I'll admit it -- I was skeptical. Any time I see a historical work written by a media personality, I have some doubts that enter my mind. Is the research rigorous? Is the POV ideological? is the writing any good? And so when I got an email offering me the opportunity to review George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade and best-selling author Don Yeager, I wasn't sure what to expect. But as the son of a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and a fan of thrillers by the likes of Tom Clancy, Ben Coes, and Daniel Silva, I decided to take the plunge.
Am I ever glad that I did.
Quite honestly, I loved the book.
After all, consider the situation after the Continental Army was forced to concede New York tot he British. Information was hard to come by. Nathan Hale was captured and executed as a spy. How was Washington to get information about troop strength and movement by the enemy? It fell to an unlikely group of civilians of various social classes and backgrounds -- including one woman -- to gather together observations and gossip to be passed on to Patriots. Known as the Culper Spy Ring, they were remarkably successful in carrying out their dangerous activities. Some were chased, others shot at, and one even captured (likely dying in captivity) over the course of six years. These amateurs used methods not dissimilar to the sort of tradecraft used by field agents of various intelligence agencies around the world -- and the methods used over two centuries ago by Washington's spies are still studied today by CIA agents. So successful were the Culpers that Washington had to see to their protection when at last the Continental Army returned to New York at the conclusion of the Revolution -- after all, some of them were known to be ardent Tories and were likely targets of revenge by their Patriot neighbors.
The book itself has its genesis in Kilmeade's youthful fascination with the Culper Spy Ring, which supplied George Washington with intelligence from New York in the years after the Continental Army lost the city to the British. As an adult, Kilmeade decided to share that fascination with the rest of the world in the form of a book that is scholarly enough to be accurate and breezy enough to be readable. Forget that Kilmeade is a television personality -- this is a guy sharing his knowledge about a topic he loves. I'd therefore categorize it as a "popular history". There are certainly books that go deeper into the history of the Culpers than Kilmeade does, but they are unlikely to ever get the audience this book will -- but may just end up steering readers to the more scholarly works. But even if it does not send every reader into a frenzy of academic research, George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution is a great story -- which might explain why my county library system has over 300 requests for it before it is even on the shelf. As for me, I'll be recommending the book to some of my students as one that they will learn from and enjoy.
Congressman Alan Grayson is an arrogant racist who spews hate at anyone who dares disagree with him -- and especially at uppity minority conservatives who don't know their place on the Democrat plantation. He preaches against the wealthy while living the 1%-er lifestyle using his ill-gotten wealth.
U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida lost $18 million in a scheme that cheated him and about 120 other investors out of more than $35 million, according to court papers.
The Virginia man who ran the scheme, William Dean Chapman, was sentenced Friday in federal court to 12 years in prison. Prosecutors say Chapman used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle including a Lamborghini, a Ferrari and a $3 million home.
In most of the court papers, Grayson’s identity is protected — prosecutors say only that an elected official with the initials A.G. was the primary victim — but documents twice mention Grayson by name. The Democratic congressman on Monday confirmed he is the A.G. mentioned in the documents.
Nothing in the court papers suggests Grayson was anything but a victim of the scheme. Grayson, a former trial attorney, said he has had a long record for picking winning stocks, which formed the basis for his personal fortune.
The scheme worked like this: clients would turn over their stocks to Chapman as collateral for a loan, and Chapman would let customers borrow about 90 percent of the stocks’ value.
Here's hoping that Grayson is the victim of many more such scams, until he learns how real Americans live -- and what real Americans believe.
Come on -- surely you see it.
It is something Obama has done before.
It is another bow, just like this one.
Somebody needs to explain to Obama that American leaders don't bow to foreign leaders.
I'm offended that it is Republicans trying to get this one passed.
Political momentum to keep a ban on cellphone calls during flights gained momentum Monday as lawmakers said it would be crazy to allow them.
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) became the second lawmaker after Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to offer legislation to keep the ban in place.
“Let’s face it, airplane cabins are by nature noisy, crowded, and confined,” said Shuster, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “For those few hours in the air with 150 other people, it’s just common sense that we all keep our personal lives to ourselves and stay off the phone.”
