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April 23, 2009

Miss USA: We Should Be Subjects, Not Citizens

Talk about failing to exemplify American values!

During an interview with FOXNews.com, [Miss USA Kristen] Dalton said: "In short, I would say everyone should be able to enter into a civil union, where they're legally recognized as a couple and earn the same rights as a married couple." Asked if she supports gay marriage, Miss USA replied, "I'm not going to say whether or not I think it should be defined as marriage because that's up to our politicians and our elected officials."

And precisely where, Kristen, do you think the power of those politicians and elected officials is derived. It is derived from the people – you and I. For you to say “that's up to our politicians and our elected officials” is to reject your birthright as an American and relegate yourself to the status of subject rather than citizen.





|| Greg, 07:13 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Ratings Plunge For MSNBC “Rock Star”

Looks like Rachel MadCow’s ratings at MSNBC are no more durable than they were at ErrAmerica.

MSNBC show host Rachel Maddow has suffered some steep audience erosion in recent months, down more than 40 percent in viewership from her peak last fall during the election.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Maddow's audience has gone from a high of 1.9 million viewers in the fall to just over 1.1 million in March. That's a big drop.”

Is it any wonder, then, that the stockholders of MSNBC’s parent company are angry about the product being put out, and its harm to their stock values?





|| Greg, 07:12 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Congress Knew About Enhanced Interrogation

And not only that, they encouraged it.

It was not necessary to release details of the enhanced interrogation techniques, because members of Congress from both parties have been fully aware of them since the program began in 2002. We believed it was something that had to be done in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to keep our nation safe. After many long and contentious debates, Congress repeatedly approved and funded this program on a bipartisan basis in both Republican and Democratic Congresses.

* * *

Any investigation must include this information as part of a review of those in Congress and the Bush administration who reviewed and supported this program. To get a complete picture of the enhanced interrogation program, a fair investigation will also require that the Obama administration release the memos requested by former Vice President Dick Cheney on the successes of this program.

More to the point, is it really appropriate for Senators and Representatives who knew about these programs and supported them to turn around and investigate them? After all, there were some 30 meetings that included the leadership and other members of both parties. Shouldn’t they be subjects of the investigations rather than the investigators? After all, if these techniques really violate American values, and if they really did authorize them, don’t they share at least as much responsibility for them as the Executive Branch officials who the Left now wants to pillory?





|| Greg, 07:11 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Reasonable Rules For Abortionists?

Let’s set aside the question of morality. Let’s ignore the question of Roe v. Wade. Doesn’t a proposal that doctors who perform surgical procedures away from a hospital be required to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case something goes wrong a pretty reasonable requirement for the state to impose?

The Indiana House of Representatives has passed a bill to require doctors who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges.

The House voted 73-20 for the bill April 15. The legislation also would mandate that a doctor inform a woman that her unborn child may feel pain during an abortion, according to The Indianapolis Star.

The measure will return to the Senate, which previously passed it on a 44-6 vote but will need to act on the new version containing House-approved amendments, according to LifeNews.com.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana said only one of the seven doctors in the state who perform abortions has admitting privileges, The Star reported.

Supporters of the bill said it was needed in order to protect women who have problems after abortions.

"This bill is about patient safety," said Rep. Matthew Bell, R.-Avila. "I think it's the right statement to make when we care about the quality of care received by the patients."

Sadly, I’ve seen ambulances leave abortion facilities with a woman inside of them. Doesn’t it benefit them for the doctor who was doing that procedure to be able to admit them and oversee their care? And isn’t it disturbing that so few can?





|| Greg, 07:10 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Important Observation On Waterboarding

Now I’ll concede that I don’t give a rat’s hind-quarters for the comfort or dignity of terrorists. I don’t much care what was done to them to elicit good intelligence on al-Qaeda activities, and I believe the only process they are ultimately due involves a bullet dipped in bacon grease being fired into the base of their skulls. Terrorists, in my eyes, have surrendered any claim to humane treatment.

That said, there are others who disagree – but still believe that waterboarding might be appropriate. One, Deb Saunders, makes this important observation.

Some maintain that the CIA might have learned what it needed to know without waterboarding. But as one memo reported, before the questioning got tough, "KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, 'Soon you will know.'" The questioning got tougher. As the memo noted, the CIA believes that "the intelligence acquired from these interrogations has been a key reason why al Qaeda has failed to launch a spectacular attack in the West since 11 September 2001." And: Once "enhanced techniques" were used on KSM, interrogations "led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the 'Second Wave,' … to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner' into a building in Los Angeles." Do I like waterboarding? No, but it is not life threatening; in extreme cases, I can live with it. And I'll take waterboarding over a 9/11 in Los Angeles any day.

So, my friends, ask yourself this – which city are you willing to see destroyed in order to protect the purported rights of terrorists? How many of your fellow Americans are you willing to sacrifice in order to avoid troubling your conscience? And do you truly believe that those whose decisions differed from what yours would have been on this matter merit criminal punishment? Indeed, let me ask it more explicitly – when confronted with a choice between American patriots and America’s enemies, why do you side with the latter?





|| Greg, 07:09 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Relations Rocky? Imagine That!

Let’s see – you knocked up their daughter. That would have been a problem. Then you and the daughter split after the birth of the child. Clearly another stress on the relationship. But then you started trash-talking the family on nationwide television. Yeah, that would certainly stretch things to the breaking point.

The father of Sarah Palin's grandchild said Wednesday night that he might pursue legal action against the Alaska governor's family, who he says has cut off communication with him and are no longer letting him see their son Tripp. Levi Johnston said during an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" that he has hired an attorney in hopes of compelling former fiancé Bristol Palin to honor his visitation rights. Johnston last saw his four-month-old son "a couple weeks ago," he said, adding that going over to the Palin household to see Tripp is "an uncomfortable thing." Despite his threat of legal action, Johnston insists that he does not "want to stir anything up."

Dude, you stirred things up when you went on Tyra and all the other shows. You stirred them up more with the Larry King interview. In what strange alternative universe do you live that you believe that giving those interviews (in which you did trash-talk the Palin family) did you believe that the relationship would be improved?

Now do I think that there needs to be some custody and visitation agreement made? Yeah, I do – as well as child support arrangements, too. After all, have you been supporting the son you so want to visit?

NOTE TO LARRY KING: Asking where the baby was conceived is a new low for your show, which is already among the trashiest on television. Have you no sense of decency, sir?





|| Greg, 07:08 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 22, 2009

Justice Breyer Gives Me A Mental Image I Didn’t Need

Not only is he apparently unsympathetic to students who are strip searched by school officials based upon flimsy evidence, he also grossed out plenty of folks with this little homespun tidbit.

Justice Breyer elaborated on what children put in their underwear. “In my experience when I was 8 or 10 or 12 years old, you know, we did take our clothes off once a day,” he said. “We changed for gym, O.K.? And in my experience, too, people did sometimes stick things in my underwear.”

Stephen, get help. Please.

And protect the right of students to not be strip searched by school officials on the basis of nothing more than the word of another student.





|| Greg, 04:11 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Proper Decision In Immigration Case

An immigrant whose American spouse dies before their paperwork for permanent residency has been processed by the government should not be ruled ineligible for that status. That the government has acted differently has always struck me as inappropriate (especially when such cases involve the widows of American servicemen killed in combat). Now a court has ruled that such a policy is, in fact, a violation of the law.

A federal judge tentatively ordered the Department of Homeland Security to reopen the cases of 22 people who were denied green cards because their American spouses died during the application process. U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder ruled the so-called widow penalty doesn’t necessarily require that immigrants’ permanent residency applications be denied when their American spouses die. Citing a 2006 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Snyder ruled this week that applicants don’t lose their status as spouses of U.S. citizens if the death occurs before the government rules on their applications. The decision, if made final, would be a victory for more than 200 people across the country who have been affected by the widow penalty, said attorney Brent Renison, who filed the class-action lawsuit in Los Angeles. “This case is very significant because it’s the first that follows the circuit court decision and gives guidance to the agency on what it can and cannot do in these situations,” Renison told the Associated Press on Tuesday. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has argued the law requires that residency applications be rejected for immigrants whose American spouses die within two years of being married.

Now I realize that there could be fraudulent marriages with sick old folks that might qualify under these standards, but those should be easy to screen for. What is more common is for folks to die unexpectedly – perhaps in an accident – with the result that their immigrant spouse (who may have American citizen children) would no longer be eligible to stay in this country. The result is an injustice that compounds the tragedy of a family being rent apart by death. This decision goes a long way towards correcting that injustice.





|| Greg, 04:10 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mohammedans Who Blaspheme Christ Demand Apology From Pope Over Alleged Insult Of Muhammad

I do wish that Pope Benedict would tell these swine that he’ll never again apologize for allegedly insulting Islam’s false prophet when he quoted a centuries-old manuscript.

Jordan's powerful Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday demanded Pope Benedict XVI apologize ahead of his Mideast tour for his previous remarks about the Prophet Muhammad that many Muslims interpreted as insulting their faith.

The controversy centers on a speech the pope made in September 2006 about Islam and violence in which he quoted a Medieval text that characterized some of the teachings of Muhammad as "evil and inhuman," particularly "his command to spread by the sword the faith."

"The pope insulted Islam and deeply hurt our feelings back in 2006 and he must apologize now to clear the air with Muslims worldwide," said Brotherhood spokesman Jamil Abu-Bakr. "We expect a written or verbal apology now or right before he visits Jordan."

Excuse me, but given the fact that the Quran is full of blasphemous statements about Jesus Christ. It claims that Jesus was not the Son of God, was not crucified, and did not rise from the dead. It further claims that Jesus was a Muslim. None of this is true, and in the eyes of any true Christian constitutes blasphemy. Add to that multiple other insulting and blasphemous teachings (from a Christian perspective) that are part and parcel of Islam, and the allegedly insulting comment of the Pope ranks as nothing.

Apologize? Never! Call Muslims to repentance and conversion to Christianity? That’s the ticket.





|| Greg, 04:08 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Another Reason To Reject Card-Check

The union can simply forge the signatures and make itself the representative of the workers.

An Ohio union organizer has been fired after he was caught forging documents to deduct money from public employees' wages to pay for political activity, the Service Employees International Union said yesterday.

Becky Williams, president of the SEIU District 1199, said she thinks this is an isolated incident, but the union is continuing to investigate.

"There's not another organizer or group of members that were affected," she said.

The organizer, whom Williams declined to identify, had forged about 40 "PAC cards," which are documents that allow the union to deduct about $14 per month from employee wages to pay for the union's political activity.

Now in this case it was merely stealing a few bucks from employees – but imagine if a few unscrupulous folks simply forge the signatures of enough workers to get the union declared the official bargaining unit at a particular workplace. Will workers even know that they have been signed up for a union without their knowledge – or will a simple declaration that “we’ve got a majority” from the union be sufficient to entrench the union as the representative – with any attempt by the employer to help the workers undo the fraud labeled as an “unfair labor practice”?





|| Greg, 04:06 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Kennedy Scion Engages In Racially-Tinged Obama Insult

Could you imagine the uproar – and the accusations of racism – if Rush Limbaugh or some prominent conservative politician or activist used this term to refer to Barry Hussein?

“Clean coal is a dirty lie,” says environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who calls President Barack Obama and other politicians who commit taxpayer money to develop it “indentured servants” of the coal industry.

Come on, Junior, you pathetic shadow of a great father. Just come on out and use the term you really wanted to direct at Obama. Call him “boy”, “Stepin Fetchit”, “darkie”, “coon”, or the one you were probably looking for -- you know, the one that starts with "N".

RFK Jr. is, like the rest of his generation of Kennedys, but a pale shadow of the three great young men of the last generation who died for this country. They are, instead, disgraces to the family name, just like their Uncle Teddy.





|| Greg, 04:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 21, 2009

And The Most-Wanted Domestic Terrorist Is

NOT a conservative or a veteran. The new addition to the Ten Most-Wanted list is an animal rights terrorist.

The FBI announced Tuesday the addition of Daniel Andreas San Diego to the list, hoping a burst of international publicity associated with the move will help investigators find him after six years on the run.

San Diego, 31, may appear to be out of place on a terrorist list with familiar names like al Qaeda's Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Adam Yahiye Gadahn. The "strict vegan," according to the FBI, is charged with bombing two corporate offices in California in 2003. The blasts caused extensive property damage but no deaths.

Vegans eat no meat or any other food containing animal products.
Authorities allege San Diego bombed facilities in Emeryville and Pleasanton, California, because he believed the Chiron and Shaklee Corporations had ties to animal-testing labs.

Unlike the alleged right-wing threat that DHS issued a report about recently, we do have actual violence being committed, with actual individuals and groups engaging in terrorism. Seems to me that this is where DHS really needs to be focused, educating law enforcement about the real threats rather than making ambiguous statements that could legitimately be seen as tarring over half the nation.





|| Greg, 05:25 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Inspiring Story

As I drive to work each morning, I tune in to Bill Bennett’s show. This morning he interviewed Stephen F. Hayes from The Weekly Standard, regarding his current article on the Ride 2 Recovery involving a number of our nation’s Wounded Warriors. It is an article you won’t soon forget. I won’t excerpt the piece because of the power of the story, but will instead link it here.





|| Greg, 05:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Feinstein Financial Misdeeds

Once again, she directs money so that it will flow into her hubby’s pockets.

On the day the new Congress convened this year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to route $25 billion in taxpayer money to a government agency that had just awarded her husband's real estate firm a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.

Mrs. Feinstein's intervention on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was unusual: the California Democrat isn't a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; and the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments - not direct federal dollars.

Documents reviewed by The Washington Times show Mrs. Feinstein first offered Oct. 30 to help the FDIC secure money for its effort to stem the rise of home foreclosures. Her letter was sent just days before the agency determined that CB Richard Ellis Group (CBRE) - the commercial real estate firm that her husband Richard Blum heads as board chairman - had won the competitive bidding for a contract to sell foreclosed properties that FDIC had inherited from failed banks.

About the same time of the contract award, Mr. Blum's private investment firm reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it and related affiliates had purchased more than 10 million new shares in CBRE. The shares were purchased for the going price of $3.77; CBRE's stock closed Monday at $5.14.

If this were a Republican, we’d be hearing all about the conflict of interest represented by this legislation. But since Feinstein is a Democrat, it is simply one more case of business as usual by one of Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats.





|| Greg, 05:08 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Yes, It Is A Crime

Just a reminder to those who argue that illegal immigrants are not criminals.

8 USC Sec. 1325

(a) Improper time or place; avoidance of examination or inspection; misrepresentation and concealment of facts
Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

Imprisonment doesn’t happen in civil cases – only in criminal cases. So would you care to come up with another explanation of why the border-jumping immigration criminals are NOT criminals, when federal law says differently.

H/T Hot Air, Stein Report





|| Greg, 05:07 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Second Amendment An Individual Right

Another court ruling to reinforce the obvious.

We therefore conclude that the right to keep and bear arms is “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” Colonial revolutionaries, the Founders, and a host of commentators and lawmakers living during the first one hundred years of the Republic all insisted on the fundamental nature of the right. It has long been regarded as the “true palladium of liberty.” Colonists relied on it to assert and to win their independence, and the victorious Union sought to prevent a recalcitrant South from abridging it less than a century later. The crucial role this deeply rooted right has played in our birth and history compels us to recognize that it is indeed fundamental, that it is necessary to the Anglo-American conception of ordered liberty that we have inherited. We are therefore persuaded that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment and applies it against the states and local governments.

It is really quite simple – if the use of the phrase “the people” in the First Amendment is indicative of an individual right, the same must be true when that phrase is used in the Second Amendment, since it was composed at the same time by the same authors. And if the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates individual rights against the states in regard to the rights protected by the First Amendment, the same must be true of the right guaranteed by the Second Amendment. It is about time that our Second Amendment jurisprudence catches up with our First Amendment jurisprudence.





|| Greg, 05:06 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I’m With Cheney

Since the Obama Regime has seen fit to release the legal memoranda regarding enhanced interrogations, We the People really ought to be given access to the intelligence gained through its use so as to make a fair judgment about whether or not the methods used were effective and appropriate.

