." Let me rephrase that more accurately, "for their work for better organized attacks against the United States and more peaceful conditions under which third-world dictatorial thugs can flourish."
1994: Yassir Arafat shared the Nobel Peace Prize for his lifetime of achievement as the terrorist leader of the PLO which sends suicide bombers into civilian areas for the express purpose of murdering and maiming as many innocent women and children as possible. Arafat, of course, went on to plunder billions from his people and die of AIDS.
1990: Mikhail Gorbachev won the Nobel Peace Prize for having the Soviet Union crumble around him in defeat. But for the Nobel Committee's hatred of the U.S. and its status as the sole remaining super power, the award would obviously have gone to the one man who stood up to the Soviet Union and challenged Gorbachev to "tear down this wall." Giving the Peace Prize to Gorbachev is like recognizing the driver of Rosa Parks' bus as a civil rights leader.
1988: Unbelievably, or perhaps consistently, the United Nations Peacekeepers won the award for...again I forget...was it for the rape of children and refugees, for their protection of dictators and terrorists, for corruption on the largest scale ever seen by mankind or for simply having never done anything of use that wasn't actually accomplished by the United States?
Finally, you ask, what does alleged global warming have to do with peace? Well, the Nobel committee explained (emphasis mine):
Extensive climate changes may alter and threaten the living conditions of much of mankind. They may induce large-scale migration and lead to greater competition for the earth's resources. Such changes will place particularly heavy burdens on the world's most vulnerable countries. There may be increased danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states.
I see this method of supposed logic sometimes in reading court opinions. It is a fine example of first reaching the conclusion and then attempting to justify it. In other words, there is no, or there is only a really strained, justification for awarding a peace prize to a peddler of questionable environmental science.
Just to be clear, all of the other Nobel Prizes are an incredible honor to receive. It is only the Nobel Peace Prize which is a complete joke. Besides being non-political, all the other Nobel Prizes are for scientific achievement...another reason Al Gore couldn't receive one of them.
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who, although being intelligent, educated and generally informed about issues, stated that before the Iraq war our leaders were divided on the issue of whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. I thought he knew better.
For the record, despite what the mainstream media now tells us, everyone...democrats and republicans, liberals and conservatives...were all in agreement in our belief that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction ("WMDs"). All of the following individuals are democrats...you know the ones who never get accused of lying about WMDs.
"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
- President Bill Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
- President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998.
"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leader of a rogue state can use biological or chemical weapons on us or our allies is the greatest security risk we face."
- Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Feb 18, 1998
"Hussein has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
- Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998
"[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
- Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry and others Oct. 9, 1998
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Dec. 16, 1998
"There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a illicit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
- Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham and others, Dec. 5, 2001
"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
- Sen. Carl Levin, Sept. 19, 2002
"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sept. 27, 2002
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons."
- Sen. Robert Byrd, Oct. 3, 2002
"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
- Sen. John Kerry, Oct. 9, 2002
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction...[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime...He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. And now he has continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction...So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real."
- Sen. John Kerry, Jan. 23. 2003
"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002
"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do."
- Rep. Henry Waxman, Oct. 10, 2002
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
- Sen. Hillary Clinton, Oct. 10, 2002
"I agree with and have long supported the ultimate goal of disarming Saddam Hussein. Removing this despicable tyrant from power will make the world a safer place."
- Sen. Harry Reid, March 17, 2003
Since I started with President Bill Clinton, lets close with Bill Clinton...from after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Second Gulf War on March 20, 2003:
"That's why I supported the Iraq thing. There was a lot of stuff unaccounted for. So I thought the President had an absolute responsibility to go to the U.N. and say, "Look, guys, after 9/11, you have got to demand that Saddam Hussein lets us finish the inspection process." You couldn't responsibly ignore [the possibility that] a tyrant had these stocks. I never really thought he'd [use them]. What I was far more worried about was that he'd sell this stuff or give it away. Same thing I've always been worried about North Korea's nuclear and missile capacity. I don't expect North Korea to bomb South Korea, because they know it would be the end of their country. But if you can't feed yourself, the temptation to sell this stuff is overwhelming. So that's why I thought Bush did the right thing to go back. When you're the President, and your country has just been through what we had, you want everything to be accounted for."
- President Bill Clinton, Time Magazine, June 28, 2004
Given the resources that are available today via the internet, anyone who argues that it was only Bush, the republicans and/or conservatives who argued Iraq had WMDs must be ignorant (and willfully so) or just plain lying.
OK, that may be a little harsh given the manipulative abilities of the mainstream press to bury truth, promote fiction and rewrite history. If it were up to me, the second anyone in front of a microphone used the phrase "Bush lied..." they'd be instantly cut off, the record would be set straight that (1) it wasn't just Bush, and (2) an incorrect assertion is not automatically a lie, then the person would be allowed to correct themselves and continue and if they refused to correct themselves, they wouldn't be allowed on the air. Yeah, yeah, I know, it wouldn't work, censorship, blah, blah, blah, but wouldn't it be nice.
I learned today that the greatest conservative (officially objectivist) editorial/political cartoon ever published will no longer be produced. John Cox and Allen Forkum the creative geniuses behind Cox & Forkum are refocusing their efforts on other endeavors.
Cox & Forkum were unparallel in their ability to absolutely nail an issue with their wit and artistic talent. While the biggest newspapers in America, their very existence dependant on free speech, cowardly censored themselves from publishing Muhammad cartoons, Cox & Forkum fearlessly used their mightily pen and ink to point out the massive hypocrisy associated with radical Islam.
The departure of Cox & Forkum from The editorial cartoon world...desperately in need conservative input...leaves a gaping void in objective and artistic commentary.
After much research, consideration and prayer, I have come to a preliminary decision on the Republican candidate to support in the 2008 Presidential election. Below are four men of outstanding character and accomplishment, any one of which could well lead our nation and do it a thousand times better than anything the Democratic party is putting forth. Seriously a Marxist, a trial lawyer, a man who's greatest accomplishment is being polished and some other left-wing unknowns, if not for the mainstream media simply being the propaganda arm of the Democratic party, this nation would not be divided and the choice for President would simply be one of these four:
JOHN MCCAIN: I have trouble saying anything bad about John McCain because he is a true war hero. He was a prisoner of war for five and a half years mostly in the infamous Hanoi Hilton where he was frequently tortured and yet despite being tortured, he refused an offer to be freed early due to his father being the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Command, the commander of all U.S. forces in Vietnam. John McCain so believed in the principle of "first in, first out" that he chose continued torture over a trip home. As the result of his brutal treatment at the hand of the Vietnamese communists, John McCain to this day cannot raise his hands above his shoulders and has to have assistance in such mundane tasks as combing his hair. And yet, I've never heard him talk about these things yet alone use them as a campaign tool. Compare that type of character to 2004 candidate John-I-Served-In-Vietnam-Kerry. Real men don't have to tell tales, their stories are legend.
With that said, and with my unqualified gratitude to Mr. McCain for his service to our nation, there are just too many issues on which he stands that prohibit me from supporting his presidential candidacy. The biggest two are his desire to reward and grant immunity to illegal aliens and his sponsorship of grossly unconstitutional campaign finance reform. There are many other smaller issues too, all of which combine to overcome my immense respect for this fine man.
MITT ROMNEY: America's business is business. What's good for GM is good for America. There is no other candidate with anywhere near the business acumen of Mitt Romney. His success in the private sector doing what Americans do best is unparalleled in any candidate for the presidency now or ever that I can recall. Mitt Romney knows business. He has proven himself a successful leader, not only in the private sector but also as governor of Massachusetts and as President and CEO of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games which he took over and turned around after it was rocked with heavy dept and allegations of bribery.
Further, and perhaps just as important, this stand-up conservative was elected as the governor of one the must fruitcake liberal, left-wing, nut-job states in the country. The same state that repeatedly sends Chappaquiddick Ted back to the United States Senate elected Mitt Romney. Whatever black magic he's got in his bag I'd love to see it work in the general election. I'd be plenty happy if Mitt Romney were President. I think he'd do a great job of working with the left (not just caving in to them which the MSM considers "working with"), reforming our government and creating an environment most favorable to economic growth.
RUDY GIULIANI: As bad as September 11, 2001, was for America, the following day September 12 was a great day. Perhaps never has our nation been so united. Everyone, together, as one nation, wanted to strike back at those who would commit such a heinous act. Of all the candidates, I think Rudy Giuliani most remembers September 12 and would do what is necessary to protect our nation and take on the scum the oozes from the trash dumps of the world. He's perhaps not the best candidate on various social issues, but such positions probably make him more viable in the general election.
Rudy Giuliani shares the same cross-over appeal as Mitt Romney, getting himself twice elected mayor in a city who's average citizenry give a whole new meaning to the word diversity and in a state who twice elected carpetbagger Marxist Hillary Clinton. The nation would clearly benefit if it was led by the same person who showed himself to be such an incredible leader in the wake of unimaginable disaster.
FRED THOMPSON: By most any current indication, there is little to distinguish the conservatism of these four candidates. However, on some important issues, each of the above have been a little late to the table. Fred Thompson stands alone as having always been a consistent staunch conservative. While still in school he campaigned for Barry Goldwater the father of the modern conservative movement, and over the years he has maintained the most consistent conservative views and voting record of any other candidate. Despite Bill Clinton and Al Gore winning Tennessee in 1992 and 1996, Fred Thompson won the Senate seat vacated by Al Gore in the 1994 election despite originally being 20 points down in the polls. He went on to win again in 1996 with the most votes ever received by a candidate in Tennessee for any office.
The heart of Fred Thompson's political beliefs is the concept of Federalism and that when people seek solution to a problem one must ask: "Is this something government should be doing? If so, at what level of government?" As a former member of the Federalist Society, nothing warms my heart more than a candidate whose core belief is that government is not the solution to all problems and, in the rare instances when it is the solution, one must determine what level of government is best to offer a solution, the preference always being local is better. Fred Thompson's speeches are inspiring. He not only says the right things but backs his positions with conservative ideology and passion missing from the other candidates and their equally correct answers. Fred Thompson does not walk on water and I can easily find things for which to criticize, but I know of no other candidate more qualified to lead and inspire our nation.
As I first said, my support for Fred Thompson is preliminary. I am always open to learning more about the candidates, their stance on the issues and their performance on the campaign trail. However, as it stands now, the Danz Family supports Fred Thompson to be the next President of the United States. I urge you to also support Fred Thompson.
I've previously chronicled Google's special logos that it puts up for a variety of holidays and its utter failing to ever recognize Memorial Day or 9/11. So, on Tuesday, it came as no surprise when Google again failed to remember those that lost their lives on that fateful day. Also, as before, the search engine Dogpile rose to the occasion and showed Google exactly what class looks like.
But, Google surprised even me today when it chose to honor a well known virulent Jew-hater. Google's logo for the day recognizes Roald Dahl and three of his popular book. Avid reader Matilda, from the novel of the same name sits on the "G" surrounded by books, the second "O" is replaced with a peach floating on water with a tiny figure aboard it from James and the Giant Peach and the "L" is replaced with a partially-unwrapped chocolate bar with a Golden Ticket inside from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
It's unfortunate Google doesn't have access to some type of search function that might have made them aware of Roald Dahl anti-semitic statements such as:
"There’s a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity...I mean there is always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason." - Roald Dahl
"Never before has a state generated so much sympathy around the world and then, in the space of a lifetime, succeeded in turning that sympathy into hatred and revulsion...It is as though a group of much-loved nuns in charge of an orphanage had suddenly turned around and started murdering all the children." - Roald Dahl
I'm sure it was all an innocent mistake on Google's part, after all it's not like they chose to honor a famous Jew-hater on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Now when is that...if only there was an easy way to look up simple information. It boggles the mind...or it boogles the mind.
Mary and I both were part of the Arbitron radio ratings this past week. We must have some demographic desirability since we've done it before a few years ago and we also get an occasional national telephone survey. Of course, we weed out the worthless ones and the push-polls, but we always take time to participate in the legitimate surveys.
One of the reasons we try to participate, is that I imagine if we don't participate, which I never feel I really have time to do, is that the polls will be skewed towards turds who sit on their butt all day and who actually have time to take or fill out surveys. I don't want my products, radio shows or politicians picked or influenced by the half of society with calluses on their back-sides. It's a small hassle, but well worth it to have your opinions matter, no matter how statistically insignificant one responder is.
As to this week's radio listening, let me tell you, there simply are not enough hours in the day to listen to all the great talk radio out there. While meticulously maintaining a daily listening log, I managed to work in a listening variety that would make Barry Goldwater proud: Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, John Gibson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage and even Dr. Laura. Ahhh...bask in the conservative greatness of my listening habits.
Now, don't for a second be a First Amendment hating liberal and think that I listen to conservative talk radio because I don't have any choice. No, I listen to conservative talk radio because it is my choice!
What does every commie-loving socialist revolutionary do when they get in power...they take over the media lest they be criticized or unable to B.S. the masses. Vladimir Putin is doing it in Russia, Hugo Chávez is doing it in Venezuela and our own Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (elected by the most radically liberal, America hating, 8th (formerly 5th) Congressional District of California, consisting of four-fifths of the City and County of San Francisco) wants to do it here. She is the foremost proponent of the, for-the-time-being failed, Fairness Doctrine.
What a great name: Fairness Doctrine. So, obviously it will bring some fairness to the media such as television and the movies. "53% of Americans consider religion to be very important in their lives" and "45% of American adults attend church in a typical weekend, not including a special event such as a wedding or a funeral." You couldn't tell this by watching TV or the movies so, obviously, the Fairness Doctrine will bring some balance to the liberal drivel that Hollywood squeezes out. I mean, just imagine if conservatives controlled Hollywood and every television show and movie portrayed Christians in a positive light attending church on Sundays and, *gasp*, even during the week. The liberals would be apoplectic demanding that television and movies accurately reflect the percentage of Americans that attend church. So, obviously given the hostility of Hollywood towards religion and Christianity this must be what the Fairness Doctrine is about...bringing Christ to the airwaves! Ummm...nope. No fairness towards religion and Christianity needed in Hollywood for Pelosi.
Maybe, Madame Speaker Pelosi is concerned that liberals, Democrats and their supporters control the newsrooms across America. The fact that 9 out of 10 journalists who contributed to political campaigns, contributed to Democratic candidates must have Pelosi's panties in a bunch. Amazingly, however, her panties are just fine as she has no problem with the leftward leaning of the nation's newsrooms, newspapers, and the mainstream media. That the government funded NPR leans left, merits no consideration to Pelosi. I wonder if it would be the same situation if NPR tilted right?
So what is the Fairness Doctrine about? Maybe it's geared towards the nation's colleges which have become bastions of anti-competitive liberal propaganda. Pelosi must be concerned with the inherent unfairness of 90 percent of our arts and science professors belonging to Democrat/Green/freakazoid parties, with very few registered as either Republican or Libertarian. Again, not a ruffle in Ms. Pelosi's panties about this.
What is it that has Pelosi so worried about "fairness." Well, if you guessed all the truly unfair things in the world, you'd never come across what it is that so bothers Pelosi and other liberals who want to control ALL of the mass media information outlets. What bothers Pelosi is talk radio. Liberals recently tried to push their twisted views on talk radio via their all-liberals-all-the-time Air America. But, nobody wanted to listen. The network went bankrupt because people filling out their Arbitron radio ratings didn't put down any Air America programs. My theory is that liberals' message can only succeeds when sugar-coated with a pretty face, multi-million dollar special effect, or when protected from competition by tenure. In the cold hard world of talk radio, a talking head arguing for higher taxes, promotion of the unqualified and controlling the world's weather by punishing the countries that produce all the world's advances while exempting the largest polluter which oppresses its people under a communist regime...well, it just doesn't attract an audience. But, Pelosi...being a freedom loving believer in the First Amendment...has the answer: use the power of the federal government to force radio stations to air liberal dogma in equal proportions to conservative view points...and ignore the liberal leanings of every other form of mass media. Now that's fair...to a liberal.
Fortunately, the Fairness Doctrine went down in flames last week in the House of Representatives 309-115. What's scary is that there are 115 representatives who would choose to join history's worst dictators and have the government control the information you have access to. As for me, I'll continue to vote Republican, support conservative and libertarian ideals, listen to talk radio and always fill out my Arbitron radio ratings booklet.
Just some quick thoughts about last night's award ceremony...admittedly, I only caught portions as I went in and out of the family room.
* Besides being busy with other things, one of the reasons that I didn't (can't) sit through the whole thing is how annoying the "stars" are. They used to make me angry, but now I have more pity for them. I see the vast majority as lost souls, immoral, guided by their desires, myopic, emotionally stunted and just plain sad.
* With every award determined more by politics than actual merit, the honor of winning an Academy Award diminishes.
* Al Gore was brilliant with his statement that "[climate crisis] is not a political issue, it’s a moral issue." Get it? If you disagree with him, you are no longer just on the other side of the political isle, you are no longer just a person who demands scientific evidence, instead you are immoral. I love it! From now on everything I ever talk or post about is not a liberal issue or a conservative issue, it's a moral issue. And, you know what you are if you disagree with me.
* I also thought Al Gore's reference to morality was rather ironic coming from a microphone located in the epicenter of immorality, Hollywood.
* Mary got more annoyed than me (a first?) by the repeated references to losing the right to free speech. What Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole actually want is free speech without consequences. They want to say stupid insulting stuff but not be held accountable. And, then when us common folk won't go to their movies (or concerts), they claim censorship. That's not censorship! You were and still are free to say anything you want. But, you are not free from the lawful consequences of what you say. The only censorship in America is coming from the left in the form of political correctness and speech codes, not the right. Further, the people who they accuse of censorship, i.e, the Bush administration, are the ones fighting the people who really do want to censor Hollywood...and by censor, I mean stab a pair of knives in their chest like happened to film director Theo van Gogh because a radical Muslim didn't like his film which shed a little light on the violence against women in Islamic societies. Notice all the films and documentaries coming out of Hollywood dealing with issues relating to radical Islam...oh wait, there are none. Now that's censorship!
* Finally, Drew saw the part with Lightning McQueen and Mater in the audience. After they failed to win one of the two awards they were nominated for (Best Animated Feature Film, won by Happy Feet, and Best Original Song a/k/a "Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures," won by "I Need to Wake Up" - An Inconvenient Truth), Drew asked why didn't Mater say, "Dad-gum!"
The state of Illinois is named for the Illini tribes of Native Americans who previously inhabited the state. It is not surprising, therefore, the state university, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, would celebrate an Illini chief. And that is exactly what happened in 1926, 81 years ago, when Chief Illiniwek first became the proud and noble symbol of the University of Illinois' athletic programs.
The Chief predates the more modern, often cartoonish, notion of "mascots" for sports teams. Chief Illiniwek does not parade the sidelines, cheer for the team, interact with fans or cheerleaders and only appears at home games. Chief Illiniwek wears Lakota (Sioux) regalia sold to the University by Chief Frank Fools Crow (nephew of Black Elk who was the second cousin of Crazy Horse) which was sewn by Fools Crow's wife. Chief Illiniwek's limited performance consists of a half-time appearance in which he undertakes a dance performed for generations based on the Indian fancy dance, the worst complaint of critics being that it includes an unauthentic jump-split. Chief Illiniwek performs empty-handed without tomahawks, spears or other stereotypical Indian props.
Of course, there are people who can find offense in everything and, as always, there's plenty of sufferers of white liberal guilt who will put aside logic and reason and use force and coercion in order to instill their values and sensibilities on others. And so, at the behest of individuals and organizations whose protests appeared to grow more out of self-promotion than actual offense, the NCAA stepped in to declare Chief Illiniwek "hostile and abusive." The NCAA included the University of Illinois in the group of other universities which it declared "display hostile or abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery." The current sanction prohibits such schools from hosting post-season athletic tournaments at the cost of millions of dollars of lost income as well as the publicity and notoriety that comes with such tournaments.
I had originally written that "the NCAA had to walk a fine, if illogical, line with the banning of Chief Illiniwek since a ban of the use of the Illini name would result in banning the name of the state of Illinois as well." However, further research reveals that the NCAA, is devoid of any semblance of logic and did, in fact, originally ban "Illini" and "Fighting Illini." This decision came from their headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. Only after two rounds of appeals did the NCAA relent and limit the ban to only the Chief Illiniwek name, symbol and performance. The NCAA's stated rationale...don't try to understand it, just read it...was that "Illini" was based on the name of the state and not of Native American descent. And, if you can make sense of this rationale, you're as irrational and disingenuous as the NCAA. Where do they think "Illinois" came from?!?!
A 2002 Peter Harris Research Group poll of those who declared Native American ethnicity on a U.S. census showed that 81% of Native Americans support the use of Indian nicknames in high school and college sports, and 83% of Native Americans support the use of Indian mascots and symbols in professional sports.
In a non-binding student referendum on Chief Illiniwek conducted in March 2004, Of the approximately one third of the University of Illinois student body who cast ballots, 69% of the voters favored retention of the Chief.
The Illini tribe was nearly wiped out by fighting with other Indian tribes (you don't hear too much about those kind of things from your liberal history professors) and what remained was eventually relocated to Oklahoma as part of the Peoria Tribe. In 1995, Chief Don Giles of the Peoria Tribe said, "To say that we are anything but proud to have these portrayals would be completely wrong. We are proud. We're proud that the University of Illinois, the flagship university of the state, a seat of learning, is drawing on that background of our having been there. And what more honor could they pay us?" Peoria tribal elder, Ron Froman, stated at the time that the protesters "don't speak for all Native Americans, and certainly not us." In 2000, Froman became chief and he and the tribal counsel came out against Chief Illiniwek. As part of the rationale for his 180 degree turn, Forman shared such pearls of wisdom as, "I don't think it was to honor us, because, hell, they ran our (butts) out of Illinois."