The bills follow a flood of complaints to the Federal Communications Commission, which announced last month that it would look into ending the ban.
If they really believe this, they should ban the use of cell phones on buses, trains, and other public conveyances, too -- and in public places like restaurants, malls, movie theaters, etc. But they won't -- so why do it on planes?
Besides, there was phone service on planes for year through those Airfone things on the back of seats. No one ever objected -- why legislate now?
U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Friendswood, will not run for reelection. Instead, he is challenging U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in the Republican primary for Cornyn’s seat.
Stockman’s candidacy gives Cornyn the Tea Party challenge he had long sought to avoid in a state where the GOP electorate has moved sharply to the right.
Stockman’s campaign has been dogged by debt and controversy. He recently dismissed two congressional staffers, including his current campaign treasurer, after they admitted to making prohibited contributions to his campaign, initially reporting them under the names of relatives.
An aide to Stockman walked into the Texas Republican Party headquarters in Austin at about 5:45 p.m. — 15 minutes before the filing deadline — and withdrew Stockman’s filing for his congressional seat, then filed a new application for him as a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, said Spencer Yeldell, a GOP spokesman. “Until then, it was a pretty laid-back day,” Yeldell said.
I'm pretty sure that this is Stockman's way of skirting around the ethics questions that have been flying around him these last few weeks. Beating Cornyn is highly unlikely from where I sit -- and I'll say right now that the Senator has my endorsement over my Congressman because I do not believe that Stockman can win a statewide race.
I also know who I'm backing in the race to replace Stockman here in CD 36 -- and I'll be writing more on that in the next day or so.
Next time you hear that GM paid back everything the government loaned it, remind folks of these numbers.
The federal government announced today that it has sold the last of its General Motors stock, about 31.1 million shares or 2 percent of the company, ultimately losing about $10.5 billion on the original investment.
The government once owned 912 million shares, or 60.8 percent of GM, which it received in return for the $49.5 billion bailout given to the auto manufacturer during the financial crisis of 2008–09. GM’s stock rose about 1.8 percent, or 73 cents, on the news today.
So much for Obama and company frugally managing your money.
I wanted to be upset over this story. I mean, the headline made it sound like it was a really outrageous abuse of power by the teacher – requiring a student to write that which she did not believe. That isn’t what happened, though.
Abigail Cornejo is a Sophomore at Palatine High School in a small town in Illinois who merely wanted to write a paper on the controversial topic of abortion. But her English teacher had something else in mind and told Conejo she couldn’t write on the topic — and if she did, she would have to write from the pro-abortion perspective.
“My English class is doing a controversial issue research paper,” Abigail told LifeNews. “My English teacher, Mr. David Valentino originally told the class we may not do abortion, euthanasia, or legalization of marijuana. I asked why we couldn’t do infanticide, abortion and he replied with, ‘I’ve read too many papers on it. I don’t care anymore.’”
There it is – the teacher excluded the topic of abortion. I might not agree with that decision or the reason for it, but it is perfectly acceptable for a teacher to put some parameters and limitations on an assignment.
But that wasn’t good enough for the student.
She continued: “The next day, for my controversial topic I wrote down abortion and he refused to approve my topic. I asked, ‘Why not? You don’t even have a good reason.” He replied in his I’m higher than you and you have to listen to me voice, ‘It’s an ethical debate. I don’t have to have a reason you aren’t doing abortion.’ We quickly argued about it being an ethical debate and then I told him I’m still going to do abortion and his reply was, “‘If you write a paper on abortion I will not read it and you will get an F. This is an essential writing assignment and if you get an F you will fail this class and have to retake it in the summer or next year. It’s your choice I hope you make the right decision.’”
At this point, Abigail was being a brat. She knew what the parameters of the assignment were, she knew that the topic she wanted to write on was excluded from the permissible topic, and she continued to press the issue. Personally, I would been calling the parents right then, explaining that the student was out of line. Good parents would have backed the teacher on the issue of his authority to set the parameters of the assignment.