"One of the things that I find a little bit disturbing about this recent disclosure is they put out the legal memos, the memos that the CIA got from the Office of Legal Counsel, but they didn't put out the memos that showed the success of the effort," Cheney said.

Cheney said he's asked that the documents be declassified because he has remained silent on the confidential information, but he knows how successful the interrogation process was and wants the rest of the country to understand.
"I haven't talked about it, but I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw, that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country," Cheney said. "I've now formally asked the CIA to take steps to declassify those memos so we can lay them out there and the American people have a chance to see what we obtained and what we learned and how good the intelligence was."

Now bBarack Obama has already said that the intelligence received from these techniques is no good, so there can be no harm to the national security of the US if it is released – unless, of course, Barack Obama is a bald-faced liar who is intentionally seeking to deceive the American public. After all, there is credible evidence that waterboarding and other techniques did provide good intelligence for the crusade against Islamofascism. So come on, Mr. President – declassify the information and let us judge for ourselves whether you speak the truth.





|| Greg, 05:05 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Pirate In New York For Trial

What a pity – his rotting corpse should already be hanging from the yardarm of USS Bainbridge.

The pirate suspect arrested in the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama was all smiles on arriving in New York City late Monday, escorted by a phalanx of law enforcement officers.

None of the officers would confirm his identity, but his arrival for trial in the United States had been widely expected.

The suspect arrived at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Office Building in Manhattan, which is linked to a federal detention facility where he was expected to be held pending an appearance in federal court. The timing of that appearance was not immediately available. He was walked through the rain, surrounded by media, as well as officers from federal and New York City law enforcement agencies.

This is, once again, a failure by the US government. Just as we have too often treated terrorism like a criminal justice issue rather than a military issue, we are now doing the same with piracy. Thomas Jefferson knew pirates for what they are – the enemies of all humanity – and treated them accordingly by dispatching Stephen Decatur and the US Marines to Tripoli to deal with them. He didn’t bring them back to the US for trial. We should not be setting this precedent now.

And what we also should not do is follow the line of nonsense put forth by Tony Karon in Time.

A New York trial for Muse is unlikely even to prompt others to refrain from acts of piracy. There is no fear of America among young Somali gunmen, who demonstrated that attitude in the most grisly fashion in the streets of Mogadishu in 1993, during the infamous "Black Hawk down" incident. That event has achieved mythic status in the Somali imagination. Instead, the trial is more likely to prompt Muse's peers to seek symbolic retribution — possibly even prompting them to make his release the condition for freeing some future group of hostages they capture on the high seas. Until now, the Somali pirates have scrupulously avoided harming their captives; their capture has been simply a business transaction. That may soon change. An escalation in the confrontation between the pirates and the ships of richer nations will present a golden opportunity to the Shebab to exploit popular nationalist sentiment and turn the business of piracy into a coastal jihad.

A more likely way to turn local sentiment against piracy would be, for example, to put those responsible for holding a shipment of food aid destined to feed the starving in a famine-plagued region on trial in an African court. Somali piracy needs a Somali solution — beginning with the creation of a political order capable of enforcing law and order and protecting Somalia's sovereignty, and offering young Somali men alternative livelihoods. Putting captive pirates on trial may be part of the solution to the piracy problem, but it will only be effective if the courts and laws are seen as legitimate by the communities from which the pirates hail. Putting them on trial in New York may satisfy the desire by many in the U.S. to send a harsh message to those that dare mess with Americans. But it only raises the likelihood of more, and more dangerous, pirate attacks.

Yeah. Right. Sure. That ranks right up there with suggesting that terrorists be tried in Islamic courts under sharia rules as a means of getting the Muslim world to accept the legitimacy of actions taken against them. What such lunacy instead points out is the need to treat these pirate attacks as the military problem they are – and the importance of bombing the bases and sinking the vessels used by pirates in addition to following the rules in the old “Rocks & Shoals” code to be vigorously enforced.





|| Greg, 05:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 20, 2009

Did Traditional Beliefs Cost Miss California The Crown?

Could be – and Miss California organizers has put all future competitors on notice that holding such views is unacceptable.

Miss North Carolina Kristen Dalton was crowned Miss USA on Sunday, but the big story to come out of the normally politics-free telecast was Miss California's comments regarding gay marriage.

When asked by judge Perez Hilton, an openly gay gossip blogger, whether she believed in gay marriage, Miss California, Carrie Prejean, said "We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised."

Keith Lewis, who runs the Miss California competition, tells FOXNews.com that he was "saddened" by Prejean's statement.

"As co-director of the Miss California USA, I am personally saddened and hurt that Miss California believes marriage rights belong only to a man and a woman," said Lewis in a statement. "I believe all religions should be able to ordain what unions they see fit. I do not believe our government should be able to discriminate against anyone and religious beliefs have no politics in the Miss California family."

Co-director Shanna Moakler told FOXNews.com that she fully supported Lewis' statement.

In other words, it is unacceptable for competitors to hold and express the views supported by a majority of Californians last fall.

Oh, yeah – and how does the ever-so-tolerant Perez Hilton deal with the matter? With a typically classless comment about Carrie Prejean.

Hilton, the self proclaimed “Queen of all media” who has campaigned for gay equal rights, called the answer “the worst answer in pageant history”.

On a video blog on his website Hilton said, “She lost not because she doesn’t believe in gay marriage, she lost because she’s a dumb bitch!”

Of course, what Hilton does not say is that the reason she is a “dumb bitch” is because she had the integrity to state that she believes what the vast majority of Americans believe, not what an intolerant degenerate media whore like Perez Hilton and his left-wing companions in the pageant movement wanted her to say.

H/T Malkin





|| Greg, 06:44 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Most Important Part Of Teaching

I saw this from the New York Times this morning – and it certainly rings quite true for me. It is not the content that matters, but the kids.

That’s the hard part, thinking more about the students than about the content. It is probably the biggest challenge for many career switchers. One doesn’t have to be their buddy, but one has to build relationships of trust. Through that trust students become willing to try when they are struggling, or to go further even when at first it seems easy.

The most important thing I do, and the hardest, is getting to know the students, and building on those relationships. The pedagogical process of matching one’s instruction to the students is easy.

Building that relationship of trust is vital. If you can’t do it then why should your students learn what you want to teach them? And if you can, become a teacher.

What does building a relationship accomplish? Usually, one hopes, higher grades. But it can be other things – like helping a kid redirect his or her life. And at times one gains the trust of students so that they will come to you with real problems – ill family members, for example, or unplanned pregnancies. Indeed, each year I tell my students that I want them to learn the subject matter I am teaching, but it is more important to me that they leave my class a better person than they entered it. After all, we teach the whole person, not just the brain.





|| Greg, 06:42 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Note On Foreign Policy Fixes

Here’s hoping that Obama is a quick study.

Obama is not the first president to discover that facile changes in U.S. policy don't crack long-standing problems. Some of his new strategies may produce results with time. Yet the real test of an administration is what it does once it realizes that the quick fixes aren't working -- that, say, North Korea and Iran have no intention of giving up their nuclear programs, with or without dialogue, while Russia remains determined to restore its dominion over Georgia. In other words, what happens when it's no longer George W. Bush's fault? That's what the next 100 days will tell us.

With perhaps one exception (the Maersk Alabama), I’ve been unimpressed with Obama’s foreign policy efforts. He’s offended allies, degraded the nation, and shown weakness in the face of enemies like Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela. Will he finally see that strength, not weakness, is the path to success?





|| Greg, 06:41 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 18, 2009

About The Secession Thing, Part II

Well, if you want some actual proof that Rick Perry said nothing particularly objectionable when he restated Thomas Jefferson’s premise that the people have the right to alter or abolish their form of government – or even dissolve the times that bind them to one another – here it is. Rather than speak about anything actually offensive in Perry’s words, the local hack columnist from the Houston Chronicle is reduced to complaining about so-called “code words”.

Perry again showed his lack of regard for the not-so-subtle nuances of history when he expressed his anger at the federal government by chopping the air with his fist and chanting: “I’m talking about states’ rights, states’ rights, states’ rights!” He said the constitutional protection of states’ rights unfortunately “have melted away over time.” The crowd loved it, but there is a large segment of Texas citizens who know bitterly that the term “states’ rights” was long militantly employed to fight the melting away of such “rights” as state sanctioning of slavery, enforcement of school segregation and, in Texas, the definition of political parties as private associations permitted to exclude non-whites primaries. There are certain rights of states that deserve to be protected, but a politician who wants to be leader of all the people doesn’t use terms so tightly bound to such an ugly history.

Now columnist Rick Casey certainly was within his rights to criticize Perry’s statement. He even had some good points among his earlier analysis. But in the end, he decided to play the race card. Casey, not Perry, decided to take statements that had not one word about race in them and transform them into a call for a return to slavery, segregation, and the denial of voting rights. That is fundamentally dishonest on his part – as is his attempt to take the evils imposed upon Texas by the Democrat Party for over a century and use them as a basis to undermine the essential nature of the federal system created in our nation’s Constitution.

Mr. Casey, states’ rights are an essential part of our constitutional order. While that term has been abused in the past by some in an attempt to justify the unjustifiable, that does not mean that all mention of or appeal to that concept is illegitimate. What is illegitimate, though, is an attempt to turn the discussion of tax policy, the extent of federal power, and the nature of our federal union into some sort of covert appeal to racism.





|| Greg, 10:35 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Garofalo Proves She’d Have Done Well Under Stalin

Disagree with the all-powerful leader? Well, it is clearly a sign of mental illness!

[T]he limbic brain inside a right-winger or Republican or conservative or your average white power activist, the limbic brain is much larger in their head space than in a reasonable person, and it's pushing against the frontal lobe. So their synapses are misfiring.

Got that – if you are “a right-winger or Republican or conservative or your average white power activist” (and there is no distinction in her book), you are suffering from a mental illness or neurological disorder. Clearly you need to be hospitalized and/or medicated for your own good and that of society. And Nurse Janeane will be glad to help you get checked in for treatment at the Lavrentiy Beria Psikhushka for the Treatment of Anti-Social Personalities.





|| Greg, 10:34 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Civil Rights No Concern To Obama’s DHS

You know that report slurring veterans and conservatives as potential terrorists? Well, it appears that the report was issued despite objections from civil rights officials within the department.

Civil liberties officials at the Homeland Security Department did not agree with some of the language in a controversial report on right-wing extremists, but the agency issued the report anyway. The intelligence assessment issued to law enforcement last week said some military veterans could be susceptible to extremist recruiters or commit lone acts of violence. That prompted angry reactions from some lawmakers and veterans' groups. Homeland Security spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said the report was issued before officials resolved problems raised by the agency's civil rights division. Kudwa would not specify what language raised the concerns.

Remember – this report defined as right-wing extremism “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” No telling what sort of supervision that those of us who believe in gun rights, oppose abortion, and want control of our borders – in other words, Republicans.

Fortunately, some Senate Republicans are holding Janet Napolitano’s feet to the fire.

Dear Secretary Napolitano, We write today regarding the release of the Department of homeland Security (DHS) report entitled “Rightwing Extremism Current Economic and Policial Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” and prepared by the Extremism and Radicalization Branch of the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division. While we agree that extremists of all varieties represent a potential threat to the United States, we are troubled by some of the statements included as fact in the report titled above. First, your report states that “rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.” Using the DHS rationale, do you also believe that weapons familiarity and tactical training means local, state, and federal law enforcement personnel, and members of the National Guard, are also being recruited? To suggest that a soldier returning from a combat tour is more prone to join an extremist group is unconscionable and insulting to our brave men and women who risk their lives protecting our freedom. Second, the report states that the millions of Americans who believe in the Second Amendment are a potential threat to our national security. Why? Do you have statistics to prove that the law-abiding Americans who purchase a legal product are being recruited by so-called hate groups? If so, please present us with DHS’s independent data. Third, the report identifies those individuals who believe in such issues as pro-life legislation, limited government, legal versus illegal immigration and limited federal government as potential terrorist threats. We can assure you that these beliefs are held by citizens of all races, party affiliations and sex, and should not be listed as a factor in determining potential terror threats. A better way to describe them is as citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. Also, you listed those who bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability to China and India as being potential rightwing extremists. We would suggest that the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs in the manufacturing industry to foreign countries are no potential terror threats, but rather, honest Americans worried about feeding their families and earning a paycheck. Once again, to classify Americans who have lost their jobs as potential terror threats does a disservice to millions of Americans. In closing, we support the mission of the DHS in protecting our country from terror attacks and are proud of the many DHS employees who make it possible, in conjunction with our state and local law enforcement. We ask that DHS not use this report as a basis to unfairly target millions of Americans because of their beliefs and the rights afforded to them in the Constitution, and that you provide us with the data that supports the claims listed in the report titled above. Sincerely, David Vitter (R, Louis.) Sam Brownback (R, Kansas) Jim Demint (R, So Car.) Tom Cobrun (R, Oklahoma) Richard Burr (R, No. Car.) Lisa Murkowski (R, Alaska) James Inhofe (R, Oklahoma)

Here’s hoping that we see some more speak out about this unprovoked attack on American conservatives by the Obama Regime.

And for those who want to connect this report to the FBI’s Operation Vigilant Eagle, there is a clear difference. That program was targeted at specific, identified individuals with known associations with white supremacists and extremist groups. The DHS report goes much further, identifying as suspicious those who hold mainstream political views – and openly admitting that there are no actual threats or activities identified that by intelligence sources that justify this concern.





|| Greg, 10:33 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

USS Stockdale Commissioning

Today marks a fitting honor for a true American hero.

The Navy will commission the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Stockdale, during an 11:00 a.m. PST ceremony on Saturday, April 18, 2009, in Port Hueneme, Calif. Designated DDG 106, the new destroyer honors Medal of Honor recipient Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale (1923-2005), the legendary leader of American prisoners of war (POWs) during the Vietnam War. Stockdale was the highest-ranking naval officer ever held as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. His plane was shot down Sept. 9, 1965, while flying combat missions over North Vietnam. Stockdale spent more than seven years in captivity at prisons in North Vietnam, including time at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” Four of those years were spent in solitary confinement. While imprisoned, Stockdale is credited with organizing a set of rules to govern the behavior of fellow prisoners of war and for helping to develop a code for prisoners to communicate with each other that included tapping on cell walls. In recognition of his leadership and sacrifice he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1976. Stockdale received 26 combat medals and awards, including two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Distinguished Service Medals, two Purple Hearts and four Silver Stars. He was also named to the Aircraft Carrier Hall of Fame, National Aviation Hall of Fame, and was an honorary member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

Admiral Stockdale was one of those men I was brought up to admire for the courage he showed during his years as a POW. He served this nation well, in both war and peace, in both military and civilian life. May the officers and crew of USS Stockdale be worthy of the superior naval officer for whom their ship is named.





|| Greg, 10:20 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Credit Reports

It is a part of life today. You need credit – in particular, you need good credit. And in these times that is true in the consumer credit market. After all, consumer credit has become vital for people around the world, and to our economic system. But when you ask for credit from a legal lender such as bank, leasing institution, credit card provider, or another source of credit, it can get a little bit complicated. You need a good credit report for them to extend you credit – especially today. You need to know what your credit score is, and you need to make sure that any errors are corrected on that report and that any bumps are balanced off by responsible handling of credit. After all, having a low credit score will hinder your being accepted by lenders.

The biggest problem most people have is with their credit cards. A few late or missed payments can cause havoc with your credit rating, as well as your interest rates. And let’s not consider the problems that can arise when you exceed your credit card limits. That not only is not an opening for the company increasing credit limits on your cards, but it could result in your losing the card completely. And then there is the problem of erroneous entries on your credit report.

That’s where a service like Credit Nexus can help you out. They ill help you find the mistakes so that you can fix them and have your credit score as high as you deserve so that you get the credit you need.





|| Greg, 09:25 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 17, 2009

Obama Adviser In Kickback Probe

And yet another chapter in the saga of the first hundred days of the most corrupt administration in US history.