Adam Fortunate Eagle, grandfather of the radical Indian movement, known for his attempts to reclaim Alcatraz on behalf of Indians of all tribes, his protests against Columbus Day celebrations and his self-proclaimed discovery of Italy, declared that symbols like the Chief gave him heart amid the generally negative images of American Indians.
Myself, I attended the University of Illinois from 1984 to 1989 and never heard anyone...not once...speak against Chief Illiniwek or treat him as anything other than a very positive and powerful symbol of strength and valor which we were all very proud to have as the symbol of our school.
The NCAA originally included the Florida State mascot, Chief Osceola, in the list of colleges that "display hostile or abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery." This wasn't surprising given the inclusion of Chief Illiniwek who never carries any props let alone instruments of war while Chief Osceola, while riding an Appaloosa horse named Renegade, plants a flaming spear at midfield to begin every home football game. Chief Osceola's face-paint, Appaloosa horse and flaming spear have no connection to Seminole history nor is FSU's version of Chief Osceola steeped in history having only first appeared in 1978. Despite the obviously offensive imagery...I mean, come on, really, a flaming spear?!?!...the NCAA eventually changed its position on Chief Osceola allowing him to remain the spear-chucking mascot of FSU.
So why the different treatment of the University of Illinois and Florida State University? The NCAA, with a surprisingly straight face, says that it is because the FSU crazed blood-thirsty mascot has the approval of the local Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida. The NCAA stated, "The decision of a namesake sovereign tribe, regarding when and how its name and imagery can be used, must be respected even when others may not agree."
On first blush namesake discretion sounds fair, but it doesn't explain how an institution is to react when, as with Chief Illiniwek, a tribe changes its position. It is ridiculous to expect an institution's use of a symbol to come and go with the different decisions of each newly elected chief or tribal counsel. Further, such a policy caters to the easily and/or irrationally offended and provides no support for legitimate reverent use of a symbol by an institution against groups that would attempt to hold such imagery hostage by claiming a proprietary right. That which is right does not ebb and flow with opinion...unless you are a liberal, then that is actually the definition of right. Namesake discretion also does not address the case where there are no true namesakes to be offended such as the Illini which no longer exist and are only loosely associated with the Oklahoma Peoria Tribe or where two tribes with different opinions vie for namesake standing.
The latter is the case where the Oklahoma Seminole Tribe is less approving of the FSU mascot. In 1830, President Andrew Jackson pushed the Indian Removal Act through Congress and, in the ensuing wars, the Seminoles and numerous other tribes were marched to Oklahoma during the infamous Trail of Tears. An estimated 200 to 500 Seminoles escaped into the Florida Everglades, where some of their descendants remain. One could argue the primary Seminole tribe is located in Oklahoma, while the smaller Florida Seminole Tribe is merely an offshoot. Further, Osceola despised American expansion into Florida and when he died in American custody, his head was chopped off as a trophy. Does the NCAA really think that Osceola would want to be portrayed as a state university mascot wearing war paint which he and other Seminoles never wore, riding a breed of horse he never rode while performing for a bunch of affluent white kids?
So why the unequal treatment of the University of Illinois' respected and dignified Chief Illiniwek and the Florida State University Chief Osceola? The answer is provided by the NCAA itself which cites to the "close relationship" between FSU and the Florida Seminole Tribe. Close relationship? So, the administration and tribal counsel go out drinking together and have each other over for family barbeques? No, you know the answer already...money. Florida Seminole tribal members get an automatic 80% scholarship from the school which, when combined with other assistance, almost guarantees a full free ride at the university. Additionally, the school has a broad array of other programs and interactions which, together, only the most jaded (or observant) would describe as having bought off the Florida Seminoles. This brings to light the University of Illinois' real problem, not a "hostile and abusive" symbol but rather...no one to pay off or, alternatively, a failure to pay off a distant tribe two states away.
And don't even get me started on the Fighting Irish or the scores of other institutions of higher learning with symbols and mascots of identifiable groups who just don't seem bothered by a wacky caricature of their namesake. How can the Irish and, apparently the NCAA, take pride in a mascot which mocks the brawling drunk Irish stereotype while others find offense in an earnest attempt to honor an extinct Indian tribe?
Lest anyone be confused, I am not arguing that Florida State University should get rid of their mascot. On the contrary, I think the NCAA should keep their white liberal guilt noses out of the affairs of the universities. It should be up to the individual schools, their students, faculty, administration, alumni, and governing bodies to establish the individual policies of each school without punitive measures forced on them from afar. The whole thing just reeks of everything that's wrong with liberalism: kowtowing to special interest groups who proclaim irrational victimization, ignoring time honored traditions, governing bodies going far beyond their stated purpose to issue social edicts, governance from afar rather than locally and unequal treatment of different groups.
In recognition of the financial realities of the NCAA's sanctions, the University of Illinois capitulated and this week on Wednesday, February 21, 2007, Chief Illiniwek made his last appearance at Assembly Hall in Champaign-Urbana. At the end of this post, I will put links to noteworthy articles, clips and downloads of video of Chief Illiniwek's last dance and other topical information. Additionally, in memory and in honor of Chief Illiniwek, I have permanently added the random Chief Illini picture to the left-hand column.
Finally, please remember that I take strong offense at anyone who disagrees with me in the comments. In fact, I consider any such disagreement "hostile and abusive" and, as modern liberalism has taught us, you are not allowed to tell me that my being offended is irrational, unjustified or otherwise contrived for ulterior purposes. In other words, if I say I am offended you must change your conduct, otherwise you are a hate mongering bigot.
Honor the Chief website.
Champaign, Illinois, CBS affiliate WCIA video of Chief Illiniwek's Last Dance, 10MB QuickTime (.mov), please right-click and "Save As...."
YouTube page of Chief Illiniwek's Last Dance videos.
Illinois Loyalty - Chief Illiniwek's Last Dance photo collection.
DumpEppley.com website dedicated to ousting the President of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees for his role in banning the Chief.
Students for Chief Illiniwek website.
The random quotes in the left-hand column have grown to twenty-one. I previously posted the first thirteen, and below are the next eight. I've included a couple not so much because of the greatness of the message but, rather, because they are so telling about the author.
This country has lost control of its borders, and no country can sustain that kind of position.
- Ronald Reagan, October 19, 1983
A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. The essential causes of Rome's decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her falling trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars. The political causes of decay were rooted in one fact - that increasing despotism destroyed the citizen's civic sense, and dried up statesmanship at its source.
- Dr. Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, Vol. III, Caesar and Christ
Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.
- Omar Ahmad, Co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
We know [CAIR] has ties to terrorism.
- Sen. Charles Shumer, (D-NY)
In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.
- Theodore Roosevelt, January 3, 1919
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
- George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense
I have continued directing the unpopular fight for the rights of agitation, as director of the American Civil Liberties Union.... I am for socialism, disarmament and ultimately for abolishing the state itself as an instrument of violence and compulsion. I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control by those who produce wealth. Communism is, of course, the goal.
- Roger Nash Baldwin, Founder and first Executive Director of the ACLU
Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.
- Pope Benedict XVI, quoting 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus
A democracy is two wolves and a small lamb voting on what to have for dinner. Freedom under a constitutional republic is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
- Benjamin Franklin
(USS Shaw exploding during attack on Pearl Harbor.)
December 7, 1941, the Japanese sneak attacked Pearl Harbor and thus began World War II, arguably the last war we ever won. The architect of the attack, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, is quoted (possible fabrication) as saying that he feared, "all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant." Well, I fear that the giant is either now dead or so drugged up on ignorance and self-absorption that he can no longer be awakened.
In response to the attack on Pearl Harbor, all of America put 100% effort behind striking back with all and every force available to kill the enemy, take its land, and obtain victory. No one asked how long it would take or what our exit strategy was. It would take as long as needed and our exist strategy was the elimination or unconditional surrender of the enemy...their choice. And then, after absolute victory was achieved, how long did we remain in Germany and Japan? Hint, we currently have 27 military bases in Germany and 9 in Japan. Did anyone ever suggest we vacate Germany and let them fight their own potential battles with their neighbors...the Soviets?
And how did the media, so responsible for forming popular opinion respond? Did the media report nightly U.S. soldier and foreign civilian casualties? Was news footage of less than honorable acts committed by American soldiers replayed in the media over and over and over and over again? Did the media focus on instances where American soldiers where horribly ill equipped to fight? Did the media meet with Nazi and Imperial leaders and broadcast their propaganda messages?
In the Battle of Normandy 54,000 Allied soldiers were killed and 209,000 wounded. In taking just one little 8 squire mile island, Iwo Jima, away from the Japanese, 6,821 American soldiers were killed and 20,000 wounded. In response to these horrific losses, did anyone ever suggest that we should cut and run? All told, about 24 million soldiers and 38 million civilians were killed in World War II. Read that last sentence again and think about those numbers for a second. Now, after the war, did any sane person ever utter the notion that we never should have gone to war in the first place and that a world divided between Fascist Germany and Imperial Japan would be preferable?
And, what were we fighting in World War II? Well, obviously we were fighting the blitzkrieg and surprise attacks then, just as we're fighting terrorism now, right? Or, were we not so politically correct then and unafraid to name our enemy: the German Nazi's and the Imperial Japanese. Shouldn't we have been more concerned with the feelings of innocent civilian Germans and Japanese and refused to identify the enemy?
Is there anyone who would not choose to go back in time and take out Hitler when he first reoccupied the Rhineland as part of a diplomatic test in 1936, three years before the outbreak of World War II? I say there are plenty of people that would prefer 62 million dead as the result of WWII rather than taking out a young Hitler testing the waters...they are the same ones that won't put a stop to Islamic Fascism as it tests the waters for international tolerance of its atrocities...of which, you ain't seen nothin' yet!
As the number of Pearl Harbor survivors dwindles down, I am most saddened by that fact that our nation as a whole and the world in general, appear to have learned so little from their sacrifice.
I haven't had too many trolls come by lately. Too bad, I enjoy the entertainment. Fortunately, I had one come by today! Here are his two unedited comments in reference to my post on the Oklahoma Minutemen Counter-Protest Rally:
"Im sure you all are republicans, the REAL religous people... ahahha what a joke"
"im not leaving my name, you all are crazy enough to find me and destroy things, typical of you people, block the messages you dont like.. cowards"
"JR," as he called himself in his first post, represented himself so well in his two short garbled comments, that I thought it would be fun examining them in detail.
"Im sure you are all republicans"
Well, poor JR is wrong right off the bat in several regards. His use of the phrase "you all" is incorrect as he appears to be lumping me in with the Minutemen of which I am not a member. And, while I'm a Republican (actually conservative first, Republican second), it would be incorrect to lump all Minutemen into the category of Republicans. I know for a fact that many are Democrats. The Minutemen are a non-partisan group of individuals with the common goal of "seeking a peaceful and respectable resolve to the chaotic neglect by members of our local, state and federal governments charged with applying U.S. immigration law." What an insult JR makes to Democrats to say that only Republicans desire to enforce our nation's laws. The non-partisan nature of the Minutemen is especially true in Oklahoma where many conservatives are Democrats simply because their daddy and their daddy's daddy were Democrats.
"the REAL religious people"
So, according to JR, the truly religious are those who don't want to enforce our nation's laws, are Democrats and are people who mock others they deem less religious. I don't think the facts or common sense back up this assertion.
"im not leaving my name"
Not necessary. JR, an Oklahoma City Southwestern Bell DSL subscriber, left behind his IP address (18.104.22.168), something far more identifying than a mere name.
"you all are crazy enough to find me and destroy things"
Actually, such paranoia would make him far closer to a "crazy" diagnosis than anyone I met at the Minuteman counter-protest rally. JR's comment includes the often repeated fallacy that those on the right are more violent and destructive than those on the left. From union thuggery and intimidation, to environmentalists burning new housing developments, to Voter Intimidation & Suppression In 2004 (read the facts, not the unsubstantiated allegations of the left), the facts speak for themselves. Watch the upcoming political conventions in summer of 2008 and see which party has the more violent mobs protesting them. I guarantee you the most violent, mask wearing, profanity laced, attempting to be disruptive protesters will be Democratic supporters at the Republican convention. No one fears putting a Gore or Kerry bumper sticker on their cars but I know many people who won't put a Bush sticker on their car out of fear of vandalism. So, while a call to a friend at SBC would likely locate JR, he need only fear his own paranoia.
"typical of you people"
I thought stereotyping people was wrong? Looks like we can add "hypocrite" to the list of JR's failings.
"block the messages you dont like"
No, I block all messages so that spam doesn't get though. This comment evidences JR's paranoid delusional nature very well. His first message was blocked by my spam filter which I've set up to err on the side of caution and block nearly everything. I'd rather delay a legitimate comment, than let an advertisement for something inappropriate get through. In fact, if your comment doesn't get posted here immediately, you get a little message explaining my spam filter setup. JR, however, in his self-aggrandized paranoid delusional state though I personally blocked his message because I didn't like it. What's fascinating is that the message explaining that his comment didn't get posted pops up almost immediately upon pressing the key to enter the comment. So, JR thinks I'm sitting at the computer all day just waiting for him to share his words of wisdom and then, using my secret jedi-ninja speed reading powers, read and blocked his comment at near the speed of light.
Finally, JR closes with childish name calling. But, who is it that's hiding behind his IP address and who's name, face, address, etc., is all right here easily available or searchable? Who's the coward? Or, should I ask who a coward and a troll?
I'll state up front, I don't know if this is just an anomaly or actual censorship by Google. I'll state my case and let others more knowledgeable about Google decide.
Background on Google. It is well known that Google cooperates with the hard-line Chinese government and self-censors content on the Chinese version of Google. This is done under the theory that working with the Chinese government toward change is better than being blocked out and unable to have any influence. Many would disagree.
Lesser known is the liberal culture within Google where, in the last presidential election, 98% of Google's employees who made political contributions donated to Democrats. Or, that Google has been accused of purging conservative news sites from its hand-picked Google News service under the guise that such sources contain hate speech while refusing to eliminate Muslim sites that preach Islamic supremacism, jihad ideology and anti-semitism which are much more virulent and hateful than most any of the purged conservative websites.
Background on the Image. Shortly after September 11, 2001, I sought out a single picture of all the 9/11 hijackers together. Much to my utter amazement, I couldn't find one. So, I created one myself by pasting together individual mugshots from the FBI website and posted it in the Pictures section of this website (long before it had a blog front end). Shortly thereafter, the picture was posted all over the internet. It is by far the most popular item on this website. It has been posted thousands of different times from Free Republic to Daily Kos to Fark. In fact, if you do a Google image search (GIS) for "9/11 hijackers" or just "hijackers" it always comes up as the first result...at least, until yesterday the fifth anniversary of 9/11.
I checked my logs over the weekend and saw that links to the picture were increasing with the approaching anniversary and checked the picture's ranking on Google and it was number one sometime on the 9th or 10th as it has been for a long time. For some reason, I checked again on the 11th and the picture had vanished from the Google image search results. I then checked other countries versions of Google where it is still number one. See the following screen captures for Google image searches for "9 11 hijackers" for a dozen random countries:
Australia - Brazil - Canada
France - Germany - Japan
Mexico - Russia - Saudi Arabia (read right to left)
South Africa - Spain - United Kingdom
In every instance, except two, my 9/11 hijackers image is the first result. The two countries where the image isn't just less than number one but wholly fails to appear anywhere in the results...China (which we know Google censors) and the U.S.
China - United States
Here's a live Google.com image search for "9 11 hijackers" to see if there is any change since this entry was posted.
The number one image on the internet showing the 9/11 hijackers together (which is accused of being politically incorrect because, though wholly factual and presented without comment, inappropriately focuses on the similar physical characteristics of the terrorists) vanishes from U.S. Google image search results on or around 9/11. An innocent anomaly in Google's vast database or some activist Google employee using his China-honed censoring skills?
-------------------- UPDATE --------------------
Somehow Google's safe-search feature is involved. The image in question is ranked number one when Google's safe-search feature is set to the default "moderate" setting but disappears from Google's database when either "strict filtering" or "do not filter" is selected. This makes no sense, as non-filtered results should include everything that is shown when moderate filtering is selected.
I use "do not filter" as my default and have not adjusted it so I stand by my assertion that around the 11th the image disappeared from Google's non-filtered results.
All of the Google image searches for the other countries were the first time I ever searched there and, accordingly, Google's default filtering settings kicked in. A sampling of those foreign searches at different filtering levels provides the same result as Google.com.
While the filtering differences provide some insight, I'm still left with the image being removed from Google's unfiltered results.
Venesha O. Richards
Forever Age 26
Secretary with Marsh & McLennan
100th floor of 1 World Trade Center
North Brunswick, N.J.
Venesha Richards: A Dream of Paris
When Venesha Rodgers caught a short ride home from work at Bradlees in North Brunswick, N.J., her lift, Hopeton Richards, instantly realized she was just the person he had been looking for: fun, smart, an active Christian and, like Mr. Richards, an émigré from Jamaica. Not only that, she lived around the corner. In July 1998, four years after that five-minute car ride, they were married.
Mrs. Richards was a one-woman power plant. As a young mother, a student in technology systems at Pace University, holding a full-time job, she still helped run trips for her church youth group.
Before baby Kayla was born last year, she and Mr. Richards traveled to Mexico; Key West, Fla.; the Bahamas; and the Poconos. "Ven always wanted to go to Paris," Mr. Richards said.
Mrs. Richards, 26, "was more of a mama to me than I was to her," said Lelith Grant, her mother, who worked night shifts as a nurse so she and Mrs. Richards could swap child-minding chores. On school holidays, Mrs. Richards took her little brother and sister to work at Marsh & McLennan on the 100th floor of 1 World Trade Center.
Heading home, she always made a beeline. "She couldn't wait to see Kayla take her first step," said Mr. Richards. "She took it three days after the incident."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 28, 2001.
Venesha Richards, 26, Mom Who Led a Vibrant Life
During the Brunswick Church of God's annual Labor Day picnic, Venesha Richards was where she loved to be -- surrounded by children.
"She was playing ball with the kids.... You always would see her with the kids," said Ivette Cox, a family friend.
As the church's assistant youth director, Mrs. Richards, 26, spent a lot of time around young people.
"What I loved about her most was that she was so energetic," said Cox, who referred to her as her niece. "When she was pregnant you couldn't tell that she was pregnant even when she was big. She would walk and dance and you couldn't believe it. She was vibrant."
Mrs. Richards enjoyed an active lifestyle, her family and friends said. Among her favorite things to do were to travel -- having been to Europe and more recently to Mexico -- and to chaperon children from her church on an annual South Jersey camping trip.
Mrs. Richards, who moved to New Jersey from Jamaica when she was 9, graduated from Franklin High School in Franklin Township and later received her bachelor's degree from Berkeley College in Woodbridge in 1995.
She landed a job as a secretary at Marsh & McLennan on the 100th floor of the World Trade Center, working in the risk management division. She also was to receive a graduate degree in computer science and information technology at Pace University in New York next year.
"She was the best friend I had. We talked about everything," said her mother, Lelith Bergen of Franklin Township. Because she cared for Mrs. Richards' infant daughter while she was at work, Mrs. Bergen said they saw each other every day.
A whiz with computers, people often turned to her for help. Mrs. Richards helped design and print her church programs. Last month, she helped her mother organize a fashion show fund-raiser by printing the tickets and programs.
The last time her mother saw her was the day before the Sept. 11 attacks. "My last words to her were 'I love you,' and I didn't know it would be the last time I would say that," she said.
Mrs. Richards, who lived with her husband, Hopeton, and her daughter, Kayla, in North Brunswick, spoke about her family often, especially her daughter.
"Not a day would go by that she didn't talk about her family," said Hopeton Richards. They were both looking forward to celebrating their daughter's first birthday on Oct. 24.
"The one thing she really wanted to do was celebrate her daughter's birthday," her husband said. "She wanted to see her walk."
In addition, to her mother, husband and daughter, Mrs. Richards is survived by three brothers, Omar Rogers of North Brunswick, Shaun Rogers of Lawrenceville and Naquan Bergen of Franklin Township; a sister, Queena Bergen of Franklin Township; her father, Stanley Rogers of Baltimore; her maternal grandparents, Hagle Brown of Jamaica and Lloyd Grant of Franklin Township; and her paternal grandmother, Ida Rogers of Jamaica; and several nieces, nephews and other relatives.
A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday at Brunswick Church of God, 48 Lee Ave., New Brunswick.
Profile by Alicia Grey published in THE STAR-LEDGER.
The 2,996 Project: on September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers are each honoring an individual victim of 9/11. Also, check out:
Honoring Mari-Rae Sopper, a childhood classmate.
Honoring Vincent Danz, same name but unrelated.
I took the above photo at Arlington National Cemetery on July 3, 2005. I was trying to take some photographs that would convey how the headstones went on seemingly without end. I've visited Arlington three times and even aerial photographs can't fully portray its enormity.
Memorial Day is a sacred holiday with a very narrowly defined purpose: to honor those that have died serving our country in the military. Second perhaps only to the 4th of July or to certain religious holidays, Memorial Day honors those that made the ultimate sacrifice to make everything else possible. If there were only farmers, teachers, lawyers and doctors there would be no Independence Day and, just as certain, we wouldn't be celebrating the religious holidays of our choosing. Last year, I gave an example of how many people, even smart well educated persons, don't have the slightest clue what Memorial Day is about. I suppose ignorance is included in the freedoms that so many have died for.