Ultimately, the exasperated teacher told the student that she could write on the topic of abortion if – and only if – she wrote from the perspective she opposed. I can’t say I would have done that – but I can’t say that it is an inappropriate pedagogical tool, since it would require the student to look at a controversial issue from a point of view that she does not ordinarily give much weight to. The goal, I think, was to get the student to drop her demand to do a topic that was expressly not permitted under the terms of the assignment – which, in the end, she did. Not that this stopped the student’s bratty behavior, as is evident by her words in the article. She’s clearly still a brat who thinks she is in charge of the class rather than the teacher – and her parents apparently have seen fit to coddle and encourage her bratty behavior.
Mind you, I would not have excluded the topic of abortion from the acceptable topics. Indeed, I gave such an assignment during my days teaching English – and the student who earned the highest grade was one who wrote a superb paper from a pro-choice perspective which earned the highest grade in the class despite taking a position that I found morally reprehensible. But as both an English and Social Studies teacher (on both the high school and college levels) I have imposed limits on topic or rejected proposed topics submitted by students. That is my prerogative as a teacher, and is equally the prerogative David Valentino. That any adult would think differently is shocking.
Are you a new parent terrified that the liberal media will turn your child into an Obama supporter? Or do you just need something to entertain your kids during those long drives to Tea Party rallies? If so, then a brand new coloring book is just the thing for your family! The “Ted Cruz to the Future™ – Comic Coloring Activity Book” is a “non-partisan, fact-driven view of how Texas Sen. Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz became a U.S. senator and details, through his quotes and public information his ideas for what he believes will help America grow,” according to its publisher Really Big Coloring Books.
Because after all, everyone must love Dear Leader Barack – especially the children.
By the way -- the same company that produced the Cruz coloring book also has one on Barack Obama. They also have books on both of the major political parties, the Tea Party and the Occupy movement. I guess that presenting all sides is a bad thing in the eyes of the Left.
Typical liberal hypocrisy. Melissa Harris-Perry made this declaration over the weekend.
I want to talk today about a controversial word. It's a word that has been with us for years. And like it or not, it's indelibly printed in the pages of American history. A word that was originally intended as a derogatory term, meant to shame and divide and demean. The word was conceived of by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man. To render him inferior and unequal and to diminish his accomplishments.
* * *
And so he decided, if you can't beat them, you've got to join them. And he embraced the word and made it his own, sending his opposition a message they weren't expecting -- 'if that's what you want me to be, I'll be that.' Y'all know the word that I'm talking about. Obamacare. That's right! I said it and I'm not ashamed and neither is President Obama. Because he knows that of all his victories over two terms in office his legacy is ultimately going to be remembered for this one single word.
I wonder – was the term “HillaryCare” that was used 20 years ago racist, or at least sexist? Or was it acceptable? Was it racist when Democrats (and some Republicans) referred to RomneyCare during the 2012 presidential campaign? And what about this racist use of ObamaCare just two weeks ago?
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: So Ron (Christie), let me ask, then, particularly you brought up Kasich. So I’m wondering will there be an internecine fight around ObamaCare and particularly the Medicaid expansion aspect of it between the Republican governors who made a decision to in fact expand and those who didn't? Because some of them are going to end up likely on one of those big primary stages together in the debates.So let me ask – does her use of the term ObamaCare make Melissa Harris Perry a racist who is putting herself above and apart from a black man like Barack Obama? Or is this the same sort of verbal double standard that we have with the “n-word”, where the black Harris-Perry is permitted to use the offensive word but its use by a white individual is presumptively racist?
Oh, you mean that doctors will choose not to accept ObamaCare policies?
An estimated seven out of every 10 physicians in deep-blue California are rebelling against the state's Obamacare health insurance exchange and won't participate, the head of the state's largest medical association said. “It doesn't surprise me that there's a high rate of nonparticipation,” said Dr. Richard Thorp, president of the California Medical Association.
As they say, enrollment is not access. You can wait in line, suffer and die – just like in the UK.
So expect to see these signs in a doctor’s office near you in the very near future.
Here are this week’s results
See you next week!
Nelson Mandela, a man who showed how perseverance in the face of adversity can bring about freedom for a nation, has died at the age of 95.
Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years as a prisoner in South Africa for opposing apartheid, then emerged to become his country's first black president, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and an enduring symbol of integrity, principle and resilience, died Thursday at 95.
The announcement was made by South African president Jacob Zuma, who said in a nationally televised address," Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss."
I will concede that at one point I would have been quite content to see Mandela end his days in his prison cell. In the early 1960s he was associated with a terrorist organization and the Communist Party, and it was for crimes committed as a part of that activity that led to his imprisonment. But along the way he changed, departing the path of violence and adopting the peaceful methods of men like Ghandi and King.
The man who emerged from the prison cell in 1990 was a very different man from the one who entered it -- and that change contains the very essence of his greatness and historical importance. Rather than choosing to seek vengeance and retribution for the evils of apartheid, Mandela led his nation in a peaceful transition to a majority-ruled democracy. Eschewing the paths of his role models Che Guevara and Mao Zedong, he instead brought into being a free nation. I honor and revere that man, and I weep at the news that he is no longer among us.
Look at what has happened to the income of all Americans, and then look at what has happened to the incomes of those who live in a locality where the major industry is the production of red tape and infringing upon the liberties of the rest of us -- since the Democrats took over Congress.
And then consider this additional point, made by the guys at Gay Patriot.
Here’s something to chew on, Jeff, the difference between the governing class and Americans may be considerably greater than this graph suggests. Bear in mind the vast differences in income in the District itself with many blighted areas in the North- and Southeast quadrants of the city. And if incomes there would be pulling down the overall average, some folks living in Northwest (and the gentrified areas around Capitol Hill) would be earning far more than this graph suggests.
Because little things like “free exercise of religion” and the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church on the sanctity of life must never be permitted to stand in the way of the Left’s Sacrament of Abortion.
The American Civil Liberties Union announced on Monday that it had filed a lawsuit against the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops, arguing that their anti-abortion directives to Catholic hospitals hamper proper care of pregnant women in medical distress, leading to medical negligence.
Because, of course, refusing to provide abortions or refer for abortions constitutes an offense to Leftist sensibilities. The proper response, therefore, is to declare the religious teachings and practices of a faith to be medical negligence and override the First Amendment rights of an entire faith tradition!
Now I'll concede that the particular incident that has led to the lawsuit raises some troubling issues. However, my reading of the directives and my studies in Catholic seminary lead me to believe that the directives actually would have permitted (require, actually), at a minimum, a transfer to another hospital for treatment – and possibly the delivery of the child even though the likelihood of its survival would be low. That this did not happen reflects less on the directives than on the decisions made by the physician. But a malpractice suit would not allow for a federal judge to overturn the authority of the religious leaders of the largest religious group in America, Bill of Rights be damned.
But remember, my fellow Americans, this is the age of ObamaCare, and if you like your religion you can keep your religion -- if your religion meets the standards set under the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act and the regulations and executive orders that have flowed from the executive branch with no oversight from Congress.
During today's White House Youth Summit, President Obama called on young people to do whatever they can to promote his signature health care law — including plying their customers with cheap booze. "If you are a bartender, have a happy hour," Obama said as the crowd laughed. "And also probably get health insurance because a lot of people don't have it."
And just a reminder that this is the “all about me” presidency, there’s this.
"[The] bottom line is that I'm going to need you, the country needs you," Obama said, reminding them that their friends and peers might not know the benefits of Obamacare.
Because what’s good for Barry always comes before the good of the country – and he has his legacy riding on this broken health care scam.
So it is somehow understandable for blacks to assault random Jews in a neighborhood because there are too many Jews in the neighborhood and they are afraid they will act too "Jewy".
Councilwoman-elect Laurie Cumbo, who was elected to represent Crown Heights starting in January, released an open letter Tuesday saying that many of her black constituents told her they feel threatened by the growth of the neighborhood's Jewish community — and she fears the tension could be spiking the recent violence.
"Many African American/Caribbean residents expressed a genuine concern that as the Jewish community continues to grow, they would be pushed out by their Jewish landlords or by Jewish families looking to purchase homes," Cumbo wrote in the 1,200-word letter, which was emailed to supporters and posted on her Facebook page.