Steven Rattner, the leader of the Obama administration's auto task force, was one of the executives involved with payments under scrutiny in a probe of an alleged kickback scheme at New York state's pension fund, according to a person familiar with the matter. A Securities and Exchange Commission complaint says a "senior executive" of Mr. Rattner's investment firm met in 2004 with a politically connected consultant about a finder's fee. Later, the complaint says, the firm received an investment from the state pension fund and paid $1.1 million in fees. The "senior executive," not named in the complaint, is Mr. Rattner, according to the person familiar with the matter. He is co-founder of the investment firm, Quadrangle Group, which he left to join the Treasury Department to oversee the auto task force earlier this year.

I believe that is called “pay to play” – and if this situation does not involve criminal activity it certainly skirts the line. After all, SEC probes don’t just happen – there has to be some substantive evidence to get them started. The “consultant” in this case has been credibly accused of selling access – and Rattner was meeting him and paying him, which seems to have led to a hefty profit for Rattner and his firm. Shades of Obama-buddy Tony Rezko!

In this case the mere appearance of an impropriety seems to qualify as an impropriety in and of itself.





|| Greg, 04:22 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lies The Liberals Tell Us

Here’s the headline at ThinkProgress (which would be better named EmoteRegress).

Rep. Mark Kirk suggest shooting Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn because of higher taxes.

And here’s the “offending” quote.

“I think that the decision to raise taxes by 50 percent in Illinois is political suicide,” Kirk said of Quinn’s proposal to raise the tax rate to 4.5 percent from 3 percent, coupled with an increase in the personal deduction. “I think the people of Illinois are ready to shoot anyone who is going to raise taxes by that degree.”

Do you notice what’s missing? You know, an actual suggestion that anyone actually kill Pat Quinn (who, I would like to note, I know and respect from my younger days in Illinois politics). With reports like that one, I can only assume that the folks at ThinkProgress are preparing to trademark the phrase “Inacurate and Unbalanced” as their new motto.





|| Greg, 04:21 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Is Chris Dodd Toast?

Well, there is one statistic that would make me think so.

U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd appears to have looked everywhere but his home state to fuel what pundits anticipate will be one of the most hotly contested races in the nation in 2010. The five-term incumbent reported raising just $4,250 from five Connecticut residents during the first three months of the year while raking in $604,745 from nearly 400 individuals living outside the state. While incumbents often turn to special interests for early campaign fundraising, Dodd's out-of-state total seems unusually high and comes at a time when he has been plagued by poor approval ratings among state voters.

During his last run for Senate, Dodd got 30% of his donations from Connecticut residents. Now it is well-below 1%. Numbers that low don’t seem to bode well for his reelection – maybe that special insider loan arrangement that broke some months back is going to make him really vulnerable.





|| Greg, 04:20 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

About The Secession Thing

I’ve noticed in recent weeks a number of bumper stickers on local cars here in Houston that read “Secede”. While I don’t see that as very likely, I don’t have a particular problem with the notion that secession is a legitimate option for a state that is part of a federation, especially if its people are in favor of such a course of action. After all, Jefferson noted that the people are ultimately the source of legitimacy for government (which they themselves establish for the protection of their rights) and that

. . . whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

In other words, there is absolutely nothing sacrosanct about the current design of government. Indeed, Jefferson’s words certainly imply the legitimacy of secession. Indeed, the Declaration of Independence clearly notes that at times

. . . it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them. . . .

So as you can see, there is nothing particularly un-American or subversive about secession – unless, of course, one argues that the Declaration of Independence itself is un-American and subversive. And Mr. Lincoln’s war notwithstanding, nowhere does the Constitution state or imply that the people of the several states surrender their right to alter or abolish their form of government or sever the political ties that bind them to the rest (the decision of the Supreme Court in Texas v. White notwithstanding).

Not, mind you, that I believe that secession is a proper goal for any state at this time, much less that it is a desirable one. But in light of certain statements from my state’s governor yesterday, I feel it important to not that connection to the principles that underlay our nation’s struggle for independence.

So let's see exactly what did Rick Perry say?

Later, answering news reporters' questions, Perry suggested Texans might at some point get so fed up they would want to secede from the union, though he said he sees no reason why Texas should do that. "There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."

Now first off, he isn’t suggesting secession according to what I read. It seems to me that he is offering a theoretical, hypothetical argument similar to what I have stated above. Secondly, it is perfectly in keeping with his recent support for a resolution asserting Texas’ rights under the Tenth Amendment, and I believe that is what he was probably asked about to begin with. But note, please, that he begins his answer with a clear caveat that there is absolutely no reason to dissolve the ties that bind Texans to the rest of the American people. So for those who have gotten your knickers in a knot, might I suggest that you simply dial down your outrage a notch and calmly consider what he has actually said?

Besides, as pointed out elsewhere, he also noted that there were multiple scenarios under which some separation might happen. I’d argue that one of those might be the equivalent of an amicable divorce, with both Congress and the Texas legislature jointly agreeing to the split. Or maybe even a constitutional amendment explicitly overruling the precedent in the wrongly decided Texas v. White.

Oh, and for the record – while I defend Rick Perry here on this one point, it in no way signals a shift in my previously stated intention to support Kay Bailey Hutchison when she challenges Perry for the nomination for governor next year.





|| Greg, 04:19 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Discovery Of Tomb Of Antony And Cleopatra Close?

That is the latest word from Egypt.

Cleopatra and Mark Antony were immortalised as two of history’s greatest lovers, but their final resting place has always been a mystery. Now archaeologists in Egypt are about to start excavating a site that they believe could conceal their tombs. Zahi Hawass, director of Egypt’s Superior Council for Antiquities, said yesterday that there was evidence to suggest that Cleopatra and Mark Antony were buried together in the complex tunnel system underlying the Tabusiris Magna temple, 17 miles from the city of Alexandria. The dig, which begins next week, could reveal answers to the many myths surrounding the pair — including speculation about the Queen’s reputed beauty and the couple’s suicide. Teams from Egypt and the Dominican Republic will begin excavating three sites along the tunnels in the hope that one of the deep shafts will lead to a burial chamber. The sites were identified by a radar scan.

Now let’s acknowledge something here – Hawass is certainly a sensationalist who is great at promoting wild flights of fancy along with legitimate Egyptology. But the reality is that such announcements have accompanied many significant discoveries. Let’s wait and see if the coming weeks and months bring another announcement – this one telling us that the tomb of two of the world’s most famous lovers has been found.





|| Greg, 04:09 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Canadian Web Hosting

If you’ve got a need for a website, you need someone to host it for you. But where do you turn for this important service that can make or break your enterprise? Well, there are a lot of choices out there for you. After all, you want the service and plan that offers the best features for you, don’t you?

Well, in Canada there is a great service at canadianwebhosting.com. They offer a variety of plans for you to meet the needs that you have on the internet. It all depends on your budget, the amount of bandwidth you need, and whether you need a dedicated server. You even have a choice of cpanel or asp hosting options – which ever best suits your needs.

Now here is the great thing about the company -- Canadian Web Hosting has been in the web hosting business since 1998. That tells you that they are not likely to be going away like some hosting services do every year. They are reliable, and can keep you in touch with all the changes in the internet and the underlying technology. So if you are a Canadian interested in a Canadian owned and operated hosting service, these folks are ideal for you!





|| Greg, 04:02 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 16, 2009

The Perfect Response To A WaPo Anti-Gun Editorial

As usual, the Washington Post attacked the Second Amendment today, urging more limitation on the right of the people to keep and bear arms – you know, the right that the Bill of Rights says shall not be infringed. This time they argued that one reason for banning guns in National Parks is the lack of crime there.

But I am particularly fond of this retort to that argument from k_romulus, one of those who took the time to comment on that absurd argument.

And I love how the Ed Board complains that guns should be banned in "urban areas" like DC because of "too much" crime, and also banned in remote outposts like National Parks because of "too little" crime. Sounds like Goldilocks to me, but without the "just right." LOL! 4/16/2009 10:04:49 AM

So you see, banning guns is the all-purpose answer for the Post. Too much crime? Ban guns because they are the cause of it. Too little crime? Ban guns because they aren’t needed. I wonder – is there anyplace where the Washington Post feels there is just the right amount of crime to let the American people fully exercise their Second Amendment rights?





|| Greg, 03:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Obama Won’t Share Stage With Jesus

Shame on Georgetown for caving in to this.

Georgetown University says it covered over the monogram “IHS”--symbolizing the name of Jesus Christ—because it was inscribed on a pediment on the stage where President Obama spoke at the university on Tuesday and the White House had asked Georgetown to cover up all signs and symbols there. As of Wednesday afternoon, the “IHS” monogram that had previously adorned the stage at Georgetown’s Gaston Hall was still covered up--when the pediment where it had appeared was photographed by CNSNews.com.

Sorry, but if you come on a Catholic campus, you are going to have to see crosses and the name of Jesus. If you don’t want that, then don’t come. Ditto appearances at any other Christian institution. After all, Barry, you are merely the President of the United States, and sic transit gloria mundi. But the glory of the risen Christ will never pass away – and God should never be hidden to curry favor with Caesar, especially not when Caesar is speaking in God’s forum.

I’m curious – will the Obama Regime make similar demands to cover up religious imagery when visits Muslim institutions as a part of his giant suck-up to Islam?





|| Greg, 03:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Now Apologize To The Rest Of Us

Well, Janet Napolitano has made a good, if half-hearted, start to atoning for her department’s insulting, un-American tarring of political activists and military personnel as potential terrorists.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized to veterans after a report issued by her department said troops returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were at risk for being recruited by right-wing extremists.

"To the extent veterans read it as an accusation ... an apology is owed," she said during an on-air interview on FOX News Thursday, a day after veterans' groups and members of Congress blasted her for the report, which they said libeled members of the armed forces.

"This was an assessment, not an accusation," Napolitano continued. "It was limited to extremists those who seek to commit violence within the United States. And all this was meant to do was to give law enforcement what we call 'situational awareness.'"

"The last thing I want to do is offend or castigate all veterans. To the contrary, let's meet and clear the air," she said.

"I'm not running away from it, but I will say it was an assessment. It was not an accusation, and quite frankly, these are products that are produced and shared with law enforcement on a routine basis."

Unfortunately, this report contains no specific information to back up its claims of a right-wing threat of terrorist activity. What’s more, the report tars holders of mainstream political positions – indeed, anyone who believes in the GOP platform adopted last summer – as extremists and potential terrorists. That stands in sharp contrast to previous reports that had a specific focus on actual groups threatening or engaging in violent or criminal activity. And for that reason, Napolitano’s apology does not go far enough. Indeed, her willingness to stand by this report is a sign of her unfitness for the position she holds (or any other position of public trust).

So tell me, where is the apology to the rest of us? And what action will be taken to prevent such shoddy, poorly documented political hit pieces from being issued by DHS in the future? Who is going to lose their job or be demoted over this outrage? Does the buck stop anywhere?





|| Greg, 03:56 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Madden Retires

I’ve always hated the Oakland Raiders, and I suspect I always will. But for some reason, I always liked John Madden when he was their coach. Maybe it was because of the decency that somehow showed through the silver and black – like this example following the devastating injury to Darryl Stingley caused by a hit by one of Madden’s own players.

After the game, Madden went directly to the hospital. It was Madden's first instinct to go to Stingley.

* * *

But even at the hospital something was dissonant, out of sync. Expecting to find himself among concerned New England officials, Madden found himself alone. No one from the Patriots was there. Not the owner. Not the coach. No one.
Grabbing a phone, Madden called the Oakland airport. Immediately, he was patched through to the New England charter, taxiing out to take off. A more-than-animated discussion followed. The plane returned to the gate. The business manager was put off.

In the hospital, Stingley was conscious, as doctors worked to fit the halo. Having donned surgeon's garb, Madden appeared beside him, leaning close. "Everything's going to be all right," he whispered. If only it had been true.

* * *

In the days and weeks that followed, Madden visited Stingley, if not daily, then as often as he could. During one visit, Madden discovered a malfunction in Stingley's ventilator. In summoning a nurse to fix the problem, Madden might have saved Stingley's life.

Madden and Stingley remained friends until the latter’s death – a friendship forged from Madden’s compassion for his fellow man.

After giving up the role of coach, Madden became a beloved broadcaster. And today he has announced the end of an era.

John Madden, the most recognized analyst in television sports, is calling it quits.

In a statement issued Thursday morning, Madden, who was NBC's No. 1 NFL analyst on the Peacock's Sunday night package, said: "It's time. I'm 73 years old...It's been such a great ride...the NFL has been my life for more than 40 years, it has been my passion - it still is. I appreciate all of the people who are and were such an important part of the most enjoyable, most fun anyone could have...It's still fun and that's what makes it hard and that's why it took me a few months to make a decision."

This is a loss for the NFL, and for broadcasting. I don’t know of anyone who could replace Madden in terms of expertise, not to mention his frenetic style. Sundays just won’t be the same this fall.

Farewell, John – good health and long life to you. And thank you for so many memories, and for the show of real manhood that so struck me when I was a kid that it has remained the first thing to come to my mind whenever I hear your name.





|| Greg, 03:54 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Money For Nothing

Let’s talk about the nearly $63K that Michelle Obama was paid by a Chicago hospital last year.

Obama earned $139,204 as a Democratic senator from Illinois last year before leaving his seat after winning the November election. Michelle Obama received a salary of $62,709 from the University of Chicago Hospitals, where she was an executive.

One minor detail – Michelle Obama did no work for the University of Chicago Hospitals last year. She was busy on the campaign trail for Barack. What exactly was she being paid for?

Is it just me, or might there be a need for a special prosecutor to investigate this matter – especially given Barack Obama’s history of getting money earmarked for his wife’s employer?

H/T Gateway Pundit





|| Greg, 03:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 15, 2009

No Dissent Allowed

Liberals again stifle open discussion and debate on a college campus with threats and violence.

UNC-CH police released pepper spray and threatened to use a Taser on student protesters Tuesday evening when a crowd disrupted a speech by former Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo opposing in-state tuition benefits to unauthorized immigrants.

Hundreds of protesters converged on Bingham Hall, shouting profanities and accusations of racism while Tancredo and the student who introduced him tried to speak. Minutes into the speech, a protester pounded a window of the classroom until the glass shattered, prompting Tancredo to flee and campus police to shut down the event.

Tancredo was brought to campus by a UNC chapter of Youth for Western Civilization, a national organization of students who oppose mass immigration, multiculturalism and affirmative action.

Before the event, campus security removed two women who delayed Tancredo's speech by stretching a 12-foot banner across the front of the classroom. It read, "No dialogue with hate."

I agree. There can be no dialogue with the sort of Leftist hate displayed at UNC. And if police cannot keep order, it may be time for the average citizen to act to defend the exercise of First Amendment rights through the prudent exercise of Second Amendment rights. After all, how many of these violent thugs would attempt to shut down speakers if they knew that their force would be met with force?





|| Greg, 04:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

This Seems Quite Sad

When I saw this report this morning, I was somewhat taken aback.

There will be no tea-dumping in the Potomac River -- that's illegal -- but organizers of today's national tea party tax protest found out this morning that so is their plan to dump a million tea bags in Lafayette Square to demonstrate displeasure at government spending and tax policies.

Protesters, using a rented truck to haul the million tea bags, began unloading their cargo at the park this morning but were told by officials that they didn't have proper permits and must move the tea. They complied with the order but are still considering what to do with the load.

SO what we have here is a case of government denying permits for speech that challenges the government. I guess this is a part of the hope and change we can believe in – and can’t help but note that if this same thing had happened with left-wing protests during the Bush years there would have been massive rioting and complaints of the quashing of political dissent.

And I wonder, too – what would Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty have done?





|| Greg, 04:34 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Technology Changes Everything

This has been simmering in my mind for a couple of days now.