This year, I found something else that annoyed me. The homepage on my computer is Google.com and I clicked on it today expecting to see one of Google's famous holiday logos. After all, Google has already had specialty logos this year for, in order: New Years, Louis Braille's Birthday, Martin Luther King Day, Mozart's Birthday, the Lunar New Year, the Winter Games, Percival Lowell's Birthday, St. Patrick's Day, the Persian New Year, Mother's Day and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Birthday.
In the past, Google has also seen fit to honor with special logos such deserving subjects as: National Library Week, World Water Day, SpaceShipOne winning the the X Prize, Bloomsday (I had to look this one up), Venus Transit, Gaston Julia's Birthday, and Piet Mondrian's Birthday. (No, I didn't make any of those up.) And rest assured, Google has no problem honoring holidays which are only pertinent to one nation as they do each year for America's 4th of July and have also done for such other holidays as Canada Day, France's Bastille Day and Swiss National Day.
I surfed around to other internet search engines. Most don't recognize special holidays thus avoiding Google's error of omission. However, two search engines deserve special recognition: Ask.com and Dogpile. Ask.com had a very respective American flag ribbon which linked to their search results for Memorial Day. Dogpile, however, wins the day with their normally playful mascot sitting in reverence by the Vietnam War Memorial with a bouquet of flowers at his feet and the American flag flying in the background. Dogpile also had a link to its search results for Memorial Day. Well done Dogpile, shame on you Google.
Every time I learn something new about Google's political slant, I'm bothered more and more. In the last presidential election, 98% of Google's employees donated to Democrats. Lately, Google has been purging conservative news sites from its hand-picked Google News service under the guise that such sources contain hate speech while refusing to eliminate Muslim sites that preach Islamic supremacism, jihad ideology and anti-semitism which are much more virulent and hateful than most any of the purged conservative websites. I think I'll change my homepage for a week and see if I can get used to using another search engine.
I love 70's music...classic rock that is, not disco. Unfortunately, while the music is incredible, all too often the actual words make me want to wretch like a bulimic after a visit to the all you can eat pizza buffet. Take John Lennon's Imagine for example, an incredibly beautiful song to listen to but don't stop to think about the lyrics:
Imagine there's no Heaven
Nothing like starting off with a full dose of ipecac.
Imagine there's no countries
Nice, if your country is a cesspool, but I'm kind of fond of my country.
Nothing to kill or die for
I'd kill and die for my family...poor Julian.
And no religion too
I sense a theme.
Imagine no possessions
What a freaking commie.
Or, any song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young or nearly every other artist in my CD collection are all awesome to listen to but are some combination of ridiculous and insulting if you read the lyrics. And don't get me started on today's music...with only a few exceptions, I can't even tell what the lyrics are...if they still call them lyrics. I've wondered aloud so many times...why can't there be a decent rock band that plays true quality music?
My wait is over, I have found The Right Brothers. Somewhere, I came across their single Bush Was Right and thought, one hit wonder, until I surfed over to their website and listened to some clips from their two albums and within fifteen minutes, I had ordered their Capitalist Edition, a collection of their two self-titled albums and the Bush Was Right single.
For the last few weeks, I've listened to no other music in my car. The band rocks, their music is awesome and if you think you might enjoy song like "Wake Up, America," "Tolerate This," "I Want My Country Back" and "Freedom Is Not Free," then you will likely love The Right Brothers.
The Oklahoma Minutemen held a counter-protest rally today during lunch at 21st & Garnett in the midst of an Hispanic neighborhood and business district. The protesters, numbering about 200, lined the roadside holding signs while drivers passed and honked approvingly. I was able to stop by and took a bunch of photos of the event.
All of the counter-protesters we're as wholesome and reasonable as they come. (Which stands in stark contrast to the left-wing sickos in the San Francisco Bay Area documented by zombie.) The entire half-hour I was there walking up and down the line taking photos and talking to everyone, I didn't hear one racist comment or hateful rant. If there was a general theme of the protest, it was that the protesters simply want our laws to be obeyed...is that too much to ask for?
And, of course, I'm drawn to American flags like flies to honey.
After stopping by the noontime counter-protest rally, I ran over to the courthouse plaza where the main illegal immigration rally was going to take place later in the afternoon. Who holds a rally at 3:00 on a workday...unless you don't want anyone with a real job to attend? Everything was set up, but the place was deserted except for five people who had the same organizers t-shirts on...
...and one was showing her true colors. That ain't red, white and blue. If you come here legally and want to be an American...I will welcome you with open arms. If you break our laws and waive the flag of the country of your origin...you will never gain my support.
I just wanted to unload on the subject to clear my head, so here goes:
Semantics. The rallies today were not "immigration rallies." Judged solely by their content, they were "illegal immigration rallies" or "amnesty rallies" or even "protesting our right to break your laws rallies," far more accurate terms given the subject matter. The name games continue with the attempt to change "illegal aliens" to "undocumented workers." Not all the people coming over are workers, some are children and some are adults who don't work. However, all are aliens which makes such a term more accurate. Further, they are not "undocumented." They have plenty of documents...illegal, forged, fraudulent, fake, phony documents...but documents nonetheless. Accordingly, undocumented is not accurate. There simply is not a more accurate term than illegal aliens. If people don't like it, they should change their status...not the words to describe their status.
Immigrants are awesome...legal immigrants that is. I'll even go so far as to say that legal immigrants are often harder working and more patriotic Americans than those who have been here for generations and take the freedoms and liberties we have here for granted.
Hypocrisy. The government of Mexico demands that we maintain an open boarder while Mexico's boarder with Guatemala is closed and heavily guarded. Anyone caught crossing the Mexico-Guatemala boarder illegally is treated incredibly harsh and, if they survive, is deported back to Guatemala. Mexico, illegal immigrants and their advocates and milquetoast politicians, all want the boarder with Mexico to be unlike any boarder between two nations in the world.
Hypocrisy continued. Imagine if Americans went to another country...pick one...France, Germany, Japan, China even Mexico. And we went there without a passport, visa, or any other documents except maybe some falsified documents bought on the black market. Once there we waive the American flag, refuse to learn the language, demand that everything be printed in English, don't pay taxes, don't insure our vehicles, burden and bankrupt their schools and hospitals and disproportionately fill their jails. Isn't there a term for similar such behavior...the "Ugly American." I couldn't agree more.
Who the heck moves to another country and doesn't bust their butt to learn the language? What kind of mentality is this? I can't imagine moving to Germany, Japan, China, Mexico or anywhere, regardless of the reason, and not putting every effort into learning the language. The only exception that I can think of is if I had utter and total disdain for the country and either didn't plan to stay or was actively working towards its downfall. In either case...I should never be made a citizen of that country.
Today is also supposed to be a strike or boycott of sorts...a day without illegal immigrants, purposely designed to cause economic harm to America. Yeah, that will make me sympathetic to your cause. I know there were a few businesses here in Tulsa, mostly restaurants, that were closed down as a result. But any effect the strike/boycott had was completely biased. To give Americans a true look at the economic impact of illegal immigrants, they would not only have to boycott buying anything but also boycott our schools, our hospitals, our jails, our social services and, for a day, not send any of the billions of dollars illegal immigrants send back to families in Mexico each year, not to mention they'd have to buy one-day auto insurance policies. Now's there's a boycott I'd like to see!
Finally, we don't have to wonder what the effect of an amnesty program might be. We did it before in 1986 with the U.S. Immigration and Reform Act. The only effect of that Act was that 3 million illegal aliens became 12 million illegal aliens. If you want 20 million illegal aliens, which some people want, then give amnesty another try. Even the French have figured all this out. Dominique de Villepin, France's interior minister, was asked recently whether his country would stage another amnesty, as it did in 1981 and 1997. "It's out of the question," he said. "Each time, it creates a chain reaction and wave of new arrivals." What a sad day when our politicians aren't even as bright as the French.
It's that time of year again, April 15th...tax day. I'm old-school when it comes to taxes...pen, paper and my trusty HP-15c. If taxes are so complicated that people have to have someone else prepare them or rely on a computer, might that be a sign that the system is horribly broken?
Some facts about taxes:
* Individuals, businesses, and non-profits spent a total of 6 billion hours to comply with the tax code last year costing a total of $265 billion. In other words, for every dollar the government collected, it cost Americans an extra 22 cents in compliance costs.
* Members of Congress including those on the Joint Committee on Taxation do not
due do their own taxes because it's too hard.
* H&R Block, maker of the TaxCut software, couldn't even figure its own taxes correctly last year.
* Tax Freedom Day this year is April 26 which means that all the money you earn from January 1 to April 25 goes just to pay your taxes.
The system is broke. It's time to fix it and the FairTax just might be the answer. The FairTax proponents claim their plan:
* Abolishes the IRS
* Closes all tax loopholes and brings fairness to taxation
* Maintains our current Social Security and Medicare benefits
* Brings transparency and accountability to tax policy
* Allows American products to compete fairly
* Reimburses the tax on purchases of basic necessities
* Enables retirees to keep their entire pension
* Enables workers to keep their entire paycheck
For now, if it were up to me, I'd require the following reforms:
* I'd pass a law making election day April 15th.
* I'd pass a law requiring all members of congress to do their own taxes, that all their tax returns be audited and that they be subject to penalties and interest for miscalculations just like everyone else.
* It's a myth that your employer pays any portion of your taxes. They don't pay half of your FICA (Social security and Medicare taxes), it's all part of the cost of employing you along with your salary. I'd pass a law getting rid of this lie. It wouldn't affect anything except to change the name of some accounting entries, but it's one small step in the right direction to telling the truth about taxes. After passage you'd see your salary increase as well as your FICA tax from 7.65% to 15.3% which would result in the same take home pay. But, at least, your pay stub would now accurately reflect the taxes you are paying.
* I'd pass a law that in order to get your refund back, you'd have to write a pretend check for the amount of all the taxes you have given the government over the past year along with a handwritten statement, "I gave the government an interest free loan." Every year I hear: "Yeah, I'm getting a refund." All I hear is: "I'm an idiot, I just gave someone an interest free loan!" No one would ever give a bank $100 a month, January through December, followed by the bank giving them $1,200 the following April but they get all excited when they get $1,200 back from the government. It's the same thing!
One last thing. According to the latest data available from the IRS:
The top 1% of wage earners pays 34.3% of all income taxes.
The top 5% of wage earners pays 54.4% of all income taxes.
The top 10% of wage earners pays 65.8% of all income taxes.
The top 25% of wage earners pays 88.9% of all income taxes.
The top 50% of wage earners pays 96.5% of all income taxes.
The bottom 50% of wage earners pays 3.5% of all income taxes.
The top 1% is paying nearly 10 times as much as all of the bottom half!
Death and taxes...at least one brings eternal peace.
In response to Muslims recently killing two Catholic priests in Turkey and Nigeria, the Vatican is calling on Muslim countries to be more tolerant of Christian minorities, in other words, practice what you preach.
Pope Benedict XVI stated this week that peace can only be assured by "respect for the religious convictions and practices of others, in a reciprocal way in all societies."
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State: "If we tell our people they have no right to offend, we have to tell the others they have no right to destroy us."
Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican Foreign Minister, stated Christian minorities should be afforded the same rights that Muslims enjoy in Western countries: "We must always stress our demand for reciprocity in political contacts with authorities in Islamic countries and, even more, in cultural contacts."
Bishop Rino Fisichella, Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University: "Let's drop this diplomatic silence...We should put pressure on international organisations to make the societies and states in majority Muslim countries face up to their responsibilities."
Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, Secretary of the Vatican's Supreme Court: "Enough now with this turning the other cheek! It's our duty to protect ourselves."
Better to be late to the game, than never show up to play.
OK, now I'm ticked. I've got other things I want to blog about (Cox Bundled Services, Drew the Master Builder, Pa-Pa-Pa-Pringles), but noooo, the mainstream media continues to get the whole Muhammad cartoon story wrong or reports half the story or, even more frustrating, is trying to compete with the Muslims as to who lives by the greater double-standard. So...
Front page of Al Fagr - note the teaser on the right
Did you know last October, during the height of Ramadan, the Egyptian Newspaper Al Fagr (Al Fager, Al Fajr) published the Muhammad cartoons that had been published just a month before in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten? That's right, the same cartoons Muslims around the world are supposedly all upset about. And, you know what happened when the cartoons of Muhammad appeared in the Egyptian newspaper...absolutely nothing. There wasn't a single protest. No one was murdered. No buildings were burned. Nadda. Nothing.
Enlarged date: October 17, 2005
Egypt has a population of 77.5 million of which 94% are Muslim and those are comprised mostly of conservative Sunni. Now if they weren't upset about the paper's publication of the imageless "prophet" then this whole Muslim uprising isn't really about the European papers' publishing the cartoons. This is further evidenced by the fact that news of Al Fagr's publication of the cartoons has now gone around the world and no other Muslim nation is calling for a boycott of Egyptian goods or burning Egyptian embassies or threatening to murder Egyptian newspaper editors.
Muhammad Cartoons in Al Fagr
So what is all the fuss really about? Well, don't look for a rational reason. Any rational reason has been disproven. The people who are protesting, committing and threatening violence are irrational. They are driven by hatred, bloodlust, jealousy, ignorance and provoked by religious and political leaders who fear freedom and democracy because they know they will lose their power if such ideals ever took hold.
But, I haven't told you anything you didn't already know because you already heard it all in the mainstream press, ABCCBSNBCCNNPBS, right? Thought not.
So now that we know even in a Muslim nation, it's no big deal to publish cartoons of Muhammad, you've got to wonder why the American media still won't show them. CNN previously made this disclaimer:
"CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons in respect for Islam."
Now CNN makes this updated disclaimer:
"CNN is not showing the negative caricatures of the likeness of the Prophet Muhammad because the network believes its role is to cover the events surrounding the publication of the cartoons while not unnecessarily adding fuel to the controversy itself."
One wonders if CNN is so concerned about showing "respect" for religions and wanting to cover issues without "unnecessarily adding fuel to the controversy" then why in the past has it shown images of Piss Christ (crucifix submerged in urine) and the Virgin Mary made with cow dung? As to "negative caricatures," shouldn't the viewer make that decision...along the lines of "we report, you decide." CNN's disclaimer particularly makes no sense when at least three of the cartoons are not in any manner negative. CNN's own Lou Dobbs correctly pointed out that, "you cannot report the story faithfully without showing these images, particularly when they're so widely available on the Internet."
Likewise, the New York Times this week in reporting about The Power of Imagery continued its refusal to reprint the Muhammad cartoons but didn't hesitate to drag up a seven year old photo of the dung covered Virgin Mary. It seems to me like there's one standard for Islam, that isn't even followed in Muslim countries, and a different standard for Christianity.
While only a handful of American newspapers have printed the cartoons, I am extremely proud to say that the newspaper of my alma mater the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Daily Illini [see update below], has published a number of the cartoons recognizing:
"All across this nation, editors are gripped in fear of printing ... for fear of the reaction. As a journalist, this flies in the face of everything I hold dear. By refusing to print these editorial cartoons, we are preventing an important issue from being debated openly by the public.
If anything, journalists all over this country should be letting the public decide for themselves what to think of these cartoons.
Exercise your First Amendment right and don't be afraid to say something unpopular. As citizens, we have a right to use that freedom."
NOTE: Are you aware that when the "prophet" Muhammad was 54 years old he married one of his wives, Aisha, who was only 6 years old? Don't worry, he didn't consummate his marriage until she was 9 years old. Isn't there a word for that? To be fair, more liberal Shi'a Muslims for the most part refute that Aisha was nine at the time, while more conservative Sunni Muslims stand by the six and nine ages which came from Aisha herself.
[UPDATE:] It turns out the Daily Illini is just another spineless liberal rag without an ounce of journalistic integrity. The cartoons were published in the Daily Illini but only because of the courage and rational thought of the then Editor-In-Chief Acton Gorton and Opinions Editor Chuck Prochaska. Subsequently, Gorton was terminated on trumpeted up procedural grounds and Prochaska resigned. Worse yet, in a Stalinist tribute to their true beliefs, the Daily Illini erased any mention of the incident from their archives, requested Google do the same, and when later reporting on the cartoons and the actions of other colleges, failed to mention the controversy which occurred on its own campus, within its own offices. More here.
I hadn't intended on a second post on the topic but...
From LGF, the banner on the left from Pakistan says, "Our Religion Does Not Allow Unconditional Freedom of Speech." And, the banner on the right from Indonesia says, "A Muslim's Faith is Above Western Values." Isn't that special. They want you, me and everyone from every nation regardless of the form of government or religion of its people to abide by their little rules. I want to be all polite and intellectual about this, but how do you respond to such an attitude other than...What a bunch of nutjobs!
This cartoon really sums it all up very well. It would be one thing if a bunch of Buddhists, Mormons or some other Ghandiesque members of a truly peaceful religion got all bent out of shape over something. I might be tempted to give some credence to their concerns. But, when radical practitioners of a religion in whose name every form of atrocity is being committed complain about some innocuous cartoons...words fail to describe the chasm between the double standards.
Iran's biggest-selling newspaper, Tehran's Hamshahri, is now attempting to retaliate by holding a competition to find the twelve "best" cartoons about the Holocaust. The paper's graphics editor, Farid Mortazavi, said that the deliberately inflammatory contest would test how committed Europeans were to the concept freedom of expression. OK, this actually sounds good. The Iranian newspaper then prints the cartoons and Jews around the world collectively yawn. Oh, that the Jews only had to worry about cartoons when they are under daily terrorist attack. Don't forget, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently said that he wants Israel "wiped off the map."
But, that's not the whole story. As a testament to utter cloudlessness of what freedom of the press is all about or the concept of equivalent situations, the Iranian paper wants the eventual cartoons published in the Danish and European newspapers. Freedom, in this case, means publishing what you "want," not what some radical fundamentalist in another country thinks you should. Publishing the Holocaust cartoons in the European papers would make sense if the Mohammad cartoons had been published in any Muslim nations' newspapers, which they weren't. Finally, it would be just fine if some European newspapers did chose to publish the Holocaust cartoons. Perhaps the Muslims would learn something when Jews don't go psychotic burning and murdering in response. But, that may be too much to hope for.
Jack Kelly has a great summary of how the events involving the cartoons all came about. He additionally theorizes that the governments of Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran have all promoted the current conflagration for various political reasons. However, for this theory to work a portion of the citizenry of those nations would have to be ignorant lemmings who could be driven into a frenzied bloodlust at the flick if a deranged imam's turban...hmmmm.
NOTE: I shouldn't have to say it because it is so obvious but, just to avoid any confusion, out of the 0.7 to 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, I only have a problem with a small radical fraction. Well, them and all those that are sitting idly by while the small radical fraction hijacks what is supposed to be the Religion of Peace™. Islam and the world need more people like Omar Najib. His story shouldn't even be worthy of mention because it is so common. Unfortuantely, that is not the case.
If you've been paying the least bit of attention to the international news you know that Muslims world wide are outraged. They want to burn down, kill, kidnap and, the solution to everything that ails them, behead people. What might they be outraged about?
Perhaps Muslims are outraged over:
Muslims flying commercial airliners into New York City buildings killing 3,000 people from 47 countries?
Muslims blocking the exit where school girls are trying to escape a burning building because their girls' faces were exposed?
Muslims cutting off the heads of three teenage girls on their way to their Christian school in Indonesia?
Muslims murdering teachers trying to teach Muslim children in Iraq?
Muslims murdering over 80 tourists with car bombs outside cafes and hotels in Egypt?
A Muslim attacking a missionary children's school in India killing six?
Muslims slaughtering hundreds of children and teachers in Beslan, Russia, including shooting children in the back?
Muslims firing rocket-propelled grenades into schools full of children in Israel?
Muslims murdering 56 commuters, injuring over 700, in attacks on London subways and buses?
Muslims bombing trains in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 commuters and injuring over 2000?
Muslims massacring dozens of innocents at a Jewish Passover Seder?
Muslims murdering innocent vacationers in Bali?
Muslim newspapers publishing anti-Semitic and anti-Christian cartoons?
Muslims beating the charred bodies of Western civilians with their shoes, then hanging them from a bridge?
Muslims videotaping themselves chanting "Allahu Akbar" while they saw the heads off defenseless people?
Muslim involvement, on one side or the other, in almost every one of the 125+ shooting wars around the world?
Nope. Not one or all of the above atrocities being committed in the name of Allah, Mohammad and the Religion of Piece have caused any concern with the world's Muslim population. Well, if none of that inspires Muslims to come unhinged then what horror could possibly set them off? It couldn't possibly be anything that would bring insult to their religion...how could you possibly insult Islam anymore than radical Muslims are already doing?
It turns out that all the fuss started last September when the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, published 12 different cartoonists' idea of what the Prophet Mohammad might have looked like. Yep, that's it. No slaughter of innocent thousands, no decapitating little girls or shooting them in the back as they fled, no bombing of mosques, no call for the extermination of anyone...just a dozen cartoons. So now, Muslims can't get enough Danish flag burning, tearing and walking upon (in addition to embassy burning).
Everybody well knows that these blood-lusting murderers do not represent the majority of the world's Muslims. When, though, does the majority become outraged and outspoken? When do they take to the streets and the airwaves to express their outrage at the minority of radicals who are making their religion the object of worldwide hatred and ridicule?