"I respect and appreciate the Jewish community’s family values and unity that has led to strong political, economic and cultural gains. While I personally regard this level of tenacity, I also recognize that for others, the accomplishments of the Jewish community triggers feelings of resentment, and a sense that Jewish success is not also their success."
For all her talk of respect, her letter clearly puts the blame on the Jewish community for daring to grow and to be successful. But then again, what do you expect from a liberal politician – rhetoric that holds the violent youth of a minority community responsible for their own lawless behavior? Nah, that will never happen.
Davis’ adjusted gross income rose from $130,931 in 2010 to $235,428 in 2011 and $284,183 last year. She made roughly $12,000 to $14,000 a year from capital gains, mostly from the sale of mutual funds.
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Davis has made relatively modest contributions to charity. In 2010 she reported giving $2,700. She gave $515 in 2011 and $950 in 2012, the tax returns show.
By my calculations that is .64%. No, not 64% and not 6.4%. That is ZERO POINT SIX FOUR PERCENT. Just incredible.
Tell you what, Wendy – talk to me about being compassionate to the less fortunate when you give more to help them -- in total dollars and percentage of income – than I do.
Just amazing that there are people who want to give animals more rights than our laws give some members of the human species.
Should a captive chimpanzee have the same rights as a "legal person"?
That's the debate set to unfold after an activist group filed lawsuits on behalf of four chimpanzees, asking the New York Supreme Court to grant them the "right to bodily liberty."
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Even if the chimpanzees don't understand what a lawsuit is, they benefit from being directly represented, she said.
"We see that in children. They can be removed from an abusive home and be protected, even though the child might not be able to formulate those desires and the issues represented in the court of law," Tischler told CNN.
Get back with me when the courts recognize “Unborn Baby Doe” as being a “legal person” with a right to life and then we can talk about this one.
It would be an open and shut case of gender discrimination.
The co-CEO of Archie Comics' says she couldn’t have discriminated against her underlings - because they’re white men.
In papers filed in Westchester Supreme Court, Nancy Silberkleit's lawyer says a gender discrimination lawsuit filed against her earlier this year by a group of Archie Comics employees should be tossed in part because white guys aren’t members of “a protected class.”
The embattled co-CEO's filing also mocked the five employees’ claim that she’d used her “gender as a weapon” by yelling “Penis! Penis! Penis!” during a business meeting.
“Plaintiffs fail to allege that any such comments were directed at any of the plaintiffs in particular, or they could cause extreme emotional distress even if they had been,” her court filings say.
This goes to the heart of the problem we have with the notion that some – but not all – Americans have special protections under the laws. Why should it be legal for a woman to sexually harass a man? Why shouldn’t whites have the same rights under the laws as blacks – you know, equal protection of the law? And what would happen to a CEO who referred to female employees as “Vagina” (or worse) in the workplace rather than by their names?
I think those questions answer themselves, don’t you?
Here are this week’s results
Sixth place *t* with 2/3 vote –
See you next week!
Operating just like the security agencies of such paragons of freedom as the USSR, Red China, Cuba, and North Korea by using personal information gleaned from illicit spying to destroy their enemies.
The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document. The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, identifies six targets, all Muslims, as “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, and then exploited to undermine a target's credibility, reputation and authority.
The NSA document, dated Oct. 3, 2012, repeatedly refers to the power of charges of hypocrisy to undermine such a messenger. “A previous SIGINT" -- or signals intelligence, the interception of communications -- "assessment report on radicalization indicated that radicalizers appear to be particularly vulnerable in the area of authority when their private and public behaviors are not consistent,” the document argues.
American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer had this reaction:
“This report is an unwelcome reminder of what it means to give an intelligence agency unfettered access to individuals' most sensitive information. One ordinarily associates these kinds of tactics with the secret police services of authoritarian governments. That these tactics have been adopted by the world’s leading democracy – and the world’s most powerful intelligence agency – is truly chilling.”
Either Obama has become a tyrant or he has shown himself to be utterly incapable of controlling the agencies that supposedly work for him. You make the call.