I don't know why it has stuck with me so long and so intensely.

Sunday, I went to church like always. But this time I found myself seated near someone I usually don't sit near, a NASA doctor and his family. They are really great people, and I have always liked them enough.

So, why am I noting this, days later.

It is what happened when it came time for the reading of scripture and the sermon.

Our pastor announced the Gospel reading, and they all immediately whipped out -- their iPhones!

I was shocked. Could they really be getting ready to text during the sermon?

And then I caught a glimpse of the screen of one of the phones as they scrolled down. It was, much to my surprise, the Easter story from the Gospel of John!

I guess technology is changing everything. Now you don't even need your Bible at church -- just your phone.

Any reactions?





|| Greg, 04:32 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Straight Out Of the US Constitution

Now here's a Ron Paul proposal I can back -- commissioning privateers to deal with the Somali pirates.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and a growing number of national security experts are calling on Congress to consider using letters of marque and reprisal, a power written into the Constitution that allows the United States to hire private citizens to keep international waters safe.

Used heavily during the Revolution and the War of 1812, letters of marque serve as official warrants from the government, allowing privateers to seize or destroy enemies, their loot and their vessels in exchange for bounty money.
The letters also require would-be thrill seekers to post a bond promising to abide by international rules of war.

In a YouTube video earlier this week, Paul suggested lawmakers consider issuing letters, which could relieve American naval ships from being the nation’s primary pirate responders — a free-market solution to make the high seas safer for cargo ships.

Frankly, it sounds like a great idea to me. And best of all, it would give incentive to shipping lines to arm their crews – after all, they would get a piece of the action after having been officially authorized to act in their own defense.

There was a time, my friends, when Americans would defend themselves when confronted by evil. This is an opportunity to do so again, in the best tradition of the United States.





|| Greg, 04:27 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Three Cheers For The French

They’ve captured a mess of pirates!

French forces detained 11 suspected pirates during an assault on what they described as a pirate “mother ship” in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Somalia Wednesday, less than 24 hours after an American cargo ship was attacked by pirates in the same region.

Let’s see Barack Obama follow the French lead on this one. After all, piracy on the high seas is an offense against all nations, and cannot be tolerated.

And especially now that there has been this development.

Somali pirates who attacked an American freighter with rocket-propelled grenades were not trying to capture it but to destroy it as an act of revenge, one of their commanders claimed today.

The LIberty Sun, carrying a cargo of food aid for Africa's starving millions, was attacked yesterday afternoon by two speedboats some 285 nautical miles off the Somali coast.

* * *

“This attack was the first against our prime target,” Abdi Garad, a pirate commander, said today. “We intended to destroy this American-flagged ship and the crew on board but unfortunately they narrowly escaped us.

“The aim of this attack was totally different. We were not after a ransom. We also assigned a team with special equipment to chase and destroy any ship flying the American flag in retaliation for the brutal killing of our friends."

Forget capture – blow them out of the water so that the weenies from the ACLU don’t get them into federal court. The only process these mutts are due is death – either from the barrel of Navy guns or hanging from the modern-day equivalent of a yardarm.





|| Greg, 04:26 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Political Leak Of DHS Report?

The Obama Regime certainly couldn’t have leaked that report to discredit its domestic critics, could it?

DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban said on Tuesday the report was one of an ongoing series of threat assessments aimed at "a greater understanding of violent radicalization in the U.S."

A similar assessment of left-wing radicals completed in January was distributed to federal, state and local police agencies at that time.

"These assessments are done all the time, this is nothing unusual," Kuban said.

The problem, though, according to NewsBusters’ analyst Noel Sheppard is that these reports don’t end up in the press within days of their completion – especially when their appearance is closely timed with planned peaceful political activities by folks who share the very characteristics described in the report. And given some of the shoddy data and weak connections in the report, that makes it even more suspicious. So how did this report make its way into the press, and was it a set-up. Seems to me that there is need for some serious investigation.





|| Greg, 04:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

When Is A Terrorist Group Not A Terrorist Group?

When the New York Times does an article on it!

Egypt released new details on Monday of what it said was a Hezbollah plot to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip, to attack Israeli tourist sites in the Sinai Peninsula and to fire on ships in the Suez Canal. Officials said the police were hunting for 10 Lebanese suspects believed to be hiding in the mountainous terrain of central Sinai.

The case gained wide attention after Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, acknowledged on Friday that he had sent an agent to Egypt to organize assistance for the Palestinians in their fight with Israel, and it quickly took on broader regional implications.

Hezbollah is a military, political and social organization in Lebanon with strong ties to Iran, a bloc in Lebanon's Parliament and ministers in the cabinet.

So got that, friends – Hezbollah is sort of a combination of the Elks, the Rotarians, and the National Guard. Never mind that they keep attacking innocent civilians and stirring up other attacks against the people of Israel. They certainly aren’t terrorists. The New York Times tells you so, and they certainly wouldn’t lie.





|| Greg, 04:23 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

News Flash: Sun Primary Cause Of Global Warming, Cooling

Yep, that big old ball of superheated gas around which we orbit might just be the cause of temperature variations, not the actions of humanity.

Sunspot activity may be a primary factor in climate fluctuations, according to Willie Soon, a researcher affiliated with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Harvard College Observatory, who offered the hypothesis in an interview with TG Daily, an online news source.

* * *

“The sun is a great driving force to climate change,” Soon said in an interview with The Crimson yesterday, adding that most observed climate data could be explained by fluctuations in solar radiation.

Sunspots—pockets of magnetism on the sun’s surface—generate high levels of energy, which then heat the Earth’s atmosphere.

Soon told TG Daily that the lack of additional energy resulting from a decrease in sunspots is directly responsible for colder temperatures experienced in recent years.

Decreased solar energy connected to cool temperatures and increased solar energy connected to warm temperatures. What a novel concept!





|| Greg, 12:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 14, 2009

Two Obama Cabinet Officers Who Must Go Now

Janet Napolitano and Kathleen Sebelius.

First the venal.

President Barack Obama's health secretary nominee got nearly three times as much political money from a controversial abortion doctor as she told senators.

The Health and Human Services Department said Monday that the omission was an oversight that Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius would correct.
In a response to questions from the Senate Finance Committee made public last week, Sebelius wrote that she received $12,450 between 1994-2001 from Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation's few late-term abortion providers.

But in addition to those campaign donations, records reviewed by The Associated Press show that Tiller gave at least $23,000 more from 2000-2002 to a political action committee Sebelius established while insurance commissioner to raise money for fellow Democrats.

Sebelius did not tell senators about that additional money, although Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., asked specifically about any Tiller donations to her PAC.

Now I realize that financial irregularities are nothing new to the Obama Regime. But in this case Sebelius directly lied to Senators during her confirmation hearings about her connection to a man who will perform abortions up to any point before the umbilical cord is snipped. How can she be trusted – especially after her efforts to spare her donor from criminal investigations? Obama must withdraw her nomination, or the Senate must reject her.

On the other hand, there is Janet Napolitano whose department has now released a report declaring folks with mainstream conservative positions to be potential terrorists.

The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in "rightwing extremist activity," saying the economic recession, the election of America's first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

"It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration," the warning says.

Got that? Oppose abortion? Napolitano’s agency has just declared you to be a potential terrorist. Support increased border security and oppose amnesty for illegals? You need to be watched as a potential violent extremist. Believe in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution? You are a potential danger to the United States. Think that the Second Amendment gives you the right to own guns? You could be about to engage in domestic terrorism. Oh, yeah – and you are especially a concern if you are a veteran. And what is the evidence for this assessment? Well, by the admission of the reports author in the text of the report itself, NONE WHATSOEVER.

Now there is an attempt to claim that past reports have looked at left-wing groups, but there is a difference – those reports had to do with groups that had actually engaged in domestic terrorism here in the United States, and were limited to those groups. That isn’t what happened here.

That this report was produced and disseminated is, my friends, an utter disgrace. It tars a great many patriotic Americans as potential extremist terrorists simply for supporting things that are part of the platform of the Republican Party. Not only is does it unreasonably question the patriotism and loyalty of a good 40-50% of the American public, it also is precisely the sort of thing that will stoke the fears not just of the small fringe of extremists, but of a great many mainstream conservatives. As head of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano is responsible for the production and dissemination of this garbage. If she does not have the decency to resign in disgrace, Obama needs to fire her to retain any credibility whatsoever with conservatives in America.





|| Greg, 06:00 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Guess I Don’t See The Problem

AllahPundit shares the following at HotAir.

“A Catholic German bishop has come under fire for his remarks condemning atheists. In a sermon given on Easter Sunday, the bishop of Augsburg, Walter Mixa, warned of rising atheism in Germany. ‘Wherever God is denied or fought against, there people and their dignity will soon be denied and held in disregard,’ he said in the sermon. He also said that ‘a society without God is hell on earth’ and quoted the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky: ‘If God does not exist, everything is permitted.’

Most controversially, he linked the Nazi and Communist crimes to atheism. ‘In the last century, the godless regimes of Nazism and Communism, with their penal camps, their secret police and their mass murder, proved in a terrible way the inhumanity of atheism in practice.’ Christians and the Church were always the subject of ’special persecution’ under these systems, he said.”

This strikes me as pretty non-controversial. A bishop objecting to non-belief? And daring to note that there really is no objective morality absent the recognition of the existence of God? And as for daring to point out that it was the atheistic regimes of left-wing ideologies like Communism and Nazism that proved the essential bankruptcy of state-sponsored rejection of Godly values – the truth is in the numbers. I suppose the controversy is not over whether or not Bishop Mixa is right or wrong, but rather over his having had the audacity to speak the truth to a world that does not wish to hear it.





|| Greg, 05:58 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dirty Like Daddy

Like father, like son – it now appears that Rep Jesse Jackson, Jr. will be shown to be every bit as lacking in ethics as his father. After all, he was prepared to shake folks down to the tune of between $1.5 and $5 million in contributions to Rod Blagojevich in order to get Obama’s Senate seat.

Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr. went to see the Illinois governor in December to press for an appointment to the United States Senate seat being vacated by Barack Obama. Mr. Jackson took along a black binder filled with letters of support, poll numbers and lists of his accomplishments over 13 years in Congress.

* * *

The Chicago Tribune reported Friday that the United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who is known for the energy and sweep of his investigations, had subpoenaed several people who had helped Mr. Nayak set up the fund-raiser to benefit Mr. Blagojevich. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on Monday that Mr. Blagojevich’s people had been told that Mr. Jackson would raise up to $5 million in campaign cash for Mr. Blagojevich.

Interestingly enough, he was hitting up his daddy’s donors to get the cash. I wonder if they will contribute to Junior’s legal defense fund instead.





|| Greg, 05:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Prager Nails It On Congressional Segregation Caucuses

I’ve argued this point for some time now, and I’m glad to see a prominent voice speak in agreement with my point.

There was never a good reason for any members of Congress to create a group whose sole criterion for membership was race (or ethnicity in the case of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus). The CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) is so color-based that even congressmen representing majority-black districts who are not themselves black (such as Rep. Stephen Cohen, D-Tenn.), who applied for membership) are not allowed to be members. Such a group, if it existed anywhere else in America, would properly be declared racist and would be either legally or morally forced to shut down.

Imagine the likely hubbub over the creation of a Congressional White Caucus if you have any doubt as to how wrong the existence of such groups really is.

It is just too bad that it took the CBC’s kowtowing to Castro to get people to look at the essential wrongness of the group’s existence.





|| Greg, 05:56 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Afghan Love Story

Boy meets girl.

Boy and girl fall in love.

Boy and girl elope when her family objects.

Boy and girl kidnapped by mob sent by girl’s family.

Boy and girl executed by firing squad.

Gotta love those Taliban family values.





|| Greg, 05:54 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 13, 2009

Captain Rescued – Kossacks Claim He Is At Fault, Not A Victim

First, let me express my pride in the Navy SEALs who rescued Captain Richard Phillips from pirates off Somalia. I’ll even salute Barack Obama for ensuring that the rules of engagement allowed for taking out the pirates as needed – though I believe a better course of action would have been to order the use of force sooner. And as Somali pirates threaten to use deadly force against Americans in response, I think it would be proper for Obama to state that it is US policy to kill any pirate involved in attacks on American vessels or crewmen – and to act now to cripple or destroy the various pirate bands in the region.

There are, however, some folks who are simply not happy with this American success – other than the pirates, of course. They inhabit that dark realm known as Daily Kos, where this was posted.

Captain Phillips of the Maersk Alabama recklessly put himself, the crew, and the Navy Seals at unnecessary risk.

The pirates' modus operandi is that they hold the crew, ship, and cargo harmlessly until a lot of money is paid to them. Phillips "heroic" actions put his crew and himself at risk. If he'd done nothing except acquiesce to the pirates' demands, there would have been no risk, just possible discomfort until the extortion money was paid. Instead he put himself and the Seals at grave risk.

I applaud the crew, the Seals, and the military chain of command for their actions. I think Phillips was in error--if not a grandstander, then greatly misguided. Does anyone know what Maersk's orders to Phillips and the other Maersk masters are in a piracy matter? Probably to do nothing to incite trouble and to notify the shipowner and the U.S. Navy. The captain works for the shipowner and must follow those orders. The master who fails to follow the shipowner's orders is guilty of the crime of barratry if a financial injury to the shipowner results.

The actual result is that Maersk, the shipowner, saved a lot of money that would have been lost with the ship inactive and off charter while it sat idle in a pirate port. Is this worth the deadly risk to the crew and the Seals? Not to me.

Sort of like complaining that a rape victim didn’t just lie back and enjoy it, don’t you think?

Now to their credit, some folks did condemn this diarist. But some did so on the basis that the words above make Daily Kos look bad, not because they are wrong. And still others agreed with the diarist whole-heartedly.

And lest you think that I am attacking that site unnecessarily, please remember that its founder once responded to the murder and mutilation of Americans by terrorists in Iraq with the words “Fuck ‘em.” As such, it is hard to argue that support for those who terrorize or kill Americans is an isolated thing on the site.





|| Greg, 09:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Next Up For Decriminalizing Consensual Sexual Relations Between Adults?

How many European nations does it take before the Supreme Court declares it an international trend and finds such conduct protected by the US Constitution?

Three European Union nations — France, Spain and Portugal — do not prosecute consenting adults for incest, and Romania is considering following suit.

* * *

Laws exempting parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters from prosecution for incestuous acts if they are not forced upon adult family members are decades old in France, Spain and Portugal.

In Romania, decriminalizing incest among consenting adults is being considered as part of a wide range of reforms to the country’s criminal code. No date has been set yet for a parliament vote on the bill, and opposition to the proposal is fervent even among some lawmakers in the ruling coalition.

The reliance upon foreign courts and foreign law by the justices of the Supreme Court has become more common in recent years. And after Lawrence v. Texas and its expansive interpretation of the right to privacy to forbid consensual sexual relations between consenting adults, it would be quite easy to argue that there is a substantive basis for such a ban. After all, Justice Kennedy wrote the following in the majority opinion.

"When sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring. The liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual persons the right to make this choice."

The logic would be equally as compelling in the case of an adult couple engaged in an incestuous relationship – and given that mere societal disapproval has been held to be insufficient to allow for laws against homosexual sodomy to be upheld, how can similar laws regarding adult incest stand up to constitutional scrutiny? And lest some argue that there is the increased chance of genetic problems in the offspring of such relationships, given that the increase is relatively small is that really a sufficient basis for such a prohibition?

Now please realize that I am not making an argument for incest – I’m not. Rather, I am arguing that the current case law relating to adult sexual expression is such that I don’t see how a law against it can stand – and that this is but one potential unforeseen consequence of an expansive decision that invalidated on constitutional grounds a law that justices saw as unwise, and the tendency to use foreign law as a matrix for interpreting our own constitution.

H/T Secular Right





|| Greg, 08:49 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Obama Welcome By Troops In Iraq Staged?

I certainly hope not – but that report is out there. I wonder if it will be looked at by the press?