Muslim, Salman Rushdie wrote: "As their ancient, deeply civilized culture of love, art and philosophical reflection is hijacked by paranoiacs, racists, liars, male supremacists, tyrants, fanatics and violence junkies, why are they not screaming?" Indeed, why not? And, for those of you who offer an excuse for the supposed majority of rational Muslims who are so conspicuous by their silence--if not now, then when?
What is so mind-numbingly annoying about radical Muslims and Muslim nations is their indescribable level of hypocrisy. How are people of non-Muslim religions treated in Muslim nations? Just fine, if you don't let anyone know you're not Muslim. But, show a religious symbol in public and you risk arrest. And, should you answer a few questions about your faith to someone, you might get accused of proselytizing and risk death. They insist that their religious rules and doctrines be followed everywhere in the world but won't accord the least little bit of tolerance in their own countries. The concept of the Golden Rule or Aristotelian ethics is completely lost on these people.
In response to Muslims boycotting Danish products as well as threatening the lives of anyone and everyone associated with publishing the cartoons, some mostly European newspapers (Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, New Zealand, Norway and Poland) republished the cartoons as a sign of solidarity. They, of course, are also now the subject of Muslim threats and violence. American media, the supposed stalwart of freedom of the press, continues to report the story without showing the cartoons. We're supposed to believe, the mainstream media, so eager to show images of Piss Christ (crucifix submerged in urine) and the Virgin Mary made with cow dung, are all of a sudden concerned with offending people. No sign of a double standard here (sarcasm)...there's a reason the mainstream media is called liberal...or just plain yellow. You know something is really messed up when the French have more backbone than the Americans.
So, in conclusion, I've added the Buy Danish Campaign banner to the upper right of the front page of Danz Family and would encourage everyone to buy Danish products to help counter the Muslim nations' boycott.
This past week, Tulsa's Mayor, Bill LaFortune, spoke at his "Mayor's Night In" meeting for neighborhood leaders. During the meeting he argued against the "panacea" of having more police officers because, as everyone knows:
"More police officers, means more arrests, means a higher crime rate." - Bill LaFortune
Unbelievable! Never mind the fact that the crime rate is wholly unrelated to arrests. I could possibly even give him the benefit of the doubt that he just slipped up on the statistical concept except for the fact that there is no excusing the basis of his argument, that more police officers could possibly lead to any negative consequence involving crime. What rational person, not pushing some agenda, thinks this way?
Here's the audio (0:03, 28KB, wma). In case you think Mayor LaFortune is being taken out of context, here's a four minute clip containing the quote made by Mayor LaFortune (3:55, 464KB, mp3). The pertinent discussion begins at 2:55 and culminates with the Mayor's words of wisdom at 3:15.
I took the time to photoshop Mayor LaFortune to (try to) appear as if he came from a comic book for the reason that, only from a comic book character would one expect such incompetent leadership.
So the liberal Democrats have been squawking about President's Bush's lack of an exit strategy in Iraq and the need to withdraw our troops. The Republicans in the House responded late Friday night, "OK, you want to withdraw our troops...lets vote!":
House Resolution 571: "It is the sense of the House that deployment of US forces in Iraq be terminated immediately."
The Democrats along with everyone else with two functioning brain cells voted (403-3) against the ridiculous measure. Fortunately for our efforts to fight Islamofascism, to bring some semblance of order to the Middle East, for the future of Iraq and for the sake of those who have already died for these noble causes, the Democrats didn't vote in line with the way they've been blabbering off to their froth-mouthed constituents.
And, who's the islamoterrorist loving moron who first came up with this "exit strategy" nonsense? I'm not surprised by the media parroting the Democrats cries of exit strategy...they'd repeat that eating poop was wonderful if it was first put forth by left-wing Democrats. The theme is politically brilliant as so many have ignorantly bought into it, but just the slightest amount of critical analysis reveals its insanity.
If you want to win a war, do you crush the enemy and then hang around making sure no fires start up again? Or do you do something a little more touchy-feely then immediately pack up and head home? I wonder if history has anything to say about this?
World War I:
Exit Strategy: Yes, come home as soon as it's over and start 20+ years of isolationism.
Consequence: World War II
World War II:
Exit Strategy: None.
Return date of troops: Still pending, 60+ years later
Consequence: Germany and Japan become staunch allies.
Exit Strategy: None.
Return date of troops: Still pending, 50+ years later
Consequence: No resumption of war.
Exit strategy: Pull out after treaty signed.
Return date of troops: within a few years of signing.
Consequence: North reneges on treaty, conquers South, still Communist 30 years later.
Gulf War I:
Exit Strategy: ground troops out, enforcement of terms of surrender from air only.
Return date of troops: nearly all within a year or so of surrender.
Consequences: 12 years of "cheat and retreat," "Oil For Food" scandal, re-invasion 12 years later.
The lesson is clear:
Exit strategies are for wars that you don't plan to win, and to win decisively.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," George Santayana (1863–1952).
I'd taken the Politics Test a while back, and while the outcome seemed accurate enough, I wasn't crazy about the format of the output. Recently a good friend took the test which gave me the incentive to take it again and customize the results. So with the help of the Print Screen key, here is the part of the test's output I do like...being dead center of Reagan's forehead...Oh yeah!!!
I can identify everyone in the montage, except for I'm not sure about the guy at the very top left. It looks kind of like Admiral James Stockdale. It's probably Mussolini, since it's in the fascist section and he's the most famous fascist but it just doesn't look like him. Can anyone confirm or have a better idea who it is? [Update: Commenter Bif figured it out...and it's not Stockdale or Mussolini. See the comments if you are curious.]
After the jump, the standard output.
|You are a |
You are best described as a:
Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Social Conservative...yes. Economic Conservative...yes. Strong Republican...yes. But, the best part, it said: "You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness." Pretty accurate, I'd have to say.
I've been incredibly remiss in having never blogged about the huge stinking pile that is Tulsa's only daily newspaper, the Tulsa World or, as some call it, the Tulsa Whirled. The newspaper is such a grossly slanted and bias rag that we long ago cancelled our subscription. Subsequently, many of the newspaper and its owner's more corrupt dealings and old-boys club antics came to light. But, what more could we do since we'd already cancelled our subscription? Hello Photoshop! So, I offer up to the blogosphere the above Tulsa Whirled logo to use as you please.
Michael Bates of Batesline has done an excellent job of documenting much of the Tulsa Whirled's yellow journalism. As a result, and as further evidence of the Tulsa Whirled's freakish disconnect from reality, they threatened to sue him:
The reproduction of any articles and/or editorials (in whole or in part) on your website or linking your website to Tulsa World content is without the permission of the Tulsa World and constitutes an intentional infringement of the Tulsa World's copyright and other rights to the exclusive use and distribution of the copyrighted materials.
Therefore, we hereby demand that you immediately remove any Tulsa World material from your website, to include unauthorized links to our website...
Yes, you read that right. A newspaper which owes its very existence to the First Amendment saying to someone, "don't quote us" and...try not to laugh, "don't link to us." Of course the rag only threatened people who were writing things it didn't like: Chris Medlock, Tulsans for Election Integrity and TulsaNow. It completely left alone other people who were quoting and linking willy-nilly, proving that the copyright claim was just a smokescreen for there bullying tactics.
But that is just one example of the Tulsa Whirled's behavior that merits it the big stinking pile logo. Check out Batesline's Tulsa Whirled archive for more...and remember to hold your nose while you do.
I had started my own post in response to moronic politicians who know nothing about economics pandering to an electorate who knows even less about the alleged horrors of price gouging and what they were going to do to stop it. But instead, mostly due to constraints on my own time, I provide the following quotes from others who aren't ruled by brain-dead-knee-jerk-do-goodedness:
John Stossel, In Praise of Price Gouging:
Consider this scenario: You are thirsty -- worried that your baby is going to become dehydrated. You find a store that's open, and the storeowner thinks it's immoral to take advantage of your distress, so he won't charge you a dime more than he charged last week. But you can't buy water from him. It's sold out.
You continue on your quest, and finally find that dreaded monster, the price gouger. He offers a bottle of water that cost $1 last week at an "outrageous" price -- say $20. You pay it to survive the disaster.
You resent the price gouger. But if he hadn't demanded $20, he'd have been out of water. It was the price gouger's "exploitation" that saved your child.
Jeff Jacoby, Bring on the "Price Gougers":
IMAGINE a system that could instantly respond to a calamity like Hurricane Charley by mobilizing suppliers to speed urgently needed resources to the victims. Imagine that such a system could quickly attract the out-of-town manpower needed for cleanup and repairs, while seeing to it that existing supplies were neither recklessly squandered nor hoarded. Imagine that it could prompt thousands of men and women to act in the public interest, yet not force anyone to do anything against his will.
Actually, there's no need to imagine. The system already exists. Economists refer to it as the law of supply and demand. Unfortunately, too many journalists and politicians call it by a more pejorative and destructive name: "price-gouging."
Air fares climb during peak travel periods, hotels charge more during the tourist season -- and yes, Virginia, ice sells at a premium when tens of thousands of Florida homes are without refrigeration and air conditioning in the middle of August. It isn't gouging to charge what the market will bear. It isn't greedy or brazen. It's how goods and services get allocated in a free society -- without the chronic shortages and corruption that are the usual result of price controls and rationing. And never is the flexibility of an unhampered market more essential than in the aftermath of a catastrophe.
Of course, price spikes are infuriating, especially to someone whose life has just been thrown into turmoil by a deadly storm. But they do far more good than harm. Higher prices make it possible for victims to get the help they need to ride out the crisis and for the devastated region to recover as quickly as possible. They do so by sending the message that critical supplies and skills are urgently needed, and by inducing consumers with less-pressing needs to voluntarily defer to those whose needs are more exigent.
At the same time, price increases perform what George Mason University economist Donald Boudreaux calls "economic triage," directing supplies and repairs to those whose need for them is most pressing. Someone who wants a generator so he can power his computer and TV might be willing to rent one for $250. At $400, he is more likely to decide he can live without it -- thereby making it available to the butcher desperate for electricity so he can keep thousands of dollars' worth of meat from spoiling.
When demand increases, prices go up. As prices rise, supplies do, too. And with higher supplies eventually come lower prices. It isn't "gouging," it's the way the world works -- even after hurricanes.
Thomas Sowell, "Price gouging" in Florida:
For centuries, in countries around the world, laws limiting how high prices are allowed to go has led to consumers demanding more than was being supplied, while suppliers supplied less. Thus rent control has consistently led to housing shortages and price controls on food have led to hunger and even starvation.
Wikipedia, Price Gouging:
...laws against price increases serve only to restrict supplies of a good or service by reducing the incentive suppliers have to undertake any additional costs, hazards or inconvenience that may be required.
A co-worker and Freeper known as Guido and his father attended the Sept. 3, 2005, St. Louis, Missouri, Cindy "Sheehadi" Sheehan Bus Tour Counter-Protest. On this page are pictures taken by Guido and his father.
Here is the Free Republic thread about the counter-protest.
Yesterday, Oklahoma had a special election to determine whether the state's gasoline tax should be raised five cents a gallon. Yes, you read that right. Our esteemed legislators wanted to raise the price of gasoline five cents a gallon obstensibly to pay for roads and bridge construction. Of course, it never occurred to them to stop treating the existing $0.16/gallon gasoline and $0.13/gallon diesel tax as a general slush fund and actually allocate it to roads and bridges which everyone agrees hasn't ever been done. That would be far to difficult and so, as always, the legislators' answer is to raise taxes. Unfortunately, for the legislators, the proposal required voter approval. Oklahoma voters decided against playing the role of a bottmless piggy bank 87% to 13%.
In my ongoing mockery of our ID-less voting system, here is the conversation that transpired at my local polling place yesterday:
Poll Worker 1: Hi, how are you?
Me: Exhausted, I've been going all over the city voting today.
Poll Worker 1: (smiles and lightly chuckles)
Poll Worker 2: Name?
Me: What precinct is this?
Poll Worker 1: Precinct 183.
Me: (looks at scrap paper pulled from pocket) Hmmmm...183...for this precinct I'm D-A-N-Z...Don Danz.
Poll Worker 1: (laughing out loud)
Poll Worker 2: (oblivious to the world, finds name and turns voter list around for me to sign)
Me: (signs name) It's rediculous that you can't check IDs. You have no idea who I am.
Poll Worker 1: Yes, it is rediclous. The system needs to be fixed.
Me: Yes, it does.
As I have said before, I can't imagine anything more asinine than not checking a photo ID before someone is allowed to vote. Who could possibly be against checking a person's ID before they vote? Well, quite frankly, Democrats are opposed to it. Why? Because they say it disproportionately frightens blacks and the elderly and would keep them from voting. This is not only untrue but, also, incredibly insulting to blacks and the elderly. I guess blacks and old people don't use checks or credit cards either because they are too scared someone will want to see some ID. What a load of crap.
The only real reason to oppose checking identification is that in some places Democrats rely on widespread voter fraud in order to be elected. There simply is no other reason to oppose mandatory photo identification before voting.
This week's liberal media fixation was Pat Robertson's statement about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Robertson said:
You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.
Oh the horrors of a private citizen mulling about the notion of giving a paranoid dictator a taste of what he doles out to his own people on a daily basis. Pat Robertson is a conservative evangelical preacher and so, predictably, the frothing liberal media has trumpeted Robertson's comment as a major news story because: (a) they care about Americans calling for the assassination of a foreign leader, or (b) they will take any opportunity to attack a conservative?
George Stephanopoulos is currently the host of ABC's Sunday morning news show, "This Week." Stephanopoulos was previously Bill Clinton's Press Secretary, Communications Director and Senior Advisor on Policy and Strategy. After leaving the Clinton White House, the former senior government advisor wrote an article which appeared in the December 1, 1997, issue of Newsweek magazine entitled: "Why We Should Kill Saddam." In it Stephanopoulos wrote:
If we can kill Saddam, we should.
What's unlawful - and unpopular with the allies - is not necessarily immoral.
First, we could offer to provide money and materiel to Iraqi exiles willing to lead an effort to overthrow Saddam...The second option is a targeted airstrike against the homes or bunkers where Saddam is most likely to be hiding.
Stephanopoulos had previously called for Saddam Hussein's assassination on ABC'S "This Week," on November 9, 1997: "This is probably one of those rare cases where assassination is the more moral course...we should kill him." The discussion of which was probably the genesis of Stephanopoulos' Newsweek column.
Now everyone remembers the uproar over Stephanopoulos' comments, right? You don't? Well, that's because there was none. In fact, the liberal talking heads themselves were calling for the assassination of Saddam Hussein around the same time:
Thomas Friedman, foreign affairs columnist, New York Times, November 6, 1997: "Saddam Hussein is the reason God created cruise missiles. ...So if and when Saddam pushes beyond the brink, and we get that one good shot, let's make sure it's a head shot."
Sam Donaldson, co-host of ABC's "This Week," November 9, 1997: We should kill Saddam "under cover of law.... We can do business with his successor."
Bill Kristol, ABC News analyst, for ABC's "This Week," November 9, 1997: "It sounds good to me."
Cokie Roberts, co-host of ABC's "This Week," November 9, 1997: "Well, now that we've come out for murder on this broadcast, let us move on to fast-track..."
Jonathan Alter, Newsweek, November 17, 1997: "It won't be easy to take him out. ...But we need to try, because the only language Saddam has ever understood is force."
Clearly, the liberal media does not have a problem calling for the assassination of a foreign leader. The only reason Pat Robertson's comments made the headlines this week is that they, one, came from a conservative and, two, the liberal media was either too stupid or just hoped no one would remember their own comments and/or lack of condemnation of their peer's comments. If you want to continue believing there is no liberal media bias, that's fine. Meanwhile, people with good memories or access to Lexis/Nexis or Westlaw will know otherwise.
The abuse of power and the cloak of secrecy from the White House continues. ... It's a devious maneuver that evades the constitutional requirement of Senate consent and only further darkens the cloud over Mr. Bolton's credibility at the U.N. Source.
Wow..."abuse of power," "cloak of secrecy," "devious maneuver," "evades constitutional requirement," "darkens the cloud...over credibility." Clearly Mr. Kennedy doesn't like the Constitution's explicit grant of the power to U.S. Presidents to make recess appointments found in Article II, Section 2, Clause 3: "The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate."
Just one question Sen. Kennedy, did you ever say one negative thing--just once--about any of President Clinton's 140 recess appointments? While I could be wrong, I spent a little time searching and couldn't find where Kennedy ever criticized Clinton's use of recess appointments in such manner. Either the 73 year old senator just discovered the horrors of recess appointments or he's intentionally making completely baseless accusations (also known as lying) which he knows a willing media will gladly trumpet to the masses.
Just an historical note, Senator Edward Kennedy's brother, President John F. Kennedy appointed Thurgood Marshall, the first black to serve on the United States Supreme Court, by using a recess appointment in order to overcome possible resistance in the Senate. So, you've got to either admit that Senator Kennedy is a lying horse's butt, or that he believed his brother abused his power in a devious maneuver improperly evading Constitutional requirements when Thurgood Marshall was appointed and that Marshall served on the Supreme Court for twenty-four years under a dark cloud of questionable credibility.
September 22, 1990, Ronald Brochstein was a first year law student at the University of Tulsa College of Law. I was a second year student and, as far as I can remember, never had the pleasure of meeting the young man known to his family and friends as Ron or Ronnie.
In the spring of 1990, Ron received his undergraduate degree in political science from Fort Lewis University in Durango, Colorado. A close friend from Fort Lewis described Ron as a, "quiet, shy, soft-spoken guy who always saw the good in people." Academically, he was "an extremely dedicated student" who's majority of time was spent "with his nose in the books." "Ron was as straight as an arrow. He never drank or did drugs. He was the type of guy who'd go to a bar on a Friday night and order a Coke." A study mate at TU described him as, "a friendly guy and an extremely dedicated student." A longtime friend from Ron's hometown of Houston, Texas, said that Ron "never got mad at anybody" and was known to be "happy in every way."
I can't imagine another type of person that we need more of in this world than that of Ronald Brochstein. He was the type who wouldn't hesitate to help two perfect strangers at a convenience store who needed assistance jump-starting their car parked just down the road. And that's exactly what Ron did that Saturday in September 1990. Ron, who always saw the best in people, couldn't have imagined that those two individuals would rob, abduct and put a gun to his head blowing his brains across a field in Sapulpa.
A more senseless crime committed by more disgusting pieces of human debris I cannot imagine. How people cannot believe in the death penalty, I equally cannot fathom. The non-shooting perpetrator was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Facing the death penalty, the shooter plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence.
That was 15 years ago. Just last week I received a letter from the parents and sister of Ron sent to everyone who was a student at TU Law School at the same time as Ron informing them, unbelievably, that the two pieces of shit who've been enjoying a life a leisure watching cable TV, working out, eating three square meals a day, taking time to read the great classics, corresponding with family and friends, are up for parole. P-A-R-O-L-E...as in, hope you enjoyed your brief stay, have a nice time among the normal people...until you kill again. Un-freaking-believable!
The letter from Ron's parents and sister requested, if I was opposed to the granting of parole, that letters be written to the Pardon & Parole Board informing them of my objection. The decision to write was easy. But what to write took some consideration. At first, I contemplated a longer letter explaining who I was and the reasons for my objection. In the end, I decided the parole board was likely not interested in me or my reasons and I wrote the following short note on firm letterhead addressed to the Oklahoma Pardon & Parole Board:
To Whom It May Concern:
I most strenuously object to the parole of [inmate]. The incredibly heinous nature of his crimes against a completely innocent victim should preclude consideration of any early release/parole.
I urge you to deny parole to [inmate].
Very truly yours,
My letter sent in regard to the shooter contained an additional paragraph stating that the plea bargain entered into, with the Brochstein family's approval, was not a plea bargain in exchange for a fifteen year sentence and that it would be just as unfair to now go back on that agreement and place the individual on death row as it would be to let him go free.
Surprisingly, or just sadly, there is not much information on the internet about writing to parole boards. It seems as fundamental a part of being a citizen as voting, yet this is the first time in 39 years I've done it and I don't personally know anyone else who's ever done it. I wish I'd never have to do it again, but I have the feeling this may be a recurring endeavor.
Well, the Michael Jackson verdict is in and now we know that it's perfectly wonderful for a fat unemployed disgusting middle-age white trash guy living in a trailer park to befriend a woman (just make sure she’ll be hated by the jury), show pornography to her little boy, ply him with alcohol, and sleep with him for weeks on end.
Homosexual pedophiles: you have a green light!
Update: Some of the talking-heads and others who should know better as well as just random people are saying that Michael Jackson was found "innocent." Far from it, he was found "not guilty." I don't think there is a juror that would leave their child or grandchild with Michael Jackson for a night. Some seem to even express the idea that they believe he is probably guilty but that the prosecution simply didn't meet its burden of proof that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Again, Michael Jackson absolutely was not found innocent or in any way exonerated of the changes against him.
"Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I'm sure the candidates' SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead."
- Former Executive Editor of the New York Times
"The 'Dumb' Factor," Washington Post, August 27, 2004
Yale Graduates: Senator Kerry & President Bush
Everyone knows...that is, if you get your information from the mainstream media...that last year's presidential campaign was between a dimwitted incumbent who nearly flunked out of college and a true intellectual who understood the nuances of complex issues. So great was the intellect of the challenger that he could justify voting both for and against the same bill while denying that he waffled on the issue.
President George W. Bush's critics made much of the 1999 release of his Yale undergraduate grades. President Bush's cumulative grade score was a 77 (based on his first three years and a similar average under a non-numerical rating system implemented his senior year). What we didn't know, until this week, was that while President Bush was being mocked about his grades, Senator John F. Kerry was hiding a slightly worse academic past.
Senator Kerry, who graduated from Yale two years before President Bush, received a cumulative 76 during his four years including four D's his freshman year and another his sophomore year. Bush received just one D during his four years at Yale. Add this to the fact that last year it came out that Bush actually scored higher than Kerry in their military aptitude/IQ tests.
And don't forget 2000 presidential candidate Algore who the media also portrayed as an intellectual genius but who, after receiving his undergraduate degree, received F's in five of eight classes he took at Vanderbilt University's divinity school before
flunking out leaving without receiving a degree. Algore also enrolled in Vanderbilt's law school but, again, "left without receiving a degree." President Bush meanwhile earned an M.B.A. from Harvard.
Over the Memorial Day Weekend my family visited the Tulsa Zoo. While walking near the elephants we came across the statue on the left. Although I didn't know its name at the time, "Ganesha," I knew it was a Hindu religious symbol and that it stood out like a sore thumb in the secular zoo setting. Why is it, I wondered, that people who wouldn't in a million years think of displaying a large crucifix sculpture or a representation of Noah's Ark with all the animals marching two by two, have no problem displaying religious symbols of non-Christian religions?
The double standard among allegedly secular people in their attitude towards Christianity and other religions is a pervasive and growing problem in America. Schools won't hesitate to
indoctrinate teach about Islam for instance, when they wouldn't dare teach an identical curriculum on Christianity. Statues of non-Christian religious symbols are erected while tiny crosses representing objective historical heritage must be removed from city seals. No one bats an eye at the large granite globe by the Tulsa Zoo entrance which proclaims the secular humanists' battle cry, "the earth is our mother, the sky is our father."
So, in the midst of, "why are you wasting a picture on that" from my better half, I snapped a photo of Ganesha to remind me of its incongruity in an otherwise excellent public zoo. As it turns out, the controversy over the Hindu statue would come to a boil just days later.
Family friend John Jones was quoted in the media stating, "we need to leave it to the display of animals, and the education of children about nature." Brett Fidler, Curator of the large mammals explained, "We exhibit [the statue] out of the religious context, strictly as a museum piece." I'd believe this if he or anyone else could point out a Christian symbol exhibited "out of the religious context" or "strictly as a museum piece." I don't believe this explanation holds water. Rather this is just another example of the double standard which holds non-Christian religions can be mentioned or represented in an innocuous manner but any mention or representation of Christianity, no matter how slight, is always inappropriate.
Rather than remove the Hindu icon, Tulsan Dan Hicks wanted a biblical account of creation added but zoo staff, not surprisingly, rejected this suggestion. The Tulsa Zoo says the belief that God created the animals has no scientific merit and that's why it's not mentioned at the zoo. Brett Fidler added, "we display things that have been proven through the scientific method and intelligent design has not been proven, to the point that it belongs at an institution like the Tulsa Zoo." One can only wonder how it is that Mr. Fidler believes that a pot bellied Hindu god with four arms and the head of a one-tusked elephant riding a mouse has "been proven through the scientific method"?
Despite zoo employee opposition, the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board voted 3-to-1 Tuesday to display the biblical version of the Earth's creation in an exhibit at the zoo. It'll be placed on a wall in the Time Gallery area inside the zoo's Arctic building and will include a disclaimer saying the display is one example of one widely held view of the origins of Earth. One can only wonder whether Ganesha will be given a disclaimer.
It is hard to conceive the epic scope of this decisive battle that foreshadowed the end of Hitler's dream of Nazi domination. Operation Overlord was the largest air, land, and sea operation ever undertaken before or since June 6, 1944. The landing included over 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes, and over 150,000 service men.
After years of meticulous planning and seemingly endless training, for the Allied Forces, it all came down to this: The boat ramp goes down, then jump, swim, run, and crawl to the cliffs. Many of the first young men (most not yet 20 years old) entered the surf carrying eighty pounds of equipment. They faced over 200 yards of open beach before reaching the first natural feature offering any protection. Blanketed by small-arms fire and bracketed by artillery, they found themselves in hell.
When it was over, the Allied Forces had suffered nearly 10,000 casualties; more than 4,000 were dead. Yet somehow, due to planning and preparation, and due to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the Allied Forces, Fortress Europe had been breached.
On this the first anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's death, I replayed one of my favorite speeches of his. In all the memorials after his death, there were many montages of videos and sound bites taken from his various speeches. However, I heard almost nothing quoted from this speech, although it is easily one of his greatest. Simple oversight or evidence of the networks' outright hatred of religion--I have my opinion. It's fifteen minutes long but well worth a listen: President Reagan's remarks at an ecumenical prayer breakfast in Dallas, Texas on August 23, 1984.
On May 24, 2005, I wrote a post entitled:
"Seven Idiot Republicans."
Her column is a good read and explains in her traditionally brilliant and biting style what I didn't take the time to do. I just wish she would think of her own headlines.
Last year, just before Memorial Day, I was in a meeting with an attorney who, although born, raised and educated in the United States was completely clueless as to what Memorial Day was all about. Despite being highly educated and easily more intelligent than myself, she believed Memorial Day was a day to remember any and all lost loved ones.
In discussing everyone's plans for the upcoming holiday, I commented that I didn't have any plans other than being sure to put our flag out and to remember all those that had died so that we could be there that day. She responded that her and her family would be remembering her aunt that had passed away at an early age. I was somewhat confused and asked if her aunt had been in the military. She responded that her aunt had not been in the service. I replied that Memorial Day was really about remembering those who have died in our nation's service. She responded confidently that Memorial Day (she emphasized "Memorial" as if this would make it clearer to me) was about remembering everyone who has died. I just silently nodded and tried to hide my disappointment and disbelief.
Let's get one thing perfectly clear. And, on this there is no debate. Memorial Day is a very specific well defined day of remembrance solely for those who have died in our nation's service. It's not even about honoring those that are currently serving in our armed forces. That day is Armed Forces Day which was just held on the 21st of last month. And, this most sacred of all days, certainly isn't about remembering some aunt who never saw the inside of a barracks or held a rifle and who didn't selflessly and heroically lay down her life so that the American people could enjoy the freedoms that are the envy of the world.
Sure, you can celebrate the weighing of people name Chris or Christine on December 25. You can celebrate everyone's birthday on January 1 and you can celebrate how much you love Doritos on July 4. It's a free country. We're not going to chop your head off as happens in some other countries if you don't toe the line. But, if you want to be right and show some respect for those that paid the ultimate price so that we could sit back and be dumb, fat and lazy if we so choose, then you'll spend a few minutes today remembering those who have died in our nation's service. Ideally, you will take a few moments at 3:00 p.m. (local time) during the "National Moment of Remembrance" to pay your respect.
I just wanted to say that the following seven "Republicans" are complete idiots: John McCain (Arizona), John Warner (Virginia), Mike DeWine (Ohio), Lindsay Graham (South Carolina), Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Lincoln Chaffee (Rhode Island).
Instead of taking the time to explain or argue the point right now, I'll just refer back to this post in the not so distant future with a big, "I told you so."
Ten years ago today, sometime around 6:30 am, I
broke snuck into an unoccupied floor of the City Place Building in downtown Oklahoma City. It was the building I worked in at my first job in Oklahoma City so I was familiar with the view it offered and I knew I would have a fairly descent view of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building implosion scheduled for 7:00 am that morning. I set up my Canon EOS 650 with a telephoto lens on a tripod, took some wide angle photos, zoomed in, took one more photo, set the camera to continuous exposure (approximately 3 frames a second), got reasonably comfortable, put my finger on the shutter button, looked toward what remained of the Murrah Building and waited.
Less than 150 pounds of explosives had been carefully placed at 420 locations by CDI (Controlled Demolition, Inc.). At 7:01 am, the button was pushed to implode the building. A split second later, I pushed and held the shutter button on my camera. Seven seconds later it was done. The second photo below is the first one I took of the implosion. The next three photos are 3, 8 and 12 frames later. I waited some time for the smoke to clear before taking the last photo.
Shortly after the implosion, the bodies of the remaining three victims of the April 19th bombing were removed from the rubble. My story about the day of the bombing.
President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.
On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department--the Department of Defense.
It is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953
Today let us, as Americans, honor the American fighting man. For it is he--the soldier, the sailor, the Airman, the Marine--who has fought to preserve freedom. It is his valor that has given renewed hope to the free world that by working together in discipline and faith our ideals of freedom will always prevail.
Admiral Forrest P. Sherman
Word to the Nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard.
President John F. Kennedy, 1962
This is the day on which we have the welcome opportunity to pay special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces...to all the individuals who are in the service of their country all over the world. Armed Forces Day won't be a matter of parades and receptions for a good many of them. They will all be in line of duty and some of them may give their lives in that duty.
It is our most earnest hope that those who are in positions of peril, that those who have made exceptional sacrifices, yes, and those who are afflicted with plain drudgery and boredom, may somehow know that we hold them in exceptional esteem. Perhaps if we are a little more conscious of our debt of honored affection they may be a little more aware of how much we think of them.
New York Times, May 17, 1952
(Armed Forces Day is celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May. Armed Forces Week begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May, the day after Armed Forces Day. Because of their unique training schedules, National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week over any period in May.)
A few people have asked me about my random quotes in the left hand column. I currently have
fourteen thirteen in the rotation, in no particular order. I haven't made any great effort to seek new ones out. I just add them as I come across them.
What is one of your favorite quotes?
Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
- John Adams
Political correctness is just tyranny with manners.
- Charlton Heston
To pursue the concept of racial entitlement even for the most admirable and benign of purposes is to reinforce and preserve for future mischief the way of thinking that produced race slavery, race privilege and race hatred. In the eyes of government, we are just one race here. It is American.
- Antonin Scalia
Well I've said it before and I'll say it again -- America's best days are yet to come. Our proudest moments are yet to be. Our most glorious achievements are just ahead. America remains what Emerson called her 150 years ago, 'the country of tomorrow.' What a wonderful description and how true. And yet tomorrow might never have happened had we lacked the courage in the 1980's to chart a course of strength and honor.
- Ronald Reagan, 1992 National Convention
Other than eliminating Slavery, Fascism, Nazism, and Communism, what has War ever accomplished?
We have sent men and women from the armed forces of the United States to other parts of the world throughout the past century to put down oppression. We defeated Fascism. We defeated Communism. We saved Europe in World War I and World War II. We were willing to do it, glad to do it. We went to Korea. We went to Vietnam. All in the interest of preserving the rights of people. And when all those conflicts were over, what did we do? Did we stay and conquer? Did we say, 'Okay, we defeated Germany. Now Germany belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us'? No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul. And did we ask for any land? No, the only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead. And that is the kind of nation we are.
- Colin Powell, MTV Global Discussion, February 14, 2002
Those who are wringing their hands and shouting so loudly for 'heads to roll' over this [prison scandal] seem to have conveniently overlooked the fact that someone's head HAS rolled - that of another innocent American brutally murdered by terrorists. Why is it? Why is it that there's more indignation over a photo of a prisoner with underwear on his head than over the video of a young American with no head at all.
- Sen. Zell Miller, (D-GA)
History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
When a strict interpretation of the Constitution, according to the fixed rules which govern the interpretation of laws, is abandoned, and the theoretical opinions of individuals are allowed to control its meaning, we have no longer a Constitution; we are under the government of individual men, who for the time being have power to declare what the Constitution is, according to their own views of what it ought to mean.
- Benjamin R. Curtis, Supreme Court Justice dissenting in Dred Scott v. Sandford
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those, who in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.
If you’re listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you’re a bigger moron than they are.
- Alice Cooper, Rock Star
It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.
- Father Dennis Edward O'Brian, USMC
Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
- George Orwell
[Edited to remove duplicate.]
I feel so dirty...I've been linked to by the Democratic Underground. This picture of Ayatollah Khomeini's funeral from my post comparing Reagan & Khomeini Funerals was linked to in the DU forums in a thread about Pope John Paul II's funeral. Notice that I'm not linking back to the DU...not even with a nofollow tag.
Every day someone links to a picture from my cryptically named Pictures section of this site. People posting to Free Republic are probably the most common users of the pictures I host. And, the most commonly linked photo is the one on the right which was also linked to by Fark resulting in over 5,000 hits in just one day. I created the picture by pasting together individual photos from the FBI website since I couldn't find any media provider who had put the 9/11 hijackers' mugshots all together.
I don't think the politically correct liberal media's omission of a nice group photos of these individuals was an accident because when you see them all together you cannot help but come to one inescapable conclusion: we just might want to focus our limited security resources on young middle-eastern males instead of equally across the board on elderly Asian women and Scandinavian children. Notice I said "focus" which does not mean to the exclusion of others. In World War II we knew generally what a German looked like and what the Japanese looked like. Well, this time around, while there are obviously going to be exceptions, we again have a general idea of what the enemy looks like. Why is this so horrible to admit?
This is the second most linked to picture of mine. I found it with a MasterCard parody written under it. You know the type: flag X dollars, gas Y dollars, having Allah bitch-slap you for being an idiot...priceless. I removed the parody caption as I believed the picture was fully self-explanatory and more powerful without it.
I invite you to take a look at my Pictures section. Almost all of the photos have been linked to many times over.
|"You're the perfect sycophant of the Republican elite. Tom DeLay and Karl Rove would be utterly proud of you."|
/tongue only slightly in cheek while answering
My goal of being a sycophant has finally been obtained. I am, though, very concerned about that last 2%.
With just a little work...you can score 142%. Just imagine what the answers would be in a utopian world. It said, "You think the Klan and the Nazis are too soft. Probably because they let in too many closet gays." Wow...like it was reading my mind! /tongue still slightly in cheek
You can score all the way down to -37 where it will tell you: "The Marxists are too reactionary for you. With people like you around, America collectively thanks God for John Ashcroft."
Hat tip CGHill.
Twenty-five years ago today eight of our nation's finest died during Operation Eagle Claw, an aborted attempt to rescue American hostages held captive in Iran. Three Marines died aboard a modified CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter which collided with a C-130 Hercules aircraft killing five airmen aboard it. The staging area inside Iran where the collision took place was Desert one.
Capt. Richard L. Bakke, 34, Long Beach, CA. Air Force.
Sgt. John D. Harvey, 21, Roanoke, VA. Marine Corps.
Cpl. George N. Holmes, Jr., 22, Pine Bluff, AR. Marine Corps.
Staff Sgt. Dewey L. Johnson, 32, Jacksonville, NC. Marine Corps.
Capt. Harold L. Lewis, 35, Mansfield, CT. Air Force.
Tech. Sgt. Joel C. Mayo, 34, Bonifay, FL. Air Force.
Capt. Lynn D. McIntosh, 33, Valdosta, GA. Air Force.
Capt. Charles T. McMillan II, 28, Corrytown, TN. Air Force.
I believe it was one of the lowest points in modern American military history and no small contributor to President Carter's subsequent defeat. After 444 days in captivity, the hostages were released immediately after President Reagan took the oath of office.
Ten years ago today at 9:02 am I was sitting in my office in Oklahoma City when I heard an explosion that literally shook my desk. I was on the twelfth floor of a twelve story building and my first thought was that a boiler had exploded on the roof or possibly a tanker truck had exploded at street level immediately in front of my building. I would have doubted the explosion could have come from a block away and thought it impossible that it had happened four blocks away.
I got up from my desk and walked out of my office where I met a coworker who had just left his office. I had been with the firm for just five weeks and asked my coworker jokingly, “Does this happen often here?” He smiled and responded that it did not.
A secretary whose station faced north alerted everyone to the cloud of smoke which appeared to be rising from the Federal Court House three blocks north of our building.
In the aerial photo, my building, the Robinson Renaissance is at the bottom with my office in yellow, the Federal Bankruptcy Court House is three blocks north with the red roof, the Federal Court House is attached to the north side of it and the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building is represented by the top red rectangle.
At this point it was apparent that this was a significant event and it appeared that the Federal Court House which I had just been in the previous week was the site of the explosion. My father, in Illinois, was always on top of the news often alerting me to Oklahoma weather conditions prior to my learning of them. I realized that sometime during the day he would hear about an explosion at a court house in Oklahoma City. I decided to call him to let him know that I was OK so that he and, more likely my mother, would not worry. I called home, my father answered and I relayed to him what little we knew or thought we knew at the time and assured him that I was alright. He was very thankful that I had called and said that he’d relay the information to my mom and sister.
I then called my wife, fiancée at the time, in Tulsa to tell her the same information. Unlike my dad, her attitude was much more casual and she initially refused to relay the information to her parents. Within five minutes after the explosion I had notified those that mattered of the events and that I was not involved which was a good thing since ten minutes later the phone lines in and out of Oklahoma City were so jammed that no calls got through for the next day or so.
Everyone in the office was glued to the windows watching the smoke rise and emergency vehicles converge. Several radios were on but they offered little more information than what we could already observe. The father of a young associate in the office was a federal judge and at this point in time we still thought that the explosion had taken place in the Federal Court House. The associate was indecisive about what she should do as she was obviously very concerned about her father. She expressed a desire to go to the court house but was hesitant. I offered to go with her and she accepted. She and I made our way towards the Federal Court House but were intercepted by police who were already in the process of cordoning off the area. After wandering around the perimeter for a while we eventually ran into her father in the lobby of a building. He was in the process of looking for his two daughters who worked downtown. Remember, by then, there was no phone service.
I eventually went back to the office where after a while we were all told to go home. Even four blocks away there were many building with windows broken. The severity of the damage away from the federal building is one of the lesser known effects of the Oklahoma City bombing. People who toured the area shortly afterwards often commented how they didn’t realize the extent of the damage to other buildings. Several other buildings had collapsed or subsequently had to be torn down due to structural damage and over 300 buildings suffered some form of damage including ones as far as ten blocks away.
The diagram shows the Murrah Building in the center with damaged buildings in brown.
This past Tuesday I voted in a local election on a city bond issue and a runoff for the school board. I have never missed an election since I first voted for President Reagan in 1984--the first year I was eligible to vote. Far too many of our nation's finest have died for this sacred right for me to take it for granted.
Perhaps surprisingly though, I'm perfectly alright with half the nation or more not regularly voting. This is because I don't believe one should vote if they are not knowledgeable about the issues. Nor should one vote if they have completely screwed up lives. Think about it; imagine someone who has, at every opportunity, made the wrong decision—-they are uneducated, unskilled, unemployed/underemployed, gone from one dysfunctional relationship to another and for unknown reasons the first intelligent thing they have ever done is register to vote. Do you really trust that person to make two brilliant decisions in a row?
So on to the point of this post. Here is the conversation that transpired at my local polling place this past Tuesday:
Me: Hi. (smiling)
Poll Worker 1: Last name? (smiling)
Me: Danz...Don Danz. (now with dead serious expression and tone) But, I'm not really him. And, you can't do anything about it because you can't ask for my ID. (I sign my name…or at least my alias for that precinct)
Poll Worker 2: We don’t care. (hands me my ballots)
Poll Worker 3: The state of Oklahoma doesn't care. (everyone exchanges knowing smiles and small chuckles as it's obvious I'm making a point with which the workers agree)
Me: (after having voted) We'll I'm off to go vote in a few more precincts.
Poll Worker 2: Good luck.
I can't imagine anything more asinine than not checking a photo ID before someone is allowed to vote. Who could possibly be against checking a person's ID before they vote? Well, Democrats are opposed to it. Why? Because they say it disproportionately frightens blacks and the elderly and would keep them from voting. This is not only untrue but, also, incredibly insulting to blacks and the elderly. I guess blacks and old people don’t use checks or credit cards either because they are too scared someone will want to see some ID. What a load of crap.
The only real reason to oppose checking identification is that in some places Democrats rely on widespread voter fraud in order to be elected. There simply is no other reason to oppose mandatory photo identification before voting.
Theresa Marie Schiavo died today. How some can see this as a "victory," I don't understand. Unfortunately, the issues surrounding her death are a lot like the abortion issue, in that most people have very strongly held beliefs which are not easily swayed by short little snippets of argument. And, for reasons I don't entirely understand, the fight over Terri's life became divided along political lines with the left fighting to kill her, or as they would argue "let her die," and the right fighting to keep her alive. Discussion of the issues is complicated by the fact that most people, including myself, do not know all the facts of the case. Given that lack of information, one would think that people would err on the side of letting someone live. But, bizarrely...grotesquely...the left rallied around efforts to kill Terri.
One of the primary problems in discussing Terri's case is that many people simply have the issues confused which, not surprisingly, results in inappropriate conclusions. I've heard and read a hundred times, "Well, I wouldn't want to live that way." People who express this are stating a personal fact that is wholly irrelevant to Terri's situation. It's best to just walk away as logical discussion is not likely to follow. The primary issue is what did Terri want and what should be done when there is no objective evidence of her desires?
There was no written evidence of what Terri wanted to be done in her situation or in any similar situation. Five people testified as to Terri's verbally expressed desires: Terri's mom and one of Terri's friends who said she would want to live and Michael, Michael's brother and Michael's sister-in-law who said she wouldn't want to keep on living. Some people find her mother and friend more credible, while other people are more inclined to believe Michael's brother and sister-in-law. Personally, I think it's a wash between the four of them, which leaves us with Michael.
Terri and Michael were married in 1984 when Terri was just nineteen. How many people reading this would want the person they were dating/married to when they were nineteen to decide their fate when they were forty-one? In 1990, when Terri is twenty-six, she suffered a heart attack which deprived her brain of oxygen. Michael argued that the heart attack was caused by a potassium imbalance brought about by bulimia which doctors failed to diagnose.