We were pre-screened, asked by officials “Who voted for Obama?”, and then those who raised their hands were shuffled to the front of the receiving line. They even handed out digital cameras and asked them to hold them up.

Questions that need to be asked by our nation’s media:

1) Did this happen as reported by this senior enlisted man on site?
2) Who ordered that this be done if it did actually happen?
3) What action will be taken to stop the politicization of our military in the future?

One would hope that our nation’s military would always receive the commander-in-chief politely and respectfully. But if the White House (or DoD) is engaging in this sort of screening to make it appear that the president (and his Iraq policy) is more popular among the troops than he actually is, I’m deeply disturbed.





|| Greg, 07:47 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

SCOTUS To Keep Hands Off Gay Marriage Issue?

I find this bit of analysis to be rather intriguing – and a sign that current justices have learned from the over-reaching of an earlier era.

In other contexts, this sort of turmoil might amount to an invitation for the United States Supreme Court to step in. But there are all sorts of reasons the court is likely to keep its distance, and a central one is the endlessly debated 1973 decision that identified a constitutional right to abortion. “The concern about creating another Roe v. Wade looms large,” said Nathaniel Persily, who teaches law and political science at Columbia. “At least five members of this court, if not more, would probably be reluctant to weigh in on this controversy, especially given the progress that is being made in state legislatures, state courts and public opinion.”

Let’s be really honest here – in 1973, there was already movement towards legalizing abortion in many states. Indeed, Ronald Reagan had signed legislation allowing it, though he later came to regret his decision. But the issue was being handled as the Framers would have hoped – on the state level, by the people and their elected representatives.

Unfortunately, I suspect that there will be a need to settle this question on the national level. Once an abortion is performed, it is done. A marriage, on the other hand, might well be described as a movable feast. Indeed, I was an Illinoisan who was married in Pennsylvania and later moved to Texas – and every state in the union would most certainly recognize my marriage as valid. The same is not true of marriages between individuals of the same sex, and that does ultimately raise a question under Article IV. Does the federal Defense of Marriage Act shield states from recognizing these marriages? Or does the requirement of “full faith and credit” mean that states must recognize marriages that would be forbidden under their own laws? The federalism issue here is one that must ultimately be resolved in the federal courts – or by a constitutional amendment.





|| Greg, 06:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Where’s The News Coverage?

Imagine for a moment that one of the brothers of George W. Bush were accused of the attempted sexual assault of a teenager. Wouldn’t that have been the basis for some embarrassing headlines and close scrutiny of the family? Good grief – the Bush girls drinking while underage (a pretty minor offense, common among college students) was the source of a major brouhaha early in their father’s presidency.

So why was the underlying story missed by the press last year at the time of the election? And why is the US media not giving it major coverage?

BARACK OBAMA’s half-brother has been refused entry to Britain after reportedly being accused of an attempted sex attack on a 13-year-old girl on his last visit. Samson Obama, who runs a mobile phone shop in Nairobi in Kenya, was on his way to the president’s inauguration in January when he tried to stop over in Britain to visit relatives. But he was turned away by immigration officers who declined to issue a visa on the grounds of deception.

Is this a case of sloppy reporting? Or is it a case of double standards at work – of trying not to embarrass Obama or not caring about incidents involving Democrats? And especially given other issues involving this particular Obama, will the press dig a little bit deeper into his life, his ideology, and his relationship with his half-brother?

And then there is the fact that he was traveling on forged travel documents. Why didn’t OUR border security people pick that up? Or is there a special policy waiving normal border checks for members of the Obama family?





|| Greg, 05:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Interesting Development

Some argue that it the sign of an impending hit piece. I see this as potentially something less.

Earwigs report that New York Times reporter Bill Yardley was in Juneau this past week. He's said to be working on a story about how Sarah's governance has changed since the VP race.

Seems to me that we will all find out in the end, and that it could be a reasonable article about how the experience of running for VP has changed the formerly obscure governor. But it does strike me as a good thing that while the media is keeping an eye on government officials, there are those who are keeping an eye on the media.





|| Greg, 04:43 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

And Why Should They Support Him?

Yes, NY Governor David Paterson is black. So what? Does that mean he ought to have the automatic support of African-Americans in New York?

In a sign of just how far Mr. Paterson’s fortunes have fallen, the governor now faces growing doubts from a group that has been among his most loyal: black elected officials, clergy members and voters.

It is a remarkable turnaround for a man whose ascension to the governor’s office just over a year ago set off a swell of pride and joy in black communities. Mr. Paterson became New York’s first black governor and, along with Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, is one of only two in the country.

Now set aside the question of the tendency of blacks to support Democrats, and issues of racial pride. Why does Paterson deserve the support of black elected officials, clergy, and voters? What has he done to earn that support other than take office after the fall of his predecessor in a sex scandal? Has he done anything to significantly improve the lives of African-Americans in the state – or of New Yorkers in general, which should be the more important criteria? Shouldn’t competence and accomplishment be the basis for support rather than skin color and heritage?





|| Greg, 03:41 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Distance Learning

Some years ago, I began teaching adult students in a college degree program. My students were seeking credentials in a particular specialty field that required at least an associate's degree. But the reality is that many of them had families and jobs that made completing the program difficult, though most were successful. And then, a couple of years back, we decided to change our model so that students need not ravel to our location multiple evenings a week. We adopted a distance learning approach to education.

Distance learning offers coursework through internet communication rather than in a classroom setting. Frankly, I've been pleased with the results of the new format, as my students have done better work. Distance learning also has a lot of advantages in terms of time and scheduling for students.

If you are interested in distance learning, you will enroll in an online school and do your work over the internet. And while there is not personal interaction between the teacher and the student, there is feedback and a peer group in most programs. You essentially enroll in one of many online colleges to earn your degree.

Does this sound interesting to you? Do you want to learn about onlineschools now? Well then take the opportunity to learn more -- it may open up whole new horizons for you.





|| Greg, 03:25 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

It Is A Cyclical Thing, People!

Global warming – and global cooling – that is. And even a cursory look at the historical record shows it.

Make no mistake -- the earth has warmed. Unfortunately for the climate-change catastrophists, warming periods have occurred throughout recorded history, long before the Industrial Revolution and SUVs began spitting man-made carbon into the atmosphere. And as might be expected, these warm periods have invariably proven a blessing for humanity. Consider:

Around the 3rd century B.C., the planet emerged from a long cold spell. The warm period which followed lasted about 700 years, and since it coincided with the rise of Pax Romana, it is known as the Roman Warming.

In the 5th century A.D., the earth's climate became cooler. Cold and drought pushed the tribes of northern Europe south against the Roman frontier. Rome was sacked, and the Dark Ages commenced. And it was a dark age, both metaphorically and literally -- the sun's light dimmed and gave little warmth; harvest seasons grew shorter and yielded less. Life expectancy and literacy plummeted. The plague appeared and decimated whole populations.

Then, inexplicably, about 900 A.D. things began to warm. This warming trend would last almost 400 years, a well documented era known as the Medieval Warm Period. Once again, as temperatures rose harvests and populations grew. Vineyards made their way into Northern Europe, including Britain. Art and science flourished in what we now know as the Renaissance.

Then around 1300 A.D. things cooled drastically. This cold spell would last almost 500 years, a severe climate event known as the Little Ice Age. Millions died in famine as glaciers advanced all over the world. The plague returned. In Greenland, the Norse colony that had been established during the Medieval Warming froze and starved. Arctic pack ice descended south, pushing Inuit peoples to the shores of Scotland. People ice skated on the Thames; they walked from Staten Island to Manhattan over a frozen New York Harbor. The year 1816 was remembered as the year without a summer, with some portions of the Northern Hemisphere seeing snowfall in June.

But around 1850 the planet began to warm up yet again. Glaciers retreated. Temperatures rose. This is the warming period which we are still enjoying today. And once again, the warmth brought bounty: The last 150 years have seen an explosion in life expectancy, population, and scientific progress like never before.

Of course, even before the appearance of humans, the earth alternated throughout its history between extremes of heat and cold: 700 million years ago the planet was covered entirely in ice; 55 million years ago, a swampy greenhouse.

Is this to argue that we should ignore the environment and continue to pollute the earth? Hardly – there are plenty of good reasons to cut back on pollution and otherwise protect the environment. Burning oil and coal have detrimental effects on the environment and should be reduced. But to argue that humanity is responsible for any recent warming trend (and there is plenty of evidence that there isn’t such a trend or that it has ended) is absurd and alarmist – and frankly discredits the notion that we should make an effort to keep the earth clean for the health of the planet.





|| Greg, 02:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Buried By Debt?

Today there are too many people carrying around too much debt. Indeed, that is one aspect of the current credit crunch. For some folks it has come to pass that making all those separate payments can really become a hassle. They need help to get out of their debt mess.

That is why various debt consolidation and relief programs are worth considering. Getting a loan is one thing, but it is also beneficial to work with professionals who can provide you with various strategies for paying off that debt. Such programs to
consolidate debt
can help you preserve your credit rating while getting out of debt much more quickly.

Of course not every person is in exactly the same place financially when they need to deal with this issue. What is right for one may not be right for another. That is why it is important that you find the best debt consolidation for you before deciding on a solution. You might therefore consider looking at the information available to you at mydebtconsolidationadvice.com in order to seek some guidance on what the best option is for you. After all, what do you have to lose except for that mountain of debt?





|| Greg, 02:12 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Unions Support For Card Check A Bad Investment

So says Michael Barone, in regard to the tens of millions of dollars in union dues spent by union leaders to push for what amounts to coerced unionization.

The unions are blaming this on selfish big business. The real problem is that it's hard to defend a law that effectively abolishes the secret ballot. When nobody's looking and it's not for real, politicians may vote that way. But not when it's for keeps. Moreover, as General Motors and Chrysler spiral toward bankruptcy, it's not apparent that adversarial unionism is healthy for the economy. It's not clear that imposing federal arbitration on the private sector is a recipe for economic growth. Certainly it's not a recipe for innovation or flexibility at a time when businesses need them more than ever.

Union sympathizers are now talking about fallback positions. But it's not clear that a bill with minor changes that does not effectively abolish the secret ballot and impose federal arbitration will produce the vast increase in unionization that union leaders seek. There's not much polling showing that vast numbers of private sector workers yearn for union representation.

Let’s boil it down to its essence – the card check process, when brought to the attention of the American public, was pretty hard to defend. After all, when your fall-back argument is that the secret ballot isn’t really necessary in a free society, you are not going to get much sympathy in this country. And with the massive expenditure of dues as a part of the union effort to eliminate the secret ballot being available as an example of how unions spend the dues of their members, I can’t imagine that there will be a change in interest in unionization any time soon.





|| Greg, 01:36 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Computer Based Training

One of the many ways that the advent of the computer age has brought about is the ability to learn online. One of the fastest growing ways of increasing one's knowledge and skills is through the use of computer based training videos by workers and students. In particular, there are great enterprise cbt training programs available for those seeking to learn new computer skills. And one place to find them is at self studysource.com. There you will find a range computer training videos that will help you to get and stay ahead in today’s competitive job market. The available cbt videos include all major IT certification tracks. What are some of the possibilities available to you? Well consider these options:

Linux+: This self-study CBT program contains interactive components, demonstrations, labs, and practice exam simulators to improve your skills and success.

Network+: An excellent package for those seeking Network certification that follows the exam objectives to enhance your success.

And these are only two of the programs available to you. There is also a range of network security training videos, Microsoft Office training videos and Cisco CBT Training Videos available, too.

In the ever-changing world of technology, you have to keep up to stay ahead. So here's your chance -- take it.





|| Greg, 01:01 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Maybe I’m Heartless

But I can’t help but think we should see more of this in the United States.

The clicking of dozens of news cameras drowned out the sobs of the 13-year-old girl, but her face explained what was happening in the departure hall of Japan's Narita International Airport.

Noriko Calderon, wearing her school uniform, was being forced to make one of the most wrenching choices of her young life: To stay in the country of her birth rather than join her parents being deported to the Philippines.

The scene was the emotional climax to a story a decade and a half in the making -- one that has tugged at heartstrings in Japan, but ultimately failed to sway unyielding bureaucracy.

The problem, of course, is one that we face on a much grander scale in this country – illegal alien parents with a child (or children) who are citizens. How does a country deal with such situations, when enforcing the law means splitting children and parents – or when keeping a family together requires rewarding the illegal conduct of parents?

We don’t, of course, have any problem splitting up parents and kids when mom or dad (or even mom and dad) gets shipped off to jail for an extended period of time. We acknowledge that it is but one more sad consequence of a parent’s decision to violate the law. I frankly see no reason to treat immigration law any differently – exactly the decision that the Japanese government has made in this case. Rather than blame the government, why can’t we put the blame on the shoulders of the ones whose initial decision to violate the law is truly the cause of the problem? And if we are going to reward with legal status every set of parents who manage to get an anchor baby, then how can we be said to really have control of our nation’s borders?

Does my heart break for young Noriko Calderon? Yes it does – just as it would break for every youngster faced with the same decision if we truly enforced our nation’s immigration laws. But while I sympathize with the child, my anger is directed against the adults who created the situation rather than the government that is merely enforcing reasonable laws.





|| Greg, 12:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Looking For New Glasses?

I won't beat around the bush -- I'm nearsighted. And I'm not talking about "let me just squint and I'll be fine" near-sighted. I mean really near-sighted. Nearsighted enough that I've with students that without my glasses that I not only could not tell them apart, but I would probably be unable to divide the girls from boys at a distance of more than ten feet. And if I got much beyond that, I would be unable to distinguish the ethnicity of the individuals in question -- they would just be a big blur. Yeah, that near-sighted.

This past year I needed to get bifocal. And since I choose eyeglasses over contact lenses (and have since my brief flirtation with them during high school and college), I need a pretty thick lens unless I get some that use special materials to make them thinner. But those cost more down at your local optical shop or mass-market eyeglass retailer, so it is important to find yourself a bargain if you can. And if you shop online, it is now possible to find a Wide Selection of Eyeglasses and those special lenses at bargain prices. That can mean spectacular savings on that new pair of glasses.





|| Greg, 12:25 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 11, 2009

Quote Of The Day

Ther eis just something about political commentary from the British press. They don't hold back the way our commentators do. That is how you get a gem like this.

President Barack Obama has recently completed the most successful foreign policy tour since Napoleon's retreat from Moscow.

The rest of Gerald Warner's column is equally as withering. I won't excerpt more because I'd have to leave out too much of his brilliant writing.





|| Greg, 08:03 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Anger Over The Wrong Thing

Imagine this situation.

Your wife has brutally tortured a two-year-old family member to death.

You respond in outrage to the press.

Not because your wife is a psycho killer.

Because the cops dared take her mug shot without her hijab and then released it to the press.

The police booking photo of alleged child killer Nour Hadid released Tuesday is an "insult against our religion," says Hadid's husband, Alaeddin.

The Hadids are Muslims and Nour "never leaves the home without covering up," said Alaeddin, who's vowed to sue.

By custom, some practicing Muslim women wear the hijab, or headscarf, and cover their arms and legs when in public.

In the mug shot, a bare-headed and obviously emotional Nour appears to be protecting her modesty with her hands.

"It is against our religion; we do not do this in our culture," Alaeddin said.

Dude, get your priorities in order and direct your outrage where it belongs. You know, towards your wife -- or is it not against your religion and culture to torture toddlers to death?





|| Greg, 07:54 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Lege Considering Campus Carry Bill, Chron Says "No"

It seems really obvious to me -- if the state allows someone a license to carry a concealed handgun, no state agency should be permitted to turn around and declare that concealed carry is not permitted unless there is an overriding public safety/order basis for it. Courthouses are a legitimate exception, but college campuses are not. The Texas legislature is considering precisely that issue.

Legislation allowing state university students and employees to carry their concealed handguns on campus appears to have enough pledged support from lawmakers to pass the full Texas House.

The bill would prohibit public universities across Texas from creating rules that forbid concealed handgun license holders from carrying their pistols into a classroom, but it would allow private institutions to exempt themselves.