Now presumably at this time, Michael was well aware of Terri's desires not live in the condition she was in. But, there is one absolute fact that any plaintiff or attorney knows: if you are going to sue someone, you will get a lot more money on behalf of a person who needs a lifetime of therapy and medical support than you will for a corpse. Jury verdicts are many times greater if you injure someone who is going to suffer a lifetime of disability than if you simply kill someone. Whether this is right or wrong is irrelevant, it's just a fact.
So, Michael kept his mouth shut about any desire of Terri to have her feeding tube pulled and instead testified about the lifetime of medical care and therapy Terri needed. As a result, in 1992, Terri was awarded $250,000 in a settlement with one of her physicians. A jury awarded more than a million dollars against another physician which was later settled with about $300,000 going directly to Michael and about $750,000 being put in a trust fund specifically for Terri Schiavo's medical care.
However, despite a million dollars in the bank for Terri's medical care, Michael never authorized and, in fact actively prohibited, Terri from receiving any physical therapy or basic medical care. In 1994, Michael wouldn't allow treatment of a urinary tract infection and sometime around 1995 he even put an end to Terri's teeth being cleaned. A lot of sites have long lists of many items of basic care and simple humanity which Michael deprived Terri and which I've not seen refuted anywhere.
Then, in 1998, Michael asked the court to authorize the removal of Terri's feeding tube presumably after having just remembered that Terri had clearly expressed to him before her injury her desire not to live the way she had been for the last eight years.
Finally, we get back to the real issue. Before she was injured, did Terri express her desires and were those desires to have a feeding tube removed despite not being terminal and not requiring any other "life support"? Remember, what you or I would want is not relevant. And, try and stay logical for a moment...what Terri would have wanted, but did not express, is also irrelevant. The only thing that counts, the only issue, is what did Terri actually state were her desires?
With the less-than-credible witnesses tied at two to two, it all comes down to Michael. Also, consider that Michael has since found another love with whom he has two children. I actually don't at all fault him for moving on, but you can't have it both ways. You can't move on with your life and still make life determining decisions for your prior spouse. That just makes no sense.
Now for just a little legalese. The standard which the courts must determine whether Terri expressed her desire to have her feeding tube removed is by "clear and convincing" evidence. This is the highest burden in a civil case. It means that, even if everyone agreed that it was more probable than not that Terri would want her feeding tube pulled, the court still could not order removal. Only if the evidence was clear and convincing that such were her express wishes, would it be proper to allow her to die in that manner.
It is my contention and that of many conservatives that under the clear and convincing standard, looking at the case as a whole, and being cognizant of the very narrow primary issue, there is insufficient evidence to support the pulling of Terri's feeding tube and allowing her to die.
[This post is not finished.]
I just received the following:
Dear Pro-Life Friend,
I’m taking the unusual step of emailing the entire pro-life blogs mailing list because of a critical situation that has developed in the case of Terri Schiavo.
Today, the courts rejected the pleas of Terri’s parents to stop her husband, Michael, from withholding food and water from her. He has promised to begin starving her tomorrow at 1 pm.
Most of you are aware that Terri is not a "vegetable" or "brain-dead" as Michael and his lawyers claim, but responds to others and is aware of her surroundings. She laughs, smiles and, according to her nurses, has a small vocabulary.
Terri is not on life support and is healthy. She needs help eating and is fed through a tube (helping someone eat and drink who is impaired has never been considered artificial life support).
While Michael asserts he is carrying out Terri's wishes, he waited until after he received a large sum of money from a lawsuit against her doctors before making this claim. During the lawsuit, he alleged negligence and motivated a financial award with the potential cost of Terri’s rehabilitation.
However, Terri has been denied rehabilitation that experts testify could allow her to eat and talk. The courts in Florida have consistently blocked appeals to give Terri proper tests and therapy that would improve her life.
Terri may not have the capabilities she once had, but she is no less valuable and no less a person.
Here is what you can do to help Terri:
1. Pray for Terri and her family.
2. Blog - communicate the truth about what is going on and rally support for Terri and the Schindlers.
3. Visit BlogsforTerri for information and to join the team of blogs for Terri.
4. Deluge Gov. Jeb Bush with emails and phone calls. He has the power to intervene. Here is his contact information:
Governor Jeb Bush
850 / 488-4441
850 / 487-0801 (fax)
5. Support HB701(click here).
6. Important - Bypass the Mainstream Media - pledge support a paid advertisement in the St. Petersburg Tribune to inform its 450,000 paid subscribers about what is really happening to Terri.
Your participation in help is desperately needed.
Thank-you for standing-up for Life.
P.S. I’ve set-up a special aggregator that displays only posts about Terri Schiavo. You can see what our 200+ members are saying here.
More Information at TerrisFight.org
I recently posted about a true American Hero: Sgt. Rafael Peralta. As a result, I have had the very good fortune of corresponding with Brenda Saldivar who, along with her husband Eduardo, were good friends of Rafael Peralta. I asked Brenda if she had any pictures of Rafael other than the formal one of him in his Marine dress blues-the only one I could find on the internet.
It's easy to read about the events surrounding Rafael Peralta's life--and his death--and to look at his stoic image with his Marine cover pulled down to just above his eyes and conclude that there was something special or different about this man and that his final act of heroism was simply an expected act in keeping with his nature. However, I believe this diminishes the significance of his actions. I also believe placing Rafael Peralta on a pedestal apart and above ourselves is a defense mechanism. This way we can say to ourselves, "of course, he did that, he was different than you and me." This way we can avoid the self-realization that, no matter how much we'd like to think that we would act as Sgt. Peralta did, there is very little likelihood that we would have actually done what he did.
Here is Rafael Peralta in camouflage with his friends Brenda and Eduardo Saldivar and in red, signing to everyone "hang loose." Cpl. Saldivar and his wife were very close to Peralta having been stationed in Hawaii together. Rafael had already made plans to celebrate the first birthday party of the Saldivar's yet unborn child when he returned from Iraq.
Sgt. Rafael Peralta epitomized what it means to be a Marine and what it means to be an American. He joined the Marine Corps the day after he received his green card and became a U.S. Citizen while in uniform. In his parent's home, on his bedroom walls hung only three items: the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and his boot camp graduation certificate. Before he set out for Fallujah, he wrote to his 14-year old brother, "be proud of me, bro...and be proud of being an American."
On November 15, 2004, Sgt. Rafael Peralta volunteered to go on the very dangerous mission of clearing the city of Fallujah of terrorists house by house, room by room. At the fourth house of the morning, the second room, Peralta lead his "stack" of six marines throwing open the door of the room to be cleared only to be met by three hiding terrorists waiting with their AK-47s. Peralta was immediately struck with multiple rounds impacting his chest and face and though mortally wounded managed to jump away so as to clear the line of fire for the other Marines. While automatic gun fire was exchanged one of the terrorists rolled a grenade into the room next to where Peralta lay dying. While I and any other person just shot in the face would be wholly self-absorbed in our own pain, Peralta had the presence of mind and strength of will to commit one last selfless act. He reached out grabbed the grenade and tucked it under himself--saving the lives of four Marines nearby.
I wanted to post these photos of Rafael to put another face on him--one of just a regular guy, an ordinary person. I believed that doing this would highlight even further the extraordinary nature of his actions on the battlefield. However, despite the images of Sgt. Rafael Peralta hanging out with his friends, drink in hand, lei around his neck, signing hang-loose, I still can't describe him as an ordinary guy or, otherwise, place him in any category with myself. But, I also now realize that his life and actions can never be diminished.
Sgt. Rafael Peralta was, at the same time, both a regular guy and a true hero. It is a contradiction that every friend of freedom and democracy should be glad existed in this amazing man. God Bless you Rafael Peralta.
[Update 8/2/06] This History Channel is going to be doing a one hour documentary honoring the valor of Sgt. Rafael Peralta. More info here.
[Update 10/19/06] Cpl. Eddie Rodriguez a good/best friend of Sgt. Peralta sent me the below photo taken at one of their favorite restaurants, Mexico Lindo, in Hawaii.
From left to right: Cpl. Saldivar Lopez, Sgt. Rafael Peralta, and Cpl. Eddie Rodriguez.
I just finished a fantastic roast with juice soaked vegetables prepared by my better half. The meat was so tender I didn't bother using my knife. Dessert was a wonderful spice cake. However, the fine dinner was almost ruined because I left the TV on in the background, something I usually don't do when sitting down to eat a meal at the table because civilized folk should focus on each other and the food that someone, no doubt, worked hard to prepare. Unfortunately, I left on the aptly named boob-tube/idiot-box. Worse yet, a MainStream Media station was on which I am loath to watch because it is always so freakishly bias...tonight did not disappoint.
Tonight's MSM spokeshead was played by Brian Williams filling the airwaves with NBC's Nightly Bias™. First story up: Iraq. They found some poor Iraqi woman to interview who said that she was better off under Saddam than she is now. No doubt they searched far and wide as internal opinion polls of Iraqis consistently show that a greater number of Iraqis believe just the opposite of this woman. Further, objective statistics involving the numbers of starving children, people with clean drinking water, etc. show the Iraqis are better off now than before Saddam.
Next story up was about the Department of Homeland Security Secretary nominee Michael Chertoff. Williams made a statement to the effect that Chertoff had given advice on torture in violation of U.S. anti-torture laws. I nearly fell out of my seat. Chertoff did no such thing. This was a blatant lie by NBC/Williams. All that Chertoff did was respond to a CIA inquiry asking for an interpretation of the anti-torture laws. The notion that Chertoff violated any law is ludicrous!
Finally, the last story I heard ticked me off even more. Williams reported that the final selection had been made for the next generation of presidential helicopters. Two companies had been vying for the contract: Sikorsky and its model S-92 and Lockheed Martin with its model US101.
I was excited to hear about the selection because I had previously read about the two different helicopters and was curious to hear some discussion about the different characteristics of the two aircrafts. Instead, NBC/Williams focused on how the Sikorsky helicopter would have been made entirely in the US while the Lockheed Martin will be made only partially in America. This is true enough, but I couldn't help wonder how many Clinton era procurements had the same focus. I brushed it off and waited for a factual comparison of the two helicopters and related reasons why one was chosen over the other.
Instead, Williams made a comment about how someone involved with Lockheed Martin has ties to President Bush and showed some supposedly damning video footage of that person sitting with President Bush in the White House...oh, the horror! Williams then continued by mentioning that Lockheed Martin also has ties to that insignificant little state of Texas. Clearly this sealed the fact that the selection was corrupt by pointing out that a huge multi-national conglomerate corporation has ties to the second largest state in America.
I don't think NBC/William even ever mentioned the model numbers of the two helicopters. I know the helicopters themselves were never discussed--like the fact that the Sikorsky S-92 has two engines and is smaller while the Lockheed Martin US101 has three engines and is bigger making it capable of carrying a larger volume and heavier payload. The Department of Defense, specifically the Navy, stated that the proposals were evaluated as was initially specified solely on "technical, past performance, experience and cost factors." Too bad NBC/Williams refused to report on any of these factors but then, they might not have had time to turn a ubiquitous story into another excuse to bash Bush.
I, for one, will be redoubling my efforts to not catch a glimpse any MSM.
Tomorrow, Saturday, I'll be attending a meeting of the Oklahoma chapter of the Vast-Right Wing Conspiracy! Actually, it's just an informal bunch of Sooner State bloggers getting together to meet and share our mutual interests. The guest list is described as:
There's no ideological or theological litmus test, but in the interests of congenial conversation, rather than vitriolic debate, we're inviting only bloggers who, if not particularly conservative or religious themselves, can at least handle being around committed conservatives and Christians without an outbreak of hives or an attack of Tourette's Syndrome.
It's being held at an undisclosed wi-fi friendly location. I'll have my laptop and camera with me and hope to do a little live blogging!
I've been meaning to post this for almost two months now. Better late than never, it is the story of a true hero:
On the morning of November 15, 2004, the men of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines awoke before sunrise and continued what they had been doing for seven days previously - cleansing the city of Fallujah of terrorists house by house.
At the fourth house they encountered that morning the Marines kicked in the door and "cleared" the front rooms, but then noticed a locked door off to the side that required inspection. Sgt. Rafael Peralta threw open the closed door, but behind it were three terrorists with AK-47s. Peralta was hit in the head and chest with multiple shots at close range.
Peralta's fellow Marines had to step over his body to continue the shootout with the terrorists. As the firefight raged on, a "yellow, foreign-made, oval-shaped grenade," as Lance Corporal Travis Kaemmerer described it, rolled into the room where they were all standing and came to a stop near Peralta's body.
But Sgt. Rafael Peralta wasn't dead - yet. This young immigrant of 25 years, who enlisted in the Marines when he received his green card, who volunteered for the front line duty in Fallujah, had one last act of heroism in him.
Peralta was proud to serve his adopted country. In his parent's home, on his bedroom walls hung only three items - a copy of the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and his boot camp graduation certificate. Before he set out for Fallujah, he wrote to his 14-year old brother, "be proud of me, bro...and be proud of being an American."
Not only can Rafael's family be proud of him, but his fellow Marines are alive because of him. As Sgt. Rafael Peralta lay near death on the floor of a Fallujah terrorist hideout, he spotted the yellow grenade that had rolled next to his near-lifeless body. Once detonated, it would take out the rest of Peralta's squad. To save his fellow Marines, Peralta reached out, grabbed the grenade, and tucked it under his abdomen where it exploded.
"Most of the Marines in the house were in the immediate area of the grenade," Cpl. Kaemmerer said. "We will never forget the second chance at life that Sgt. Peralta gave us."
Rosemary Kennedy, sister of President John F. Kennedy, died yesterday at the age of 86. While the "official" story is that she was born retarded, she very likely was only "shy and mentally limited - symptoms of what many suspect was dyslexia." She is shown here (looking awfully normal) in a 1938 photo with her mother Rose Kennedy four years prior to the "procedure" discussed below.
In her own diaries before the [procedure], she chronicled a life of tea dances, dress fittings, trips to Europe and a visit to the Roosevelt White House.
But as she got older, her father [Joseph Kennedy] worried his daughter's mild condition would lead her into situations that could damage the family's reputation.
So what is a good loving father and patriarch of a perfectly normal family to do? Why a frontal lobotomy of course! You know...just like the barbaric animals performed in Planet of the Apes or as was done to quiet the patients in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Doctors told Joseph Kennedy that a lobotomy, a medical procedure in which the frontal lobes of a patient's brain are scraped away, would help his daughter and calm her mood swings that the family found difficult to handle at home.
In Rosemary's case it was a disaster and left her permanently disabled, paralyzed on one side, incontinent and unable to speak coherently. She was never allowed to return home, but instead was spirited away to St. Coletta's School in Wisconsin.
As late as 1958 the family was maintaining the fiction that Rosemary had become a quasi nun in Wisconsin, content to renounce the glamorous world of her siblings to teach less fortunate children.
On the right, the original Kennedy children, from left to right: Eunice, John, Joe Jr., Rosemary and Kathleen. It never fails, whenever I learn something new about the Kennedy family, I'm always disgusted. Perhaps though, this helps explain an origin of the Kennedy males' incredible disrespect for women and ambivalence for women's lives. The irony: Joe Kennedy worried that Rosemary's mild condition would somehow "damage the family's reputation." Instead, his disgusting actions serve to solidify the family's reputation in my mind.
Joe Has His Daughter Lobotomized
Kennedy Who Inspired Special Olympics Dies
ABC News retains (as of the time of this posting) the original not so politically correct headline on the same AP article which Yahoo also used but subsequently changed: Retarded Kennedy Sister Dies at 86
The United Nations is responsible for the largest ever corruption scandal in the entire history of the world totaling now over $21 billion dollars which arose out of the Iraqi oil-for-food program under Saddam Hussein. (It's the largest scam ever if you don't include such infamous frauds as communism or the welfare state.) Every level of the U.N. is corrupt, from the lowest park-anywhere-anytime diplomat who refuses to pay thousands of dollars in New York City parking tickets because of diplomatic immunity to the head ignoramus Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Despite being the poster-child for corruption...hold on to your irony hat...today, December 9, is United Nations Anti-Corruption Day. Seriously, the best humor, you just can't make up. It's like the KKK instituting Interracial Marriage Day or the ACLU celebrating Christian Government Day or Charles Manson honoring Mental Health Day.
The United Nations has crossed over from merely worthless to harmful. It is a pustuous sore on America and the City of New York and should be done away with as a concern of the United States. I say, get out and kick'em out.
On Monday, four of President Bush's cabinet secretaries resigned, bringing to six the total number of cabinet members to resign since his re-election and to just eight the total number who have resigned from Bush's original 2001 cabinet. Some of the media have covered the resignations correctly as being no big deal, par for the course and representative of far less turnover than prior two-term administrations.
Sadly, some of the media and blogosphere have characterized the resignations as a major shakeup, as evidence of dissension in the ranks or indicative of some other nefarious goings on within the administration.
Here are the facts. After new appointees have taken their positions, the Bush cabinet will have had 23 people in 15 cabinet positions. Compare this to 29 people in 14 positions during the Clinton administration and 33 people in 13 positions during the Reagan administration. Clearly, put in a historical perspective, the Bush cabinet resignations are not at all unusual and possibly even evidence of greater loyalty and less discord among his top advisers. Continue reading for a full list of Regan, Clinton and Bush cabinet members.
[UPDATE August 27, 2007] On the very good suggestion of a commenter, I am updating this post and will update it again around the time President Bush leaves office. At this time, with the resignation of Attorney General Gonzales, the Bush cabinet will have had 31 people in 15 cabinet positions. If you consider the same 14 cabinet positions that existed under Clinton (no Secretary of Homeland Security) Bush would have had 29 different cabinet members, the same as Clinton.
Accordingly, the only accurate thing that could be said at this point is that Gonzales' resignation brings President Bush closer to historical trends in turnover of cabinet members. However, the liberal mainstream media (is that redundant?) is still trying to pitch the rats-escaping-a-sinking-ship metaphor. I haven't heard one MSM talking head or color commentator tell the honest truth that there is no story in the Bush resignations, instead they simply resort to the left-wing biased play book and provide different analysis to similar or exact facts. My favorite was when the exact same unemployment rate was described under Clinton as "strong" but under Bush it was "weak"...oops! Likewise, here, the news is full of negative headlines, stories, criticisms, analogies, commentary, etc., but the simple fact is, there still is no story.
[FINAL UPDATE Post Presidency] As of the conclusion of his Presidency, Bush had 34 total cabinet members in 15 positions. If you consider the same 14 cabinet positions that existed under Clinton (no Secretary of Homeland Security) Bush would have had 32 different cabinet members, just 3 more than Clinton. If you consider the same 13 cabinet positions that existed under Reagan (no Secretary of Homeland Security or Veterans' Affairs ) Bush would have had 29 different cabinet members, just 4 less than Reagan.
Final conclusion: the only story here is one of never ending media bias.
BUSH CABINET - FINAL Updated Through End of Presidency:
Secretary of State
Colin L. Powell (2001-2005)
Dr. Condoleezza Rice (2005-2009)
Secretary of the Treasury
Paul H. O'Neill (2001-2002)
John Snow (2003-2006)
Henry M. Paulson, Jr. (2006-2009)
Secretary of Defense
Donald H. Rumsfeld (2001-2006)
Robert M. Gates (2006-2009)
John Ashcroft (2001-2005)
Alberto Gonzales (2005-2007)
Gonzales Replacement (2007-2009)
Secretary of the Interior
Gale A. Norton (2001-2006)
Kirk Kempthorne (2006-2009)
Secretary of Agriculture
Ann M. Veneman (2001-2005)
Mike Johanns (2005-2008)
Ed Schafer (2008-2009)
Secretary of Commerce
Donald L. Evans (2001-2005)
Carlos Gutierrez (2005-2009)
Secretary of Labor
Elaine L. Chao (2001-2009)
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Tommy G. Thompson (2001-2005)
Michael O. Leavitt (2005-2009)
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Melquiades R. Martinez (2001-2003)
Alphonso Jackson (2003-2008)
Steve Preston (2008-2009)
Secretary of Transportation
Norman Y. Mineta (2001-2006)
Mary E. Peters (2006-2009)
Secretary of Energy
Spencer Abraham (2001-2005)
Samuel W. Bodman (2005-2009)
Secretary of Education
Roderick R. Paige (2001-2005)
Margaret Spellings (2005-2009)
Secretary of Veterans' Affairs
Anthony Principi (2001-2005)
Jim Nicholson (2005-2007)
James Peake (2007-2009)
Secretary of Homeland Security
Tom Ridge (2003-2005)
Michael Chertoff (2005-2009)
TOTAL Updated = 34 people (15 positions)
Secretary of State
Warren M. Christopher (1993-97)
Madeleine Albright (1997-01)
Secretary of the Treasury
Lloyd Bentsen (1993-94)
Robert E. Rubin (1995-99)
Lawrence H. Summers (1999-01)
Secretary of Defense
Les Aspin (1993-94)
William J. Perry (1994-97)
William S. Cohen (1997-01)
Janet Reno (1993-01)
Secretary of the Interior
Bruce Babbitt (1993-01)
Secretary of Agriculture
Mike Espy (1993-95)
Dan Glickman (1995-01)
Secretary of Commerce
Ronald H. Brown (1993-96)
Mickey Kantor (1996-97)
William M. Daley (1997-00)
Norman Y. Mineta (2000-01)
Secretary of Labor
Robert B. Reich (1993-97)
Alexis Herman (1997-01)
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Donna E. Shalala (1993-01)
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Henry G. Cisneros (1993-97)
Andrew M. Cuomo (1997-01)
Secretary of Transportation
Federico F. Peña (1993-97)
Rodney Slater (1997-01)
Secretary of Energy
Hazel R. O'Leary (1993-97)
Frederico F. Peña (1997-98)
Bill Richardson (1998-01)
Secretary of Education
Richard W. Riley (1993-01)
Secretary of Veterans' Affairs
Jesse Brown (1993-98)
Togo D. West Jr. (1998-00)
TOTOAL = 29 people (14 positions)
Secretary of State
Alexander M. Haig Jr. (1981-82)
George P. Shultz (1982-89)
Secretary of the Treasury
Donald T. Regan (1981-85)
James A. Baker III (1985-88)
Nicholas F. Brady (1988-89)
Secretary of Defense
Caspar W. Weinberger (1981-87)
Frank C. Carlucci (1987-89)
William French Smith (1981-85)
Edwin Meese III (1985-88)
Richard L. Thornburgh (1988-89)
Secretary of the Interior
James G. Watt (1981-83)
William P. Clark (1983-88)
Donald P. Hodel (1985-89)
Secretary of Agriculture
John R. Block (1981-86)
Richard E. Lyng (1986-89)
Secretary of Commerce
Malcolm Baldrige (1981-87)
C. William Verity Jr. (1987-89)
Secretary of Labor
Raymond J. Donovan (1981-85)
William E. Brock (1985-87)
Ann Dore McLaughlin (1987-89)
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Richard S. Schweiker (1981-83)
Margaret M. Heckler (1983-85)
Otis R. Bowen (1985-89)
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Samuel R. Pierce Jr. (1981-89)
Secretary of Transportation
Andrew L. Lewis Jr. (1981-83)
Elizabeth H. Dole (1983-87)
James H. Burnley 4th (1987-89)
Secretary of Energy
James B. Edwards (1981-82)
Donald P. Hodel (1982-85)
John S. Herrington (1985-89)
Secretary of Education
Terrel H. Bell (1981-85)
William J. Bennett (1985-88)
Lauro F. Cavazos (1988-89)
TOTAL = 33 people (13 positions)
It is the soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier, who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.
- Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC
On this Veterans Day, my words are far too insufficient to express the level of gratitude I have for each of America's 25 million living veterans. I can only say, inadequately: Thank You.
First let me say that for all of President Jimmy Carter's failings, I always believed he was at least a very moral man who made a sincere effort to be a good president. However, regardless of what we once thought of President Jimmy Carter, he has now objectively lost his ability to think rationally.
In a recent interview with Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball, President Carter said that the Revolutionary War was "the most bloody war we've fought" and that it was also "an unnecessary war." The discussion was a bizarre attempt to draw a parallel between the current war in Iraq and the Revolutionary War about which President Carter wrote a book that came out a year ago, The Hornet's Next: A Novel of the Revolutionary War. Matthews and Carter made a fumbling attempt to compare the two wars and how bloody and unnecessary they both were. Unfortunately, all President Carter wound up doing was proving that he knows next to nothing about history--even history he's written about--and/or, worse in my opinion, that he is willing to attempt to revise history to further his current political goals.
First, the Revolutionary War is notable for the fact that it is one of our nation's least bloody wars, the exact opposite of what President Carter alleged. The numbers most cited include 4,435 killed and an additional 6,188 wounded. Compare this to World War II where 292,131 U.S. soldiers lost their lives and an additional 670,846 were wounded. In gross numbers, or even as a percentage of population, the Revolutionary War casualties don't even come close to the casualties suffered in other wars fought by Americans. The only reasonable conclusion is that President Carter is an outright liar or he's gone insane. I think it's giving him the benefit of the doubt to say that his mind is rotting, rather than his morals.
Second, while obviously much more subjective, I believe the assertion that the Revolutionary War was "unnecessary" is equally absurd. Carter compares the United States to Australia, Canada and India and states that if there had not been an unnecessary Revolutionary War we would still now be free, "having gotten our independence in a nonviolent way." It is very questionable whether any or all of those nations would have still gained their independence or gained their independence as soon if the American colonies had never broken off from Great Britain. Further, given India's independence in 1947, it would appear that Carter is willing to trade 171 years of freedom and independence for there not to have been a Revolutionary War. Even with modern day hindsight that independence would eventually come a century or two later, I'll join with our Founding Fathers and stand by the belief that the Revolutionary War was very much necessary.
Finally, the suggestion that the partitioning of India and Pakistan from the former "British India" was nonviolent ignores conservative estimates of the dead numbering a quarter million as Muslims fled India and Hindus and Sikhs fled Pakistan. Anyone who could characterize the establishment of these two independent nations as "nonviolent" has got to be ignorant, lying or insane. I've explained my choice, now you choose.
Here is a portion of the Hardball interview:
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you the question about-this is going to cause some trouble with people-but as an historian now and studying the Revolutionary War as it was fought out in the South in those last years of the War, insurgency against a powerful British force, do you see any parallels between the fighting that we did on our side and the fighting that is going on in Iraq today?
CARTER: Well, one parallel is that the Revolutionary War, more than any other war up until recently, has been the most bloody war we've fought. I think another parallel is that in some ways the Revolutionary War could have been avoided. It was an unnecessary war.
Had the British Parliament been a little more sensitive to the colonial's really legitimate complaints and requests the war could have been avoided completely, and of course now we would have been a free country now as is Canada and India and Australia, having gotten our independence in a nonviolent way.
I think in many ways the British were very misled in going to war against America and in trying to enforce their will on people who were quite different from them at the time.
Don't get me wrong, winning the Nobel Prize for Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, or Economics is an incredible honor. But the Nobel Prize for Peace...is a complete joke.
2004: This year's recently announced recipient, Wangari Maathai of Kenya, was awarded the price, "for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace." The Norwegian Nobel Committee should have stopped there but, instead, they continued on, "Maathai combines science, social commitment and active politics." Science? OK, here are some of Ms. Maathai's statements which show her understanding of science:
"Some say that AIDS came from the monkeys, and I doubt that because we have been living with monkeys (since) time immemorial, others say it was a curse from God, but I say it cannot be that."
"In fact it (the HIV virus) is created by a scientist for biological warfare."
"It is a tool to control (black people) designed by some evil-minded scientists."
Ms. Maarhai deserves the Nobel Ignorant-Paranoid-Delusional Award!
2003: Last year the Nobel Peace Prize winner was Shirin Ebadi of Iran who is nothing more than a tool for the Ayatollah government advocating non-existent reforms meant to pacify the Iranians against complete rebellion. Worried that the U.S. will turn its attention to Iran next, this woman is Socialist Europe's poster girl because she opposes any sort of regime change in Iran.
When asked about the issue of Islam and modernization, Ms. Ebadi responded that Islam "needs to be better understood and to be interpreted more intelligently." Well, at least here we agree. I am way too stupid to understand radical Islamofacists' need to blow up people and cut heads off. But, accordingly to Ms. Ebadi, if I could just interpret Islam more intelligently, I would understand why the middle-east practitioners of Islam won't come out of the ninth century and learn to live peaceably in the world community. Consistently, in her acceptance speech Ms. Ebadi took the opportunity to launch into an anti-West, anti-American, anti-Israeli screed.
2002: Two years ago, President Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Gunnar Berge, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee since 2000, expressly admitted that the award was meant as a slap in the face of President George W. Bush for initiating war in Iraq. When asked if the selection of the former president was a criticism of President Bush, Mr. Berge, replied: "With the position Carter has taken on this, it can and must also be seen as criticism of the line the current U.S. administration has taken on Iraq."
The list goes on but, of course, no criticism of the ridiculousness of the Nobel Peace Prize would be compete without mention of the 1994 award given to Yasser Arafat, leader of the PLO which sends suicide bombers into civilian areas for the express purpose of murdering and maiming as many innocent women and children as possible.
Just to sum things up...Nobel Prize = Good...Nobel Peace Prize = Joke.
For those who don't surf political websites and are wondering what the big stink is over the memos used by Dan Rather on the CBS network show 60 Minutes, below is an overlay of a portion of a memo relied upon by 60 Minutes which Dan Rather claims was created in 1973 and the same memo recently retyped in Microsoft Word using all standard default settings and automatic page-breaks:
You don't have to be an expert in fonts, kerning, proportional spacing, typesetting, and military protocols to see the two documents are exactly identical in every way. Well, except that one was copied a few dozen times to "age" it before it was faxed to CBS News. All credible experts are in agreement that the memos Dan Rather relied upon for his story were not created in the early seventies--in other words, they're forgeries, really really bad forgeries. So bad, the person making them didn't even bother using a manual typewriter to create documents supposedly written a decade before the advent of personal computers.
The completely discredited Dan Rather, still maintains the memos may be authentic but, most damningly, he nor anyone else can recreate the same type of perfect overlay as above using early seventies equipment.
For what it's worth, the 60 Minutes story involved years old allegations about George Bush's Texas Air National Guard (TANG) service made by political partisans who have never had any support to their allegations. Dan Rather has been asking for documentation for years and, when exactly what he'd been asking for arrived, he was so excited about being able to do his hatchet job on President Bush that he put aside what was left of his credibility and journalistic integrity and went forward with a story based on documents which had not been authenticated and in which his own experts expressed doubts.
While many internet sites played a role in breaking the story, two of the most prominent websites responsible for uncovering the true nature of the memos were Little Green Footballs and Power Line. Check them out for more information.
According to Bates Line, Vice-President Dick Cheney is coming to Tulsa on September 24 for campaign and fundraising events.
Probably because it's not official yet, no further information is available at this time.
[*UPDATE*] Vice-President Dick Cheney will speak in Tulsa on September 24 at a $500-per-person fund-raising event for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Coburn who is running to succeed retiring Sen. Don Nickles (R). An invitation to the event says a $2,000 donation will allow supporters to attend a reception where they can pose for a photograph with Cheney. In other words...you won't be seeing any pics of me and Cheney.
After President Bush gave his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, part-time Senator John Kerry gave a speech in response (the transcript of which cannot be found on the Kerry/Edwards campaign website). Kerry said, "The vice president even called me unfit for office last night." But this is a lie as can be easily found out by searching a transcript of Vice-President Cheney's speech. Cheney never called Kerry "unfit."
John Kerry Just Makes Stuff Up--check.
Immediately after lying about the Vice-President calling him "unfit," which apparently is some horrible thing to do, John Kerry called President Bush "unfit" five times.
"Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation."
"Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation"
"Letting 45 million Americans go without health care makes you unfit to lead this nation"
"Letting the Saudi royal family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation"
"Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit."
John Kerry Is A Hypocrite--check.
With reports today that Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri may have been captured in Iraq, I was reminded of the Iraqi most wanted playing cards, officially called the "personality identification playing card," of which al-Douri is the King of Clubs. I thought it might be interesting to see how successful the U.S. led coalition forces have been in capturing or killing the fifty-two individuals pictured on the cards.
Because I hadn't heard the playing cards mentioned recently in the mainstream media, my first instinct was that we've probably rounded up most of the people represented on the cards since the media would surely keep reminding everyone of the playing cards if most of the people had not been captured while remaining silent if most had been captured. Well, as they say, always trust your first instinct. Read on for a visual of who's been captured/killed and who's possibly still out there.
Senator John Kerry has made his 4-month combat tour in Vietnam the centerpiece of his bid for the Presidency. His campaign jets a handful of veterans around the country, and trots them out at public appearances to sing his praises. John Kerry wants us to believe that these men represent all those he calls his "band of brothers."
But most combat veterans who served with John Kerry in Vietnam see him in a very different light.
[Mouse over the photo to see Swift officers who support John Kerry.]
This photograph of John Kerry and 19 other Coastal Division 11 Swift boat officers was taken at Ton Son Nhut Air Base on January 22, 1969, immediately following a meeting with General Abrams and Admiral Zumwalt.
The Kerry campaign featured the photograph in an advertisement released in May titled Lifetime. Swift Boat Veterans for Truth contacted surviving members of this group to find out how many actually support John Kerry, and discovered that of 19 Swift boat skippers pictured other than Kerry, 12 consider him unfit, 2 are neutral, 2 have died, and 3 now support Kerry. Four other officers were not present for the photo session; all oppose Kerry.
Only 3 of John Kerry's 23 fellow Swift boat commanders from Coastal Division 11 supports his candidacy today.
Just a quick note regarding the ongoing political correctness of the mainstream media. With the downing of the two Russian airliners, the news will be awash with reference to "Chechen Rebels" or "Chechen Separatists" who appear to be responsible. What you won't hear much of is that "Chechen Rebels" are Islamofascist Muslim terrorists.
The mainstream media won't hesitate to sacrifice truth in the name of downplaying the very real war this nation and all non-Muslim people of the world are facing. Why? Because the majority of the American people believe one presidential candidate is far more capable in leading the fight against such radical extremism and that is not the media's candidate of choice. Therefore the most important issue of our time must be downplayed by giving Muslim extremists a sanitized name in order to obfuscate the real story.
There is a limited ban on federal funding of new embryonic stem cell research. The ban on federal dollars does not affect some sixty existing embryonic stem cell lines or any adult stem cell research. Nor does the ban affect any category of privately funded research done through drug companies, non-profit foundations, or any other entity.
Accordingly, no research...or, rather, no legitimate research, will be affected as the pool of research dollars is unchanged. The federal restriction on funding merely reallocates federal dollars to adult stem cell research and research involving the prior existing lines, while private dollars are redirected to the narrow category of new embryonic stem cell lines which, by the way, must come from newly destroyed embryos.
Think about it...if there really is something to this embryonic stem cell research, the multi-billion dollar drug and pharmaceutical companies will invest in it. How much would a cure for cancer, diabetes, or freaking baldness be worth? If the research is legit...the private dollars will be there. Additionally, non-profit organizations are available to fund non-financially rewarding research.
Between the drug companies, private foundations and the federal government...no one is stopping any research. There is merely a re-division of where the dollars are coming from and going to...the research pie remains unchanged.
Imagine a group of taxpayers saying they don't want their taxes to go to the war in Iraq. OK, Uncle Sam prints them off a spreadsheet showing them that all their tax dollars are going to entitlement programs while other taxpayers foot the bill for the war. Everyone's happy...but nothing changes...same thing as with stem cell research.
Additionally, I must address Ron Reagan's (son of President Reagan) comments during the recent Democratic Convention. It is most unfortunate that Ron saw fit it take advantage of his father's illness and death to make misleading statements about an issues his father, an ardent pro-lifer, most likely would have disagreed with. Here is just one statement of Ron with the previously sanitized truth added in brackets (with a little assistance from National Review Online):
"Now, imagine going to a doctor who instead of prescribing drugs, takes a few skin cells from your arm. The nucleus of one of your cells is placed into a donor egg whose own nucleus has been removed. A bit of chemical or electrical stimulation will encourage your cell's nucleus to begin dividing [actually, create a new cloned human embryo], creating new cells [embryonic development] which will then be [destroyed and their cells] placed into a tissue culture. Those cells will generate embryonic stem cells containing only your DNA [and mitochondrial DNA from the egg], thereby [theoretically] eliminating the risk of tissue rejection."
It's sad that Ron can't be an advocate of his position and still tell the full truth. Much like partial-birth abortion advocates hide from graphic descriptions of that barbaric procedure, Ron failed to mention the fact that new embryonic stem cell research involves human cloning (also known as somatic cell nuclear transfer), killing new living embryos and that researchers are currently having much more success utilizing adult stem cells than embryonic stem cells.
Let me repeat because this is important: New embryonic stem cell research requires both human cloning and the killing of living embryos. This is still going on unaffected by any federal ban in the private sector. There simply is a ban on the funding of such activities by the federal government.
Finally, to illustrate the greater success of adult stem cell research versus embryonic stem cell research, here is a scoreboard showing the number of current treatments which have resulted from each:
Remarks of President Bush on Stem Cell Research, August 9, 2001.
It's real simple. Everything else is trivial when compared to the threshold question of how the two presidential candidates will protect America. In his acceptance speech, Democrat Party nominee John Kerry stated his position: "Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response." The problem is that the precondition before action is an "attack." In other words, only after it's too late does Kerry promise action.
Senator Kerry provided further clarification of his position in his preceding sentence: "Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required." The problem is that "required" smacks of too little too late. If "required" is the standard then, let's try one more attempt at a group hug, will always win out.
What about using force before an "attack" and before we're left with the only option of it being "required"? Such as, pre-emptive strikes against developing threats or because we think it will prevent the loss of American lives even though Sen. Kerry's Euro-weenie friends are against it?
So there it is. Do you want a president who promises to be reactive? Or, one who has proven himself to be proactive...taking the fight to the terrorists, wherever they are? Come November, the choice is simple.
I can't decide. Is Kerry more of a Woody Allen playing a sperm in the 1972 movie Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex?
Or, is Kerry more of a 1988 Michael Dukakis riding a tank?
The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) arrived at its homeport in San Diego Bay for the first time Friday, July 23, 2004. The ninth Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is the most modern and sophisticated carrier in the world, 1,092 feet long, towering 20 stories above the waterline, home to 6,000 sailors, carrying more than 80 aircraft, with a 4.5 acre flight deck and a cruising speed in excess of 30 knots (34.5 mph). (Detailed cutaway diagram.)
The next and last Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will be the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77). After that, a new carrier class will start (CVNX-1). I wonder who it will be named after?
To me it's mind-boggling. In one self-contained vessel, you have a full self-contained small city, a cruise liner, a military base, an airport, and a nuclear power plant.
In the fall of 2002, I had the good fortune of visiting Newport News, Virginia, where I
took found some photos of the USS Ronald Reagan under construction. For those who haven't been to Newport News, it is nothing like Norfolk. It is not a tourist destination and you are most certainly not allowed to wander around and photograph naval ships under construction, especially just a year after 9/11. But it was the freaking USS Ronald Reagan, so what could I do? The photos are poor but the experience was awesome.
So, I'm on my way to work on the morning of July 20th and I was having a problem with the AM band on my radio and so I switched over to FM and...*shudder*...NPR (National Public Radio). I figured I could stand a few minutes of opposition research without becoming sick to my stomach or my temper boiling over...I was wrong.
The show was Morning Edition hosted by Steve Inskeep featuring Mario Cuomo, the former New York governor and very liberal democrat, discussing his new book, Why Lincoln Matters: Today More Than Ever, which examines the writing and speeches of Abraham Lincoln. Since, Cuomo claims to have written a book on President Lincoln's speeches, grossly inaccurate statements about Lincoln and one of Lincoln's most famous speeches cannot properly be called mere errors as much as a flat out disgusting lies made for the worst possible motive for someone writing a historical text, that of revising history to fit their own current day political agenda.
Cuomo stated, "[Lincoln] doesn't talk about God. He [only] talks about creator." I thought this was odd since, while I was never a history major, I have read many of Lincoln's speeches and I could have sworn Lincoln had specifically discussed God and not in the sense of just some generic creator. So I pop open the internet and instantly, Cuomo's assertion is objectively refuted by Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address (quoted in full at the end of this tirade) wherein, by my count, in just the last 10 sentences of his address, Lincoln made 6 references to "God," 6 references to God using "He/His/Him," one reference to the "Almighty," one reference to "Lord," and quoted Psalm 19:9 along with two references to the New Testament, Matthew 7:1 and 18:7. It sure sounds to me like Lincoln specifically talked about "God"!
Cuomo tried to down play Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address admitting Lincoln mentions God, "but he never makes an argument for God." This is absurd. In this post I've mentioned Cuomo about as often as Lincoln mentioned God in his Second Inaugural Address. How can anyone say with a straight face that I don't think Cuomo exists? Or, that Lincoln doesn't think God exists? The fact that I don't additionally make an argument in favor of Cuomo's existence does not in any manner support the notion that I don't think Cuomo exists. Please just read the Address at the end and decide for yourself if Lincoln fervently believed in God or not.
Cuomo concluded the interview with this final nugget of putridness: "Would a politician stoop so low as to use religion to get close to voters? Yeah. I hope I didn't do it too much, because when I drop dead and I find out there is a God and indeed, he has a big book with everything noted--yeah, of course, politicians do it. Did Lincoln do it for that reason? All I know is Lincoln was a master politician."
Isn't that all wonderfully smarmy. Cuomo avoids actually stating his obvious opinion that Lincoln stooped so low as to use religion to get close to voters, but that is exactly what Cuomo wants the listener, and no doubt the reader of his book, to believe since after all "Lincoln was a master politician" and "politicians do it." Disgusting revisionist lies. The particular nature of Lincoln's religion has long been the subject of much historical debate, however, until Cuomo's remarks, I did not think knowledgeable persons debated whether he was religious at all.
Most certainly everyone (in America) has the absolute right to believe or not believe in the God of their choosing, but no one should be allowed to get away with revising history and recharacterizing a man of faith as a cynical manipulator of a gullible public. Shame on you NPR. Shame on you Steve Inskeep. And, shame on you Mario Cuomo. Finally, Mr. Cuomo, without discussing the likelihood of such a scenario, if we both get past the pearly gates, I would very much like to be there when you meet up with President Abraham Lincoln. Do they allow ass-kickings in heaven?
[The following is a partial transcript of the July 20, 2004, Morning Edition program:]
INSKEEP: President Lincoln never professed to belong to an organized church...
INSKEEP: ...of any kind.
CUOMO: Yeah, well, that's absolutely accurate, and if he was anything, he was a rationalist.
INSKEEP: And yet, even though he did not belong to an organized religion, Lincoln often did invoke God in his speeches and used the language of the Bible in his speeches...
CUOMO: Oh, he used the lang...