Chances for passage in the House — if it gets there — look strong, as 76 members have signed on to support the bill, authored by Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland.

The House Public Safety Committee already has signed off on the measure. Now, it needs to get scheduled for debate in the full House.

Of course we know from empirical evidence that those with a CCL are the least likely to misuse a handgun, so the argument for banning guns on campus is a crock. Besides, we've already seen how well those bans have performed in preventing mass murder on campus, haven't we?

The Houston Chronicle, though, offers its usual anti-gun take on the matter.

But the most troubling, irresponsible one of all is a bill to allow concealed weapons on college campuses. Authored by Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland, it seems to have enough support to pass the House. In the Senate, 13 of the 31 members have promised their support for an identical bill authored by Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio.

It’s a horrifying thought. It is our fervent hope that cooler heads in the Senate will prevail and block its passage. Students have enough on their plates without having to worry that horsing around, drinking or otherwise acting like a college student could result in an unintended tragedy.

Of course, that this has not happened away from campus is simply discounted -- but the paper offers the following as compelling evidence that college students should not be permitted to possess the means to defend themselves from crime while on campus.

There are excellent reasons why all major car rental agencies require that a driver be at least 25, or pay a hefty premium if younger. Psychologists are well aware that the ability to foresee the consequences of one’s behavior is still developing long past adolescence.

Which, of course, explains why younger voters supported Obama in record numbers. So maybe there is a good argument there for restricting the right to vote, like the right to keep and bear arms, to those over 25. Heck, we can do away with all the protections of the Bill of Rights until the kids are 25 -- along with the right to marry, drive, own real property...

Unless, of course, one believes that adults should have the full rights of adulthood, even if they are college students. And that includes the right to keep and bear arms that is protected by both the US and Texas constitutions.





|| Greg, 07:37 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

China's Democraphic Nightmare

Interestingly enough, I was discussing this issue with my ninth graders just this week as part of our unit on China.

A bias in favor of male offspring has left China with 32 million more boys under the age of 20 than girls, creating “an imminent generation of excess men,” a study released Friday said.

For the next 20 years, China will have increasingly more men than women of reproductive age, according to the paper, which was published online by the British Medical Journal. “Nothing can be done now to prevent this,” the researchers said.

Chinese government planners have long known that the urge of couples to have sons was skewing the gender balance of the population. But the study, by two Chinese university professors and a London researcher, provides some of the first hard data on the extent of the disparity and the factors contributing to it.

In 2005 , they found, births of boys in China exceeded births of girls by more than 1.1 million. There were 120 boys born for every 100 girls.

I tried to get my students to consider the demographic implications of this development. Being fifteen, their immediate question was "does that mean a bunch of guys are going to have to turn gay?" But after giving the matter some more serious consideration, they actually drew some of the same conclusions that are noted in the study that prompted this article -- that the nation's one child policy and the traditional Chinese preference for boys were the cause. They also raised the issue of possible increases in crime and the availability of "excess young men" for military service as possible ramifications of the trend. Smart kids -- but scary numbers.





|| Greg, 07:22 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Grasping At Straws To Bash The GOP

One local blogger offers up the following indictment of the GOP.

So Karl Rove keeps files of his enemies' off-party-line talking points and Rep. Spencer Bachus as a list of Socialist members of Congress (there are apparently 17).

Seems to me that he is grasping at straws.

Let's see -- Rove keeps files of quotes as a part of his opposition research. Horrors! At least he doesn't have the contents of 900 illegally obtained FBI files like the Clintons did.

And as for 17 socialists in Congress -- we have one, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is one openly. We have others associated with openly socialist groups. Their activity isn't illegal, nor does Bachus seek to treat it as such. So what is the problem?





|| Greg, 07:11 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NY Times Pushes "Auto Fraud-o" Enforcement

Yeah, once again raising the specter of voter disenfranchisement, the NY Times has run an editorial urging the that the federal government more strictly enforce the "Motor Voter" law.

States started out with some enthusiasm, but in recent years compliance has fallen sharply. Project Vote and Demos, public-interest groups that work for voting rights, studied the implementation of the motor voter law nationally from 1995 to 2007. In a 2005 study of 103 people leaving a Department of Jobs and Family Services office in Ohio, only three reported being given voter registration forms. Surveys conducted outside of public assistance offices in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maryland and other states found similar problems.

Not surprisingly, the motor voter law is proving to be far less effective in registering voters than it should be. According to the report by Project Vote and Demos, the number of people registering from public assistance agencies fell 79 percent between 1995 and 1996 — the first years for which data were collected — and 2005 and 2006, the most recent reporting period.

You see, for the liberal editors of the Gray Lady (it would be more accurate to call it the Pink Lady, given the paper's socialist tilt), the real purpose of the law is to push voter registration forms into the hands of public aid recipients -- the most likely to vote Democrat -- rather than the general public. Merely having the forms available at the office -- sitting on the counter -- isn't enough. the paper wants them actively given to each applicant.

Now here's the problem with the law, one I've mentioned before and which explains why I prefer to call it the "Auto Fraud-o" Law. The legislation makes it virtually impossible to reject a registration form, and difficult to detect voter fraud. For example, when I lived in Illinois when I got married, but the wedding was in my wife's home town in Pennsylvania. I had just presented my Illinois driver's license and given my Illinois address to the clerk in the office that issued our wedding license when she turned to me and asked, pursuant to the law in question, whether I would like to register to vote. Flabbergasted, I pointed out that I was not a Pennsylvania resident. In response, she told me that I could use my mother-in-law's address and there would be no problem with me voting absentee -- that the law made it illegal for her to refuse my registration if I gave that other address. Given that I believe in the principle of "one person, one vote", I chose not to engage in election fraud. But the thing is, the law would have facilitated, not prevented, my doing so if I wanted to. So rather than supporting more enforcement of the law, I'd urge its repeal.





|| Greg, 07:03 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Cirque Las Vegas

I'm up on the tightrope , one sides hate and one is hope
It's a circus game with you and me.
I'm up on the tightwire , linked by life and the funeral pyre
But the top hat on my head is all you see.

I always loved that song when I was a kid, but was really too young to realize that Leon Russell wasn't really singing about the circus. And I was fascinated by all things circus when I was a kid -- not just the clowns or the animals, but especially the "death defying acrobatics" of the folks on the tightrope and trapeze. To be honest, I wanted to become one of those performers -- but as a pudgy, uncoordinated kid, it soon became obvious that I just lacked the physical skills and body type that would make me a success in that sort of endeavor.

But as an adult, I still have a fascination with the circus, and an appreciation of the real art that goes into the circus performance. Age and maturity have made me realize that there is something more to what is going on than just the "death defying feats" that the ring master used to tell us about.

I'm not alone in this -- in recent years the entire phenomenon of Cirque du Soleil has taken off in this country and around the world, with an entirely different spin on the acrobatic wonders that thrilled us as children. And maybe that is why Cirque Las Vegas shows are so incredibly popular, with their tickets always in demand.
What makes Cirque performances so intriguing? Well, these performances are beautifully choreographed stories set to music, and they are told through the movement of the performers. It is the taking of the art of storytelling to a whole new level through the physical agility of the performers.

Of course, you do have a problem when in Vegas -- you have to decide which of the amazing Cirque shows you want to see. Personally, I would like to see Love, which is built around the music of the Fab Four's Magical Mystery Tour. But that isn't your only choice -- there are also KA, Mystere, LOVE, O, and Zumanity to choose from, each with their own special appeal. Pick one and enjoy the experience.





|| Greg, 06:29 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

Well, the results are in on this week's Watcher's Council vote. There were some fine pieces submitted, and a couple of fine winners chosen.

Council Submissions



Non-Council Submissions


|| Greg, 06:14 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Well, I Partially Agree

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan does have a point with this suggestion from his speech in Denver.

American schoolchildren need to be in class more — six days a week, at least 11 months a year — if they are to compete with students abroad, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Tuesday.

"Go ahead and boo me," Duncan told about 400 middle and high school students at a public school in northeast Denver. "I fundamentally think that our school day is too short, our school week is too short and our school year is too short."

"You're competing for jobs with kids from India and China. I think schools should be open six, seven days a week; eleven, twelve months a year," he said.

Personally, I agree with the school year running a bit longer. The loss of knowledge that occurs over the summer is staggering, and so having the extra time to reinforce what we teach – and more time to cover the material -- would be great. After all, does the summer break really serve a purpose any longer? But I don’t know about six or seven day school weeks – after all, if the 5-day, 40-hour work week is the American standard, I don’t see it as being appropriate for us to impose something longer on our students (or our teachers, for that matter).

There is, of course, the practical issue that would have to be dealt with – if we are going to increase the school year by 20-25%, are the taxpayers ready to foot the bill for a 20-25% increase in teacher pay to go with that? Are they prepared to foot the bill for extra expenses for transportation, and for cooling school buildings (not the greenest buildings in your town) during the summer? Just something to consider while we talk about the idea.





|| Greg, 05:01 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Personalized Graduation Announcements

As a high school teacher, I am well aware that graduation is coming very soon for our school's seniors. That is always an exciting time around school, as kids I've had the chance to watch mature over the years become responsible (we all hope) adults who are going on to advanced education, a new job, the military, or some other new adventure. Over the years we have held ours in such venues as the Compaq Center, Toyota Center, and Reliant Stadium (where we will have ours this year).

Of course, when graduation rolls around it is important that you let everyone know that you are going to graduate. After all, it is a big event -- especially with my kids, many of whom come from immigrant families in which they are part of the first generation to graduate from high school. For many of my students, that means sending out invitations and announcements that are something more than the generic variety sold at school by the company our district does business with. Some want them personalized. Others want them in a different language. Still others want to reflect their cultural heritage more fully. And that is where personalized graduation invitations enter into the picture.

What sorts of things do I see on these invitations sent out by my students? Well, many of them like to include pictures of themselves on the invitations, along with their names and the date of their graduation. After all, this is the big day for them. Then they will include a much more flowery text -- sometimes including a verse from scripture -- to announce the date, time, and location of graduation. And yes, these announcements are often either bilingual, so that they can be read by friends and family both in this country and back in the land of their (or their parents) birth. The results are often guide beautiful and moving, because they represent who these students really are in a way that the generic invitations offered by the school do not.





|| Greg, 04:21 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 10, 2009

Will This Be My Next Car?

Well, it will if my pet has anything to say about it.

Dog-crazy Americans will soon be able to buy a pet-friendly car with a cushioned dog bed in the trunk, fitted with a built-in water bowl and fan and a ramp to help less agile dogs climb in.

With the help of a rescue dog named Sammy, Japanese car maker Honda Motor Co unveiled the pet friendly version of its Element utility vehicle at the New York Auto Show.

It features easy-wash seat covers, a fitted dog bed with restraints to keep Sammy safe in the event of a crash, and a paw logo on the side. Honda said the car would go on sale across the United States from the fall of this year.

Honda spokesman Sage Marie said it was designed with both safety and comfort in mind. "(It's) a car we think is of interest to many of today's dog-crazy consumers," he said.

Now here’s my question – will Honda consider adding these features to something other than an SUV? After all, many of us do seek smaller, more fuel efficient cars for a variety of reasons.





|| Greg, 08:06 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Like We Really Need This

Good grief – Ted Stevens will be 90-years-old in 2014. Returning him to office would make no sense, especially since he is ethically challenged even if he is not a criminal. Besides, the explanation for this filing shows precisely why we in the GOP need to reject him completely.

Former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska has filed a statement of candidacy for the 2014 election, but an aide cautions against reading too much into the move.

Campaign treasurer Tim McKeever says the filing does not mean Stevens has decided to seek re-election. He says it simply was done to accept donations that came into the campaign after the November election.

In other words, it is all about the money. And with that said, I’d like to urge that every conservative and Republican direct their dollars and their votes to more worthy recipients.





|| Greg, 05:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 09, 2009

How To Deal With Pirates?

We’ve all sat by and watched as the drama of the Maersk Alabama unfold off Somalia. It is hard not to applaud the American crew as they have fought off the sea-jihadis who would hold them and their vessel for ransom – or be saddened by the distinctly weak approach of the Obama Regime to piracy on the high seas.

A U.S. Navy destroyer kept close watch Thursday on a lifeboat holding four Somali pirates and their hostage — an American ship captain — one day after the pirates briefly seized a United States-flagged cargo ship off the coast of Africa.

As Washington awoke to a second day of the crisis, the Navy summoned the FBI for advice on how to rescue the hostage, Capt. Richard Phillips, of Underhill, Vermont.

An FBI spokeswoman, Denise Ballew, described the bureau’s crisis negotiators as “fully engaged” with the military in strategizing ways to retrieve the ship’s captain and secure the unarmed container ship, the Maersk Alabama, and its American crew.

Monitoring the situation? Heck, there is certainly a better way to proceed here – rather than negotiate, go straight in and fight. Give these sea-jihadis an ultimatum to surrender and then swoop in with a rescue. What’s more, American warplanes should have already bombed out of existence any identified sea-jihadi outpost in the region. An American president with any strength of character, one who believed in the ability and the right of America to secure its interests around the globe, would have already acted to put an end to this farce.

Indeed, there exists a lesson from our nation’s history on precisely how piracy by sea-jihadis demanding ransom for American citizens ought to be handled. The president who ordered these actions was among our greatest, Thomas Jefferson.

On the night of February 16, 1804, Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, Jr. led a small contingent of the U.S.'s first Marines in the captured Tripolitan ketch rechristened USS Intrepid, to deceive the guards on board the Philadelphia and float close enough to board the captured ship. Decatur's men stormed the vessel and overpowered the Tripolitan sailors standing guard. With support from American ships, the Marines set fire to the Philadelphia, denying her use to the enemy, and captured the city. This action was memorialized in a line from the Marines' Hymn — "the shores of Tripoli." Subsequently, the bravery in action of Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, Jr. made him one of the first American military heroes since the Revolutionary War.

[Comodore Edward] Preble attacked Tripoli outright on July 14, 1804 in a series of inconclusive battles, including a courageous but unsuccessful attack by the fire ship USS Intrepid under Captain Richard Somers. Intrepid, packed with explosives, was to enter Tripoli harbor and destroy itself and the enemy fleet; it was destroyed, perhaps by enemy guns, before achieving that goal, killing Somers and his crew.

The turning point in the war came with the Battle of Derna (April-May 1805). Ex-consul William Eaton, who went by the rank of general, and US Marine First Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon led a mixed force of eight United States Marines and 500 Greek, Arab and Berber mercenaries on a remarkable overland march across the desert from Alexandria, Egypt to assault the Tripolitan city of Derna.

In the end, this country fought two separate military actions against the Barbary Pirates, ending their attacks upon American maritime interests. Jefferson, and later Madison, acted in defense of America rather than giving in to the sea-jihadis who seized our vessels and took our citizens as hostages and slaves. Obama, if he is man enough, should take their examples as his own and act decisively against them – not order our fighting men to stand by and observe while negotiations ensue.





|| Greg, 08:30 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

How To Dishonestly Frame The Gay Marriage Debate

The religion blogger at USA Today did exactly that by asking the following question.

Should you be able to vote on who loves whom or how they live together?

Of course, a ban on gay marriage does neither. No government can ban love – and a ban on cohabitation (and even sexual relations) between two adults would fall due to a sting of Supreme Court decisions that include the Lawrence V. Texas sodomy case.

No, the question is whether the institution of marriage, which has been defined in Western society for a couple of millennia as the union of one man and one woman, ought to be redefined to include same sex couples. There are, of course, reasonable public policy arguments to be made either way on the issue – but Cathy Lynn Grossman doesn’t address those in her question which misrepresents the essence of the dispute. Nor does the address why the state ought to be permitted to vote on and regulate relations between minors and adults, siblings, and groups of three or more, denying them legal recognition as marriage. I guess that having done so would not have fit her agenda, any more than an honest presentation of the issue would have.