INSKEEP: ...which is a way that he's like modern politicians, isn't he?
CUOMO: He used the language of the Bible over and over. In his second inaugural, how religious his references are, and that's absolutely true. But he never talks about Jesus as God, and he doesn't talk about God. He talks about creator. He was clearly not a person who accepted any specific religious faith.
INSKEEP: In the second inaugural, there's the line about "as God gives us to see the right." I mean, there are references to God.
CUOMO: Yeah. Well, yes, but he never makes an argument for God.
INSKEEP: I just wonder if it says something about the electorate that politicians were addressing then and now...
CUOMO: Oh, I...
INSKEEP: ...something practical.
Mr. CUOMO: Well, yeah. Let me ask a really grubby political question. I'm better at this than you are. I lived that life for a long time. Would a politician stoop so low as to use religion to get close to voters? Yeah. I hope I didn't do it too much, because when I drop dead and I find out there is a God and indeed, he has a big book with everything noted--yeah, of course, politicians do it. Did Lincoln do it for that reason? All I know is Lincoln was a master politician.
[On March 4, 1865, Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office for President of the United States for the second time. On that occasion, with the end of the Civil War in sight, he gave one of the most famous speeches in American presidential history, his Second Inaugural Address:]
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, urgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war--seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding.
Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
[Abraham Lincoln was assassinated just one month and 10 days after he delivered this speech.]
The National Review Online solved the identity of the 14 Syrian men aboard the chilling flight Annie Jacobsen described in Womens Wallstreet (Terror in the Skies). This is now my third post on the topic (Post I, Post II). It seems the Syrians were musicians who performed with an artist named Nour Mehana and were flying to Sycuan Casino & Resort, near San Diego for a gig on July 1, 2004. Whew! I for one am relieved, since we all know musician can't be terrorists. The smart-alecky NRO article mocks the fact that no one else could identify the "musicians," but somehow fails to explain why these 14 individuals behaved like idiots ignoring FAA mandated rules and making inappropriate throat-slitting jesters.
Now we learn through MSNBC's Scarborough Country, July 22, 2004, that all of the 14
terrorists' musicians' visas had expired! We're not talking about their credit cards here. These guys were officially in this country illegally! Why is this stuff not checked post-9/11? Our boarders are non-existent and our immigration policies and procedures are a joke--I'm beginning to think we deserve whatever consequences come our way from decimation of California schools, hospitals and social services to planes being hijacked. Here's some straight talking common sense from the show (individuals who put political correctness above the security of our country may not want to read further):
"If 14 Anglo-Saxon high school students from Kansas who were on a band trip to Los Angeles did the same thing, the flight attendants would go back and tell them to sit down and put their seat belts on. Do you think political correctness played into the fact that they let these 14 Syrians run around the plane and break all the rules?"
"Absolutely. Absolutely, Joe. It is a no-brainer. And it is symptomatic of what's going on with regard to airline security. The fact of the matter is, we are in a war against Arab religious extremists. And nobody wants to face that fact."
"[C]ommon sense dictates that if a group of 14 Arab males in that age group are flying together, before they get on that plane in Detroit headed for L.A., they are the ones who need to be subject to secondary screening."
Finally, the Washington Times reports: "Flight crews and air marshals say Middle Eastern men are staking out airports, probing security measures and conducting test runs aboard airplanes for a terrorist attack."
"'No doubt these are dry runs for a terrorist attack,' an air marshal said. Pilots and air marshals who asked to remain anonymous told The Washington Times that surveillance by terrorists is rampant, using different probing methods."
This is a follow up to my prior post about a terrifying first hand account of Syrian terrorists conducting a dry-run for more 9/11 style attacks (Terror in the Skies). These are must read articles for anyone who considers themselves even marginally informed about our current war against terrorism.
This follow up article (Part II: Terror in the Skies, Again?), provides evidence of how common these dry-runs are and what little is being done about them.
"Gary Boettcher, Member, Board of Directors, Allied Pilots Association, said, 'Folks, I am a Captain with a major airline.' [Your incident] is not a singular nor isolated experience. The terrorists are probing us all the time."
"Boettcher told me that based on his experience, it was his opinion that I was likely on a dry run. He said he's had many of these experiences and so have many of his fellow captains. They've been trying to speak out about this but so far their words have been falling on deaf ears."
And what are authorities doing about this threat? Rand K. Peck, captain for a major U.S. airline provides the following common experience of any repeat traveler: "I've observed matronly looking grandmothers practically disrobed at security check points and five-year-old blond boys turned inside out, while Middle Eastern males sail through undetained."
"We have little to fear from grandmothers and little boys. But Middle Eastern males are protected, not by our Constitution, but from our current popular policy of political correctness and a desire to offend no one at any cost, regardless of how many airplanes and bodies litter the landscape."
If the liberals had their way, they'd eliminate the middleman and have us slit our own throats. This article from Womens Wall Street (Terror in the Skies, Again?) by Annie Jacobsen is an incredibly disturbing must-read for anyone who flies often or who simply cares about our country and the war against terrorism we are fighting.
Jacobsen recounts a white-knuckle flight from Detroit to Los Angeles, that she and her husband shared with a group of about 15 Middle Eastern men (turned out to be Syrians) who were almost certainly (judging from her vivid description) conducting a dry run for a repeat of September 11, with teams of hijackers prepared for passenger resistance.
Conventional wisdom post-9/11 says that airline passengers will fight back and overcome any hijack attempt. But what if passengers are faced with a highly organized team of 15-20 hijackers, with unconventional and undetectable weapons, conditioned by a lifetime of indoctrination to commit mind-wrenchingly savage acts of violence? And what if our government is still too hobbled by political correctness to recognize threats in time to deal with them--before the hijackers board the plane?
But you already knew this because the national media reported the story so heavily. Unfortunately, the national media will not report anything negative about Arabs out of fear of stereotyping regardless of how important the story. Like reporting black hate crimes or homosexual rape or pedophilia, you will not hear it in the national news (unless it involves a priest since the media's desire to attack churches and religion trumps their protection of homosexuals).
So, lest we forget--we are not being terrorized by elderly blonde-haired, blue-eyed, Christian women from Iceland. We know the enemy, but we're too damn smug in our moral superiority and to willing to kowtow to special interest groups to use the information in a rational intelligent manner to our advantage.
The International Court of Justice, otherwise known as the World Court, in The Hague, Netherlands, yesterday condemned the Israeli anti-terrorist fence (which has already resulted in a significant measurable decrease in terrorist attacks) concluding that it should be torn down and Palestinians compensated for any and all harm caused by the construction of the fence.
I've searched the World Court's site and I can't seem to find any rulings condemning Palestinian suicide-murders who admittedly and intentionally target innocent civilian women and children--let alone anything calling for the compensation of Israeli victims. As a non-Jew, non-Arab, it's so hard for me to pick a side...fence builders or child murderers--it's a close call, but I'll go with the fence builders.
An astute reader might have noticed my use of the word "fence" instead of the liberal media's constant use of the word "wall." Why? After all, every single photo and video clip I've ever seen on abccbsnbcpbscnnmsnbc clearly shows an incredibly tall concrete wall. The World Court's own description explains:
"The approximately 180 kilometres of the complex completed or under construction--some 8.5 kilometres of concrete wall. These are generally found where Palestinian population centres are close to or abut Israel"."
The 180 kilometer long barrier has a mere 8.5 kilometers of concrete wall--less than 5%! Only somebody with an agenda or someone ignorant of the facts would call a glass over 95% full, an empty glass. Before I researched this, I ignorantly thought the entire barrier was composed of the tall concrete sections; a conclusion the mainstream liberal media no doubt wants to cultivate. Now, I realize whenever I see such pictures that the purveyors of such a distorted view have an obvious anti-Semitic, pro-Palestinian bias.
The World Court's account of the fence was a little less than accurate in one respect. The concrete wall portion of the barrier does not so much coincide with population centers as it does with areas in which Palestinians have historically chosen to murder innocent civilian women and children by sniper fire. It is the Palestinians, not the Israelis, that have caused the barrier to be built and that require a portion of it to be a towering cement wall.
Why did Israel build a fence? In just the past three years, over 900 Israelis have been murdered in terrorist attacks all of which originated from the West Bank. Given an Israeli population of 6.2 million and a United States population of 293 million, 900 Israeli deaths, on a percentage basis, would be equivalent to more than 42,000 deaths in the United States which is more than fourteen 9/11 attacks. The Palestinian leadership is not only unwilling and/or unable to stop the attacks, it actively encourages the attacks. Prior to fence construction there was no physical barrier to prevent terrorists from entering Israel. The Gaza Strip, however, has had no terrorist attacks in recent years because of the success of a security fence already in place there which has stopped scores of murders attempting to kill Jews and get a little virgin nookie in the afterlife (reading interviews with terrorists who have been caught prior to exploding themselves, it's hard tell which is the greater motivating factor).
The absolute absurdity of the World Court's analysis of Israel's right to erect the barrier is self-evident upon reading the opinion.
"139. Under the terms of Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations:
Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.
Article 51 of the Charter thus recognizes the existence of an inherent right of self defence in the case of armed attack by one State against another State. However, Israel does not claim that the attacks against it are imputable to a foreign State."
So, the World Court believes that because Israel won't recognize a State of Palestine, Israel isn't allowed to defend itself against the attacks. The Court's true motives come out. Obviously, the necessity of the barrier and the right of self-defense is not determined by whether or not Israel recognizes Palestine. The Court is simply more concerned about a Palestinian state than with the slaughter of innocent civilian women and children in Israel.
Also, criticism of the fence is made further absurd by the fact that, by its very nature, it is an inherently non-violent solution to the suicide-murderers. Even Hillary Clinton recognized this fact when she commented: "It makes no sense for the United Nations to vehemently oppose a fence which is a non-violent response to terrorism rather than opposing terrorism itself."
Finally, you may have grown tired of my repeated use of "innocent civilian women and children." This was by design. Now imagine how tired the Israelis have grown of reading the same phrase in morning papers about innocent civilian women and children being murdered by terrorists. Perhaps with the completion of the security fence, we all can hear the phrase less often.
Call me a proud friend of Israel!
The Civil Rights Act was signed into law on July 2, 1964. Technically, I'm a day late but for me, that's pretty darn close. I just wanted to take this opportunity to inform those that misguidedly get their information from the freakishly biased media (abc/cbs/nbc/cnn/pbs) that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had far greater support among Republicans than Democrats!
In the House of Representatives:
Democrats voted: 152 (61%) in favor and 96 (39%) against.
Republicans voted: 138 (80%) in favor and 34 (20%) against.
In the Senate:
Democrats voted: 46 (69%) in favor and 21 (31%) against.
Republicans voted: 27 (82%) in favor and 6 (18%) against.
Among those voting against the Civil Rights Act was Al Gore's father, Democrat Senator Al Gore, Sr. But, you already knew this because the media publicized this fact so much during the 2000 election, or was it that they completely swept it under the rug? The media made a bigger deal during the California gubernatorial election about Arnold Schwarzenegger's father, Gustav, who was a police officer and postal inspector in the tiny Austrian village of Thal and who joined the Nazi party three years after Germany annexed Austria in 1938. The media also made a bigger deal when The Passion of the Christ came out about Mel Gibson's father, Hutton, who is holocaust denier. Perhaps, it was just a coincidence that I happened to miss all the stories about Al Gore's racist father but didn't miss the stories about Gustav and Hutton.
Also, voting against the Civil Rights Act was the still current Democrat Senator Robert Byrd. As we all know, since the media constantly reminds us, Byrd was a pointy-white-hood-wearing-cross-burning member of the Ku Klux Klan. Oh, that's right--the media actually never mentions this. I imagine it would be the same case if Byrd was a Republican--yeah, right! We all remember the uproar over Byrd's comments on Fox News Sunday, March 4, 2001: "There are white ni**ers. I've seen a lot of white ni**ers in my time; I'm going to use that word." Hadn't heard about that one? Only because Byrd is a Democrat and reporting such a comment doesn't comport with the liberal media's bias agenda. Finally, the long time Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O'Neil's nickname for Sen. Byrd: "Sheets."
228 Years Ago Today...
On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted 12-0 -- New York abstained -- in favor of Richard Henry Lee's resolution "that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States."
On July 4, the Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson -- heavily edited by Congress -- was adopted without dissent. On July 8, the Declaration was publicly proclaimed in Philadelphia. On July 15, Congress learned that the New York Legislature had decided to endorse the Declaration. On Aug. 2, a parchment copy was presented to the Congress for signature. Most of the 56 men who put their name to the document did so that day.
We tend to forget that to sign the Declaration of Independence was to commit an act of treason -- and the punishment for treason was death. To publicly accuse George III of "repeated injuries and usurpations," to announce that Americans were therefore "Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown," was a move fraught with danger -- so much so that the names of the signers were kept secret for six months.
They were risking everything, and they knew it. That is the meaning of the Declaration's soaring last sentence:
"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
Most of the signers survived the war; several went on to illustrious careers.
Two of them became presidents of the United States, and among the others were future vice presidents, senators, and governors. But not all were so fortunate.
Nine of the 56 died during the Revolution, and never tasted American independence.
Five were captured by the British.
Eighteen had their homes -- great estates, some of them - looted or burnt by the enemy.
Some lost everything they owned.
Two were wounded in battle.
Two others were the fathers of sons killed or captured during the war.
"Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." It was not just a rhetorical flourish.
We all recognize John Hancock's signature, but who ever notices the names beneath his? William Ellery, Thomas Nelson, Richard Stockton, Button Gwinnett, Francis Lewis -- to most of us, these are names without meaning.
But each represents a real human being, some of whom paid dearly "for the support of this Declaration" and American independence.
Lewis Morris of New York, for example, must have known when he signed the Declaration that he was signing away his fortune. Within weeks, the British ravaged his estate, destroyed his vast woodlands, butchered his cattle, and sent his family fleeing for their lives.
Another New Yorker, William Floyd, was also forced to flee when the British plundered his property. He and his family lived as refugees for seven years without income. The strain told on his wife; she died two years before the war ended.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, an aristocratic planter who had invested heavily in shipping, saw most of his vessels captured by the British navy. His estates were largely ruined, and by the end of his life he was a pauper.
The home of William Ellery, a Rhode Island delegate, was burned to the ground during the occupation of Newport.
Thomas Heyward Jr., Edward Rutledge, and Arthur Middleton, three members of the South Carolina delegation, all suffered the destruction or vandalizing of their homes at the hands of enemy troops. All three were captured when Charleston fell in 1780, and spent a year in a British prison.
"Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
Thomas Nelson Jr. of Virginia raised $2 million for the patriots' cause on his own personal credit. The government never reimbursed him, and repaying the loans wiped out his entire estate. During the battle of Yorktown, his house, which had been seized by the British, was occupied by General Cornwallis. Nelson quietly urged the gunners to fire on his own home. They did so, destroying it. He was never again a man of wealth. He died bankrupt and was buried in an unmarked grave.
Richard Stockton, a judge on New Jersey's supreme court, was betrayed by loyalist neighbors. He was dragged from his bed and thrown in prison, where he was brutally beaten and starved. His lands were devastated, his horses stolen, his library burnt. He was freed in 1777, but his health had so deteriorated that he died within five years. His family lived on charity for the rest of their lives.
In the British assault on New York, Francis Lewis's home and property were pillaged. His wife was captured and imprisoned; so harshly was she treated that she died soon after her release. Lewis spent the remainder of his days in relative poverty.
And then there was John Hart. The speaker of the New Jersey Assembly, he was forced to flee in the winter of 1776, at the age of 65, from his dying wife's bedside. While he hid in forests and caves, his home was demolished, his fields and mill laid waste, and his 13 children put to flight. When it was finally safe for him to return, he found his wife dead, his children missing, and his property decimated. He never saw any of his family again and died, a shattered man, in 1779.
The men who signed that piece of parchment in 1776 were the elite of their colonies. They were men of means and social standing, but for the sake of liberty, they pledged it all -- their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
"Our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor"
Our Founding Fathers paid the price for the United States of America.
By Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe Columnist
A movie entitled White Chicks is in theatres right now. The plot revolves around two black FBI agents dressing up as white girls and going undercover. While not my particular cup of tea, it no doubt has its funny moments as the two main characters go through their fish-out-of-water experience.
Given the premise of the movie, I couldn't help but be reminded of Spike Lee's 2000 movie entitled Bamboozled where, according to IMDB, a frustrated African American TV writer proposes a blackface minstrel show in protest, but to his chagrin it becomes a hit. As shown in the screenshots below, the movie contains actual blackface performers.
A Google search for fraternity and blackface will reveal the annual ritual of stupid suburban white boys with myopic understandings of American culture putting on blackface resulting in (despite the obvious First Amendment right to make an ass out of yourself) their subsequent suspension, required apology, coerced contribution to the local negro college fund and/or mandatory attendance at cultural sensitivity training for them and their housemates.
In light of White Chicks and Bamboozled, can someone explain to me and all future pledges what the rule is with regard to blackface/whiteface--without utilizing some politically correct subjective or double-standard? I'm really good at following and advocating rules. I just want to know what the rule is and I can't figure it out. Is it like the "n" word? Blacks can do it with impunity, but whites can't. The problem with such a rule is that racism will always exist as long as double-standards continue to exist.
Many college campuses have promulgated speech codes in an attempt to provide guidance as to what is and is not acceptable. Invariably, such codes are blatant illegal censorship in direct conflict with the First Amendment. Fortunately, groups such as FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) have been successful in publicizing such illegal codes, defending alleged violators and in getting the illegal restrictions rescinded.
Can someone give me one instance, just one, where someone complaining about being offended was required to attend in-sensitivity training because they were just too darn sensitive instead of the standard reaction of requiring sensitivity training for the alleged offender? Surely, in all the instances of alleged insensitivity, there has been at least one where the offended person unreasonably reacted to something that was otherwise innocuous and the collective reaction of everyone involved was to recommend to the offendee a little insensitivity training.
Perhaps this is the answer. Provide incoming freshmen, not with sensitivity training, but rather a thorough course in the First Amendment along with a healthy dose of insensitivity training. Then when the frat boys put on their blackface, they can be properly mocked for the idiots they are and everyone--frat boys and offendees alike--can go about their studies without all of the usual hoopla, administrative hearings and other interruptions. I won't hold my breath.
For reasons that are obvious to those who know me, I am providing the following two links without comment:
Two world leaders of the 1980s were the United States President Ronald Reagan and the Iranian Shiite fundamentalist cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Reagan was elected in 1980, took office in January 1981 and remained president for eight years until 1989. In January 1979 the Shah of Iran was forced to flee the country and the Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile in France to become the spiritual and political leader of Iran. He ruled Iran until his death in June 1989.
Whatever your thoughts about Ronald Reagan, you cannot deny the incredible solemnity, grace, beauty, class and style in which President Reagan's funeral was conducted. Do you remember what the Ayatollah Khomeini's funeral was like or were you ever taught about it in school? Probably not. In fact, there is surprisingly little about it even on the internet and even fewer photographs. Below are two I found from a GIS (Google image search) using the terms: Ayatollah, Khomeini, and funeral.
Here is how the politically correct Time magazine described it:
"The funeral of the Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini ignited an emotional outpouring from his fanatical followers that Westerners found as bizarre, frightening -- and ultimately incomprehensible ***
While the Ayatullah's body lay in state inside a refrigerated glass box, the crowd of mourners in Tehran became so thick that eight were reportedly crushed to death. The next day, as a helicopter brought the open wooden coffin containing Khomeini's remains to the city's Behesht-e Zahra cemetery, nearly a million mourners thrust forward in the blistering heat and choking dust, many wailing and pounding their heads as they groped to touch the body and snatch a piece of the linen burial shroud.
Some managed to surge past a force of Revolutionary Guards, clambering into the casket to plant kisses on the Imam's face. The corpse spilled to the ground, bare feet protruding from beneath the white shroud. As the Guards beat back the crowds, firing shots in the air and spraying fire hoses, other soldiers shoved the body and coffin back into the chopper. It lifted off with the casket hanging precariously out the door.
Some five hours passed before there was another, successful attempt to deliver the body to its final resting place, this time encased in a metal coffin. Again arms flailed and chants of "Death to America!" filled the air as the helicopter touched down. Although barricades held most of the crowd at bay, the Guards were forced to make a frantic push past the outstretched hands to deliver the coffin to the grave site. At the last instant, the metal lid of the casket was ripped off, and the body was rolled into the grave, in keeping with an Islamic tradition that requires that the dead be interred in only a shroud. The grave was quickly covered with concrete slabs and a large freight container to prevent delirious mourners from exhuming the corpse. By the end of the ceremony, more than 440 people had been hospitalized and an additional 10,800 had been treated for injuries."
6/19/89 TIMEMAG 38 (emphasis added).
I won't pretend to be able to say anything unique or prophetic about President Reagan that others haven't already said. Suffice it to say, Ronald Reagan was one of the greatest presidents ever, easily among the ranks of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. No other person can be attributed so much responsibility for bringing liberty and freedom to so many people. One must simply be too young or willfully ignorant of history not to realize the extent to which we now literally sleep safer at night due to his guiding leadership. Winner of the cold war, visionary economist, an American patriot who turned a nation around, his accomplishments are unparalleled.
In 1991, I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to meet President Reagan. I was involved with the Adam Smith Foundation which presented him with an award for the incredible success of his supply-side economic policies. For the record, he was articulate, spontaneous, and absolutely commanded the attention of everyone in the room as he related several anecdotes and stories and discussed his award and our organization--there were zero signs, not even a hint, of Alzheimer's disease, which he later developed. God Bless Ronald Reagan.