H/T NewsBusters





|| Greg, 07:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Think About Web Hosts

Every now and then you have to consider whether or not your IP is really the best one for you. After all, things change so quickly on the web that you never know if there might not be a better fit for you – especially if you are a growing concern. Well, if you are in that situation, look no further. Check out the folks at http://www.webhostingchoice.com, they offer you a great guide to help you choose the right web host for your website. The website helps you research things like the monthly cost, setup fee, disk space, and bandwidth so that you can find the right web hosting company for you!





|| Greg, 06:32 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

WaPo Takes Note Of Jawa Report Story On CyberJihad Connection To Houston

But misses the fact that the hosting company in question actually has a much longer history hosting cyberjihadi websites than even Rusty and the boys at Jawa Report noted.

On March 25, a Taliban Web site claiming to be the voice of the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" boasted of a deadly new attack on coalition forces in that country. Four soldiers were killed in an ambush, the site claimed, and the "mujahideen took the weapons and ammunition as booty."

Most remarkable about the message was how it was delivered. The words were the Taliban's, but they were flashed around the globe by an American-owned firm located in a leafy corner of downtown Houston.

The Texas company, a Web-hosting outfit called ThePlanet, says it simply rented cyberspace to the group and had no clue about its Taliban connections. For more than a year, the militant group used the site to rally its followers and keep a running tally of suicide bombings, rocket attacks and raids against U.S. and allied troops. The cost of the service: roughly $70 a month, payable by credit card.

The Taliban's account was pulled last week when a blogger noticed the connection and called attention to it. But the odd pairing of violently anti-American extremists and U.S. technology companies continues elsewhere and appears to be growing. Intelligence officials and private experts cite dozens of instances in which Islamist militants sought out U.S. Internet firms -- known for their reliable service and easy terms that allow virtual anonymity -- and used them to incite attacks on Americans.

Uh, mind if I point something else out? This isn’t the first time that Rusty and the boys have tangled with this company (once my hosting company) – ThePlanet purchased Houston-based EV1 a couple of years ago, and that company had a little cyberjihadi problem, too. That leads me to question what is up over at ThePlanet that they seem to be a host of choice for the enemies of America and the rest of the civilized world.





|| Greg, 05:27 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Neat Baking Accessory

Now here is an idea whose time has come – a cake mould that actually makes pieces of cake in a variety of sizes. What a cool idea! After all, think of your last family gathering where you brought a dessert. Aunt Gertrude wanted just a little piece of cake. On the other hand, Cousin Charlie’s boy Michael wanted an extra-large piece to go with his extra-large teenage appetite. And you know the rest of the family, with their various graduated tastes and quantities. It would have been great to have them already made, frosted, and ready to eat – no need to play games with cutting the individual pieces to size. Instead of having a cake that looks like a victim of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you will instead have beautiful individual servings.

Where can you find such things? Well, you might want to consider this Charles & Marie cake mold that the folks at Stylehive.com have linked from their website. The mold is made of silicon, and helps you whip up 15 different pieces of various sizes. That should be a good start for almost any gathering, whether it is a family get-together or the women’s group at church. So if you like to make beautiful deserts that others love, this might b just right for your kitchen.





|| Greg, 04:24 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Something To Look Forward To

For those of us who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, the Beatles will always have a special place in our hearts. Even if there are other groups that may hold a higher place in our hearts, their music is undeniably a part of the soundtrack of our lives. That is why I find this to be a rather exciting development.

According to Apple Corps, the Beatles’ company, and EMI Music, it will be released, at last, on Sept. 9 — the whole catalogue, more or less, revitalized for the first time since 1987, when it was converted, disastrously, for the CD format. What we’re all hoping to hear is what George Martin and the band heard when the tracks were first mastered, before they were squeezed and contorted to fit the various formats in which they were eventually sold.

Fantastic news for all of us. We have the technology now for all of us to hear what the Beatles meant their music to sound like before it was released on monophonic and primitive stereo LPs – and later converted to eight-track, cassette, and CD. Properly remastered – hopefully with the involvement of the two surviving band members – there is a real possibility of gaining whole new insights into these beloved classics.





|| Greg, 03:21 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Playing World Of Warcraft

I’ll be honest – my computer has become my favorite form of entertainment over the last few years, far outstripping movies and television. And while my activities haven’t gone in that direction extensively, one thing I do enjoy is online gaming.

Some folks need their games to be very much like real life for them to be thrilling and enjoyable. This leads many of them to choose World of Warcraft as their gaming option. After all, the WoW is certainly thrilling, and it does keep you engaged at all times in order to keep your character alive. So much for your real world worries – you will achieve your relaxation by being focused on the gaming world. But to play, you need to buy wow game time, usually from an online source of some sort.

Now what are some of the options for gaming in WoW? Among others, Battle Chest, Lich King, and Burning Crusade are popular. But when you buy Game cards and Key codes, you really need to do so from authorized source with a top-notch reputation for reliability. One such account retailer for WoW accounts, products and services, is found at www.buyMMOaccounts.com. You can get your wrath cd key and buy wow game time there, including a 60 day game card.

Why get your stuff through www.buymmoaccounts.com? Easy – with them you know that you will get your World of Warcraft game cards and Keys in a timely manner, not like some of the resellers who take forever to get you their wares.





|| Greg, 02:18 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Home Depot Reneges On Reward Offer

It is positively shameful when a major corporation publicly offers a high-dollar reward in response to a crime on its property and then attempts to weasel out of paying.

The back story is this – a Home Depot employee was killed last year when he tried to stop the theft of some pallets from the Home Depot store where he worked here in the Houston area. Home Depot eventually offered a $100,000 reward for information that led to the arrest of the perps. That spurred someone to come forward with information. However, now the national chain is refusing to pay the reward it offered, and treating the informant like he is trying to rip off the company despite law enforcement having stated that the informant was the key to solving the case.

After weeks of being bounced around “like a pinball,” he said, he finally reached a vice president’s secretary, who referred him to another official, who referred him to another official. A month later, he was sent back to the first official, Scott Walker, regional asset protection manager.

The informant said Walker operated like a “used-car salesman” and first tried to tell him he wasn’t entitled to any money because he hadn’t gone through Crime Stoppers. (Fort Bend Crime Stoppers had offered a separate reward from Home Depot’s.) A few weeks later, the informant said, Walker told him the most he could get is $5,000. The informant said family urged him to give up. Home Depot had inched up to only $15,000, the informant said, when he got fed up and called an attorney.

LaCroix said the fact that his client was dealing with Walker, whose job includes theft prevention, is proof Home Depot never intended to pay the reward: “They’re processing this through their loss mitigation as if he’s trying to steal something from them.”

Home Depot spokesman Craig Fishel wouldn’t discuss pending litigation but said the company is continuing to seek a resolution.

This past week, Home Depot refused LaCroix’s settlement offer that would have paid his client $65,000, along with $18,000 to Thomas’ widow and $12,000 to charity. That’s pocket change for a corporation ranking No. 22 on the Fortune 500 list.

In other words, the company is trying to get out of paying the reward that they voluntarily offered. Having garnered all the publicity as a corporate good citizen by offering the reward, they’ve tried to make sure that they never have to pay up once the public’s attention is off the case. That is shameful – and makes me very glad that my wife and I chose to go with another major retailer for all of the supplies for our recent home restoration. Even though Home Depot is the nearest hardware store to my home, I’ll make sure I drive the extra few miles to avoid them in the future.





|| Greg, 01:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Blush

Many women spend a great deal of time making themselves look beautiful. There are lots of reasons for this, ranging from pride to vanity to love of another, but in the end the result is hopefully the same – a beautiful natural look. One of the things that so many women use – even those who don’t use much makeup, is a blush that adds a natural highlight to the cheek, giving a healthy glow. But what type of makeup should one choose? Are there some that are better than others, giving a more natural look? Perhaps there are, depending upon who you listen to.

Consider Benefit CORALista blush. It is a bush that has a beautiful coral tint to it, providing a hint of the tropics to one’s face that is at once beautiful, healthy, and natural. That is often the delicate balance you find women trying to achieve with their makeup, so this is exactly the sort of thing that the special woman (or women) in your life might just love. You can find this makeup many places on the internet, but one spot that can help you locate a great deal is StyleHive.com. So click on the link above and find out more about this beauty secret.





|| Greg, 12:28 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 08, 2009

There's Your Bloody Free Speech Zone

A big tip of the hat to Canadian free speech crusader Ezra Levant for bringing to notice this letter to the editor from an American university student at Southern Utah University.

In light of SUU officials plan to designate "Free Speech Zones" on campus, I thought I'd offer my assistance. Grab a map. OK, ready?

All right, you see that big area between Canada and Mexico, surrounded by lots of blue ink on the East and West? You see it?

There's your bloody Free Speech Zone.

Jeffrey Wilbur

Senior communication major from Bountiful

I don't know about you, but young Mr. Wilbur is certainly my kind of American -- and one whose view on the matter of freedom of speech exactly dovetails with my own. Here's hoping that there are many more like him in the rising generation, for if there are then our liberty will be secure.

free speech zone.jpg





|| Greg, 11:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

But Remember -- It's The Right Promoting Violence Against Their Enemies

The current meme from the loony Left in this company is that those of us on the right are encouraging violence and murder with our dissent against the Obama Regime and our questioning of the intentions and policies of Barry Hussein and his merry band of socialists. And certainly any talk of the people rising up against a government that is out of control is presumed to be a call to overthrow the government by violent means -- not, of course, that such a course of action was a bad thing when engaged in by men like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and a host of others we call "Patriots" and "Founding Fathers".

Interestingly enough, those making such claims are the same folks who spent the last eight years heaping abuse upon President George W. Bush and undermining our nation's fight against the jihadi swine who want to destroy our nation. You know, the same people who claimed that their dissent was the highest form of patriotism -- but now label ours as treason.

The hypocrisy of these folks is pretty obvious -- but i somehow doubt that we will live to see the level of hypocrisy reached by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday, April 7.

And in Worsts: Glenn Beck tells viewers to rise up, take the country back, and defend their guns against the ban that is all in his head. So a psychotic shoots three policemen because he fears a gun ban, and Beck sees no connection between these things.

Got that -- Beck, who has repeatedly emphasized that what he is urging people to do is engage in peaceful political activity, is responsible for the deeds of someone who is psychotic. You see, in the world of Keith Olbermann it isn't what conservatives actually say that matters.

So tell me -- if Beck's words constitute incitement to murder, what would you say about this little bit from a past Olbermann show?

2006-06-27-MSNBCCWOLImbaugh[1].jpg

Click the picture and you'll see that it is a "humorous" attempt to play on the use of the word "rush" by a gun enthusiast at a shooting event. Or is it really a coded effort by Olbermann to incite the murder of America's top radio talker? Under the interpretation he puts on Glenn Beck's words, that case can certainly be made. Or would he argue that figurative language is somehow worse than actually depicting the attempted murder of another human being? We know the answer to that one,my friends.

And that, my friends, is but the latest act of Hypocrisy from Keith Olbermann -- the Worst Person In America!





|| Greg, 10:36 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Little Righteous Abuse

Which no doubt some weenie on the left will soon start calling this torture and a violation of international law.

During his captivity, US marines forced Saddam, who was executed in 2006, to repeatedly watch the move South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut, which shows him as gay, as well as the boyfriend of Satan. He was also regularly depicted in a similar manner during the TV series.

I don't think this sort of thing really qualifies as torture -- but if it does, i for one want to shout "Hurrah!" After all, this is the same sick SOB who liked to order women raped in front of family members and ordered REAL torture of political and religious dissidents. That he might have been humiliated by being forced to see himself depicted as the gay love rof Satan seems pretty mild by comparison -- and certainly les than he deserved.





|| Greg, 09:57 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Did Dems Finance Ed Schultz Show?

According to Randi Rhodes, you bet they did.

BRIAN LAMB: Go back to the meeting, how long were you there?

RANDI RHODES: Where?

LAMB: With the Senators?

RHODES: I think they gave me an hour or so. And it was very – we ate lunch, which of course, I didn‘t eat, because I was terrified. But 30 Senators showed up. I was amazed. For me it was like, I kept saying, when I got on the air, I talked about it and I said it was like being at Walt Disney World. Do you ever got to like the good Disney hotels in Disney and you see your favorite characters? Like Mickey comes out and Donald comes out. I go, well I watch C-SPAN, so like these are my characters – these are my TV characters. And it was like, you know, here comes (INAUDIBLE). And you know, let‘s face it a lot of Senators aren't recognized by people.

I was going oh my God, that‘s (INAUDIBLE). Oh my God, that's Dick Durbin. Oh my god, that's Dorgan. Oh my God, that's Tom Daschle. Oh my god, and, you know, everybody knows Hillary, obviously, she was First Lady of the United States. But how many recognize Barbara Mikulski and know that she makes a mean crab cake.

You know, so it was fantastic. I was too nervous to eat. I guess they liked me. And so then they organized a lunch at Mary Landrieu's house. And I was invited to this lunch. And again, it was, you know, democrat senators with an interest in media and getting our message out. And they thought that – they had had 30 people that they had spoken two, and it came down to two that they really liked and thought could do it. And it was me and this guy at Schultz.

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Did Dems Finance Ed Schultz Show?" »




|| Greg, 06:44 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

And I View This As A Good Thing

Immigrants – at least the legal kind – are a great blessing to this country. They revitalize our nation from generation to generation, and enrich our nation in so many ways. The list of immigrants who have contributed so much to the United States is long and illustrious – it includes individuals like Albert Einstein, Andrew Carnegie, and Irving Berlin, just to name a few.

Over the course of more than two centuries, the countries of origin of immigrants have varied. Today it is individuals from Latin America who make up a large percentage of those becoming Americans.

Nearly half of the record-setting 1 million new U.S. citizens sworn in last year were Latino immigrants — a 95 percent increase among that ethnic group from the previous year, according to an analysis by an Hispanic advocacy organization.

Department of Homeland Security data shows the number of immigrants naturalized in the U.S. grew from about 660,000 in 2007 to more than 1 million in 2008 — an increase of roughly 58 percent. The Houston metropolitan area saw more than 28,000 naturalizations last year, an increase of roughly 54 percent from 2007.

Nationally, Latino naturalizations jumped 95 percent from about 237,000 in 2007 to 461,000 in 2008, according to the analysis released Tuesday by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. NALEO used data from the DHS’ Office of Immigration Statistics, counting immigrants who hailed from predominantly Spanish-speaking countries as Latinos.

So let me reemphasize – I think this is great, and that it benefits our country in so many ways.

Now some of you may ask how I reconcile this view with my opposition to illegal immigration. Easy – it all boils down to welcoming those who follow the rules, not the race or ethnicity of the newcomers. After all, I work with many students who are themselves immigrants or the children of immigrants from Latin America. So let me again offer a loud “hurrah” that we are bring into our nation so many wonderful new citizens who walk the same trail as so many of our ancestors.





|| Greg, 06:32 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Company Tees And Prining

If you have a business, marketing is a very important thing for you to do. After all, you have got to get your name and image out there for the world to see. Large companies do this -- indeed, it is one of the ways tha they got to be large companies. After all, think about all the corporate logos you see branded on to people's clothing -- companies like Coke, John Deere, and so many others actually get people to pay them to advertise their brand! Now you may not be able to do so with your company, but you can certainly get some freebies made to promote yourself -- company shirts, caps and stickers -- and help your company grow. And one place you need to check out is fullcolorglossy.com, where they have gotten T-Shirt Printing down to an art.

Of course, Full Color Glossy Printing will print on almost anything you want -- t-shirts, hats, cards, etc. -- they can also print your business collateral and brochures, brochures, letterheads, business cards and so more. Again, it is all a part of your business strategy for marketing your company. So consider their Tshirt Printing and other services as a way of promoting your business in these difficult economic times.





|| Greg, 06:28 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

NY Times Gets It Backwards

It all comes down, I suppose, to a matter of perspective. If, as did our Founders, one presumes that private property belongs to the individual, then one recognizes that government must have a compelling reason for interference with the fundamental right to the that property. On the other hand, if one presumes that the right to one’s property is subordinate to some pre-existing claim to that property by government, then any resistance to its confiscation by government is somehow immoral or unpatriotic. That was the argument by Joe Biden during this past fall’s presidential campaign, and it is the argument today by the New York Times in today’s editorial about the estate tax.

Last week, as the unemployment rate hit a 25-year high and nearly one in 10 Americans was receiving food stamps, 10 Democrats in the Senate joined all 41 Republican senators to cut estate taxes for the wealthiest families. The provision would funnel an additional $91 billion over 10 years to the heirs of megafortunes, money that would otherwise have been paid in federal taxes or donated to charity.

With economic pain and suffering on the rise, how do the senators justify a big tax cut for multimillionaires? By asserting that an estate tax cut is just what struggling Americans need.

The response of the NYT editorialists to every argument made by proponents of cutting (and frankly, I believe the proper policy should be eliminating) the estate tax is those arguments are “swill”. But the real argument to be made on this one is that the estate tax should be cut or eliminated because the estates of the dead – no matter how rich they are – should not be looted by government bureaucrats. It is, dare I say it, the private property of the deceased and his/her heirs.

Look at the argument – the legislation “would funnel an additional $91 billion over 10 years to the heirs of megafortunes, money that would otherwise have been paid in federal taxes or donated to charity.” I call “Bullshit!” It would not funnel a penny of tax dollars to anyone – indeed, it would put an end to the government acting like the crew looting the possessions of the dead Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. But the editorial, couched in the rankest terms of class warfare, argues that allowing the families of the dead to keep their family property is somehow a raiding of the national coffers and a picking of the pockets of the poor. Again, I cry “Bullshit!”

The cash and properties in those estates have been taxed – indeed, they have probably been taxed more than once. The estate tax is simply the government taking one more bite at the apple on the grounds that “they have too much money”. Such a policy is, dare I say it, a fundamental attack on the very principles upon which our nation was founded. And even though I am one who has no prospects of becoming rich, nor of inheriting from some mega-rich relative (trust me, I’ve searched my family tree looking for a rich uncle or three), I do recognize the fundamental injustice of special taxes on people based upon their economic status (what of “equal protection of the law”, liberals?). Reducing or eliminating this ghoulish confiscation of assets is a therefore not only a good policy, it is the most moral policy.





|| Greg, 06:25 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Be A Board Member

Have you ever thought about being a member of a corporate board? Believe it or not, there are thousands of such positions open each year. At LIGHTSHIP RESEARCH, they can help you possibly snag one of these positions if you have the skills and expetise to contribute to the long-range success of the company.





|| Greg, 06:11 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Commentary You Probably Didn’t Expect – But Should Have

As many of you know, I am opposed to gay marriage. I believe it unnecessarily re-configures a long-standing social unit of our society in a way that is unnecessary and inappropriate. I’ve long supported amending the constitutions of the several states and of our federal republic to limit marriage to one man and one woman, and have supported any effort that would overturn unprincipled court decisions that take the power to define the institution from the people. It isn’t that I have a problem with homosexuals of either gender (ask my best friend, who is quite openly gay, as well as my closest lesbian friend) – rather it is that I am a traditionalist when it comes to the definition of the institution of marriage.

But the action of the Vermont legislature today in becoming the first state to legitimately choose to redefine marriage through the democratic process, is different.

Vermont has become the fourth state to legalize gay marriage — and the first to do so with a legislature’s vote.

The Legislature voted Tuesday to override Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry. The vote was 23-5 to override in the state Senate and 100-49 to override in the House. Under Vermont law, two-thirds of each chamber had to vote for override.

I disagree with the decision of the Vermont legislature. I question whether or not the people of the state actually support this move, and would like to know more about what polling data shows. I would support an effort by the people of the state to undo the decision. But my hat is off to those who achieved success the right way in Vermont today. It is my hope that supporters of gay marriage in other states will emulate their example of using the democratic process rather than the judicial process to accomplish their goal. That stands in contrast to the method used in Iowa, and the refusal of pro-gay marriage legislators to allow the people of Iowa to decide the matter by amending the state constitution, which is a repudiation of the democratic process.

H/T Gay Patriot





|| Greg, 12:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Invite Your Friends With VistaPrint

If you are thinking about planning some sort of special event, you must send out invitations to those you want to attend. And to be really honest about it, what would be nicer than printed invitations ? Whether you are planning a formal occasion like a wedding, or something less formal like a birthday party, beautifully printed invitations are sure to impress the recipients. You can even print up thank you notes to send out to those who have been kind enough to give you gifts. No matter what, VistaPrint is able to help you find the right materials based on your style and preferences.

Now I'll be honest -- there is an event coming up in my near future – the celebration of the return to our home following Hurricane Ike. After all, it has been some seven months since we evacuated, only to return to find our home severely damaged and in need of serious reconstruction work to make it livable again. So my invitation will most certainly include a graphic of a house – perhaps even a photo of our newly restored home – on the front. In addition, it will include such things as the date and time for our celebration. And I would certainly want to see if it could be done up on purple paper of some sort, since my darling wife is a lover of that color. Of course, I might not have charge of the design, so it might be different – you never know if my wife will have different ideas from me.

So anyway, VistaPrint is a great place for you to get invitations printed to your specifications. For that matter, if you need are in need of virtually any kind of printing services, you really need to check out VistaPrint first because they can usually offer you a deal that beats the competition.





|| Greg, 10:53 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 07, 2009

Obama Disses D-Day Dead During French Visit

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to attend the funeral and burial of a fine and decent man whose life experience included serving as a crewman on a landing craft during the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. I remember him speaking of his experiences that day, and of the men who he watched die that day seeking to liberate Europe. And while he was a Yellow Dog Democrat, I know that the words of President Reagan on the 40th anniversary of D-Day were quite moving to him.


That is how a real president -- a real patriot -- honors American fighting men who gave their lives for freedom.

And then there is Barack Obama.

White House officials travelled to France at the start of March to discuss a visit by Mr Obama to Omaha Beach, the site of the American Cemetery, established in 1944 just after D-Day and where 9,387 American personnel are buried. Among them is Theodore Roosevelt Jr the eldest son of the 26th US President.

French officials and senior American military officers walked with White House staff through the cemetery discussing how the two presidents might follow the same route. But even before their trip, the White House had decided that Mr Obama would not travel there this week.

"It wasn't going to happen," said an American official in Washington. "We went through the motions to placate President Sarkozy but giving special treatment to France was not on our agenda.

Got that – they went through the motions of discussing a visit to a cemetery full of our honored dead, but never seriously considered doing so. Utterly shameful.

H/T Debbie Schlussel





|| Greg, 05:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Oh So Tolerant Muslims!

Yep, Religion of Peace and all that stuff.

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Noor Husain, the father of a Muslim woman who eloped with a Christian man, led a mob of his neighbors and friends in an attack on his village's only church in Pakistan's Punjab province. After desecrating the church, the men forced their way into Christian homes, dragged out the women, and paraded them forcefully on the streets.

The assault, which occurred several months ago, so terrified the Christian community that 21 families fled, leaving only four Christian families who are still in the village.

"Petrified Christians locked their homes and fled to their relatives, living in other villages and cities, to save their lives," said Ashraf Masih, a Christian resident who has remained in the village.

Several Christians were injured, including two women whose teeth were broken.

I don’t think there is really much to add to this story, do you? After all, what we have here is a pogrom against a religious minority because a Muslim woman dared to exercise her free will by marrying a Christian. Such things are all too common in the Islamic world – but not in civilized nations.

H/T Gateway Pundit





|| Greg, 05:55 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

In It To Win It

Are you considering cable? Well, if you live in the area served by Charter Communications, now might just be the time for you to act on those thoughts. They are offering boatloads of bargains and specials, including one that even includes all their many services. From time to time they have run contests in the past giving away such great prizes as an Xbox 360 or a Hybrid Car. Well guess what -- now they are giving you the chance to win a 22” flat screen HDTV each and every day in the entire month of April.

Charter Communications operates in 29 states. This Fortune 500 company wants to be the best and largest cable company in the world -- or at least the United States. And as an up-to-date tech company, they also offer such services as high speed Internet and telephone service. Their various service bundlest give you the very best price for their services, and beat out their competition. Oh, and about that TV a day thing -- Charter is also offering the chance to win a grand prize package that includes a 52” LCD flat screen HDTV, a Home Theater System, and one year of free Charter Digital Cable® service with HD programming. What a deal -- you just need to be a new or upgrading customer. So if you are in the Charter service area, now is definitely your time to act.

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|| Greg, 04:44 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Who Supports Cop Killing?

The Left claims that the Right does – simply because we oppose gun control and support the Second Amendment.

On the other hand, the Left supports an actual cop killer – who lost another bid to get a retrial after some 28 years after he murdered a police officer in cold blood.

Death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal lost his bid for a new trial in the killing of a city police officer after the U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that it will not take up the case.

Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther and one-time radio reporter, had claimed prosecutors improperly excluded blacks from the jury that convicted him of murdering white Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

* * *

The 25-year-old patrolman had pulled over Abu-Jamal's brother on a darkened downtown street. Prosecutors say Abu-Jamal saw the traffic stop and shot Faulkner, who managed to shoot back. A wounded Abu-Jamal, his own gun lying nearby, was still at the scene when police arrived. Authorities considered the evidence against him overwhelming.

Who on the Left supports this cop-killer? You’ll find plenty of prominent liberals (and no significant conservatives) here. So remember which side really supports cop-killing.





|| Greg, 04:43 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A+cbt

Are you looking for a career -- either your first or a new one -- that will continue to grow in the middle of our struggling economy? Well, consider this -- the IT sector is the fastest growing industry in the country today. But to become a part of it, you need training and the proper certifications, like A+ certification. Once you have A+ Certification, your opportunities for employment and advancement in the IT field increase dramatically. That's why it is a great certification for anyone looking to enter the world of information technology.

How do you get A+ Certification? The old fashioned way -- you earn it. Maybe you will choose the In-Classroom IT Training Course where you live. Or maybe you would prefer the self-paced Online IT Training Program. But either way, you end up with IT Certification.

One interesting thing that I have found among adult learners is that they prefer an online course. A+ candidates are no different. But there are a lot out there, so you have to find a good one -- and among the best is CBT Planet’s A+ training course.

This course features the Interactive A+ training CD course with multimedia, animation, and a+ training videos from an expert instructor who really knows their stuff. And best of all, you decide when and where you take in the content -- you can learn anywhere and anytime, day or night. So consider taking the a+ cbt program.





|| Greg, 04:40 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Execution Is A Twofer

Shortly before his execution, the condemned confessed to an additional killing that had been unsolved for nearly two decades.

Luis Cervantes Salazar was executed last month for the stabbing murder of a woman in October 1997. But shortly before his death, he was encouraged by his spiritual counselor to speak with Texas Rangers about other crimes he committed.

He confessed to the 1992 stabbing of a convenience store clerk in San Antonio, just an hour and a half before he was executed.

San Antonio police say his confession solved the murder of Melissa Morales. Salazar had not previously been considered a suspect.

My only problem with this is that we weren’t told about this when the execution happened. After all, there was no reason to withhold the information from the public.





|| Greg, 04:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

HeroBits

As a teacher, I hear a lot from my students what sort of recreational activities they enjoy. Those are a wide and varied lot, but I do have one segment that is interested in role-playing games -- those involving cards, computers, or the internet. Well, recently I've heard a couple of them talking about a new game they came across called HeroBits, which they found at HeroBits.com.

I was intrigued, and so I visited the website. I was initially struck by the homage to the old trading card games that were in vogue when I first began teaching and which still have a following. Indeed, the site has even launched its own trading card games with which players will be able to amuse themselves offline every bit as much as they do online.

Of interest to me is the other aspect of the site, which profiles the trading card artists who design these cards. Now that is great -- the ability to become a part of the fandom of these talented artists. There are also forums where you can have discussions with other HeroBits players. Why don't you drop by the website now and see what they have to offer you in the way of entertainment and fun





|| Greg, 04:00 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 06, 2009

I Support This Indictment

The facts of this case clearly support criminal charges. Whether they support a conviction will be for the jury to decide.

As Robert Tolan and his cousin approached the front door, officers, who erroneously had been advised Tolan was driving a stolen car, arrived and ordered the pair to the ground. Tolan family members said that as they attempted to tell officers about the mistake, police pushed the young man’s mother against a wall.

Tolan attempted to rise to protest and was wounded as Cotton fired his weapon multiple times. Lawyers for Tolan, who is black, have argued that the shooting resulted from racial profiling by white law officers.

The problem is that there was never really any reason to suspect that Tolan was engaged in any criminal activity. He was just a black guy driving in a nice area in a nice car – must be a criminal. And having witnessed the unprovoked assault on his mother by a rogue cop, Tolan had the audacity to try to stand up – and was grievously wounded as the cop unloaded his gun into him. While I’ll be the first to admit that I have a pro-police bias (my brother is a cop), I can’t see any justification for the conduct of Sgt. Jeffery Cotton. If there is any, let him present it at trial.





|| Greg, 06:37 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Is The Constitution A Dead Letter For Dems?

It certainly is for one.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the nonvoting D.C. delegate to the House who aspires to be its voting representative, has made clear that she regards questions of constitutionality as irrelevant and that she thinks members of the House and Senate do, too. "I don't think members are in the least bit affected in their votes on the question of its constitutionality," she said just last week. "People vote their politics in the House and in the Senate."

Tell me, Eleanor, on what other points do you find the Constitution irrelevant? There is plenty of good legal argumentation against the constitutionality of the DC Representation bill, and not much in its favor. Indeed, the Attorney General had to reject the best legal advice of the top lawyers in the Justice Department in order to get an opinion from another part of the Justice Department that said, in effect, “well, we can defend it if we have to.” What other parts of the Constitution will the jettison if it suits their politics?





|| Greg, 06:34 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Don't They Have More Important Business To Do?

As much as I hate ticket scalpers, I don’t see this as an issue that Congress should be dealing with during a time of major economic upheaval.

Sen. Charles Schumer on Sunday unveiled a proposal aimed at giving fans a better chance to buy hot concert tickets at face value before ticket resellers scoop them up and raise the prices.

The proposed legislation would set a two-day waiting period from when tickets go on sale through normal channels before a ticket reseller can buy the tickets to put on the secondary market, Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a statement.

"The bottom line is we need to create a fair system where fans get first crack at good seats at a reasonable price," Schumer said.

Really, Chuckles? Fair as defined by who? Oh, yeah – by you and your constituents who couldn’t get ticket to see an over-the-hill rocker whose best work is at least two decades behind him.

But more to the point – don’t you have something more important to do during the Obama Economic Crisis?





|| Greg, 06:33 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

NorK Rocket Launch – Success or Failure

It all depends on how you look at it. Kim Jong Il claims it is a great success. Others call it a failure, since the satellite did not reach orbit. And it certainly highlights the fecklessness of Obama’s foreign policy. But was the launch really a failure?

North Korea's rocket may have fallen into the sea, but military experts cautioned Monday against calling it a complete failure, pointing out that it traveled twice as far as any missile the country has launched.

Although the distance was still far short of showing North Korea could reach U.S. territory, it rattled the North's neighbors and countries around the globe, with the U.S. and its allies pushing for quick punishment at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting held hours after the launch.

The launch, which demonstrated progress, is a particularly worrying development for a belligerent country that says it has nuclear weapons and once threatened to turn Seoul into a "sea of fire."

What the NorKs demonstrated was their ability to launch missiles that threaten most of Asia – including American military forces and strategic allies. What’s more, it is precisely the sort of test we would have expected, with precisely the sort of trajectory, if they were doing work on an ICBM rather than trying to launch a satellite. Think about that – and ask yourself if you really feel all that secure with the US merely seeking a UN condemnation of the NorK regime. Did Obama just fail that test that Joe Biden warned us would come early in his administration?





|| Greg, 06:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Templars And The Shroud

The Knights Templar have always been a fascinating subject for me. Among the reasons for that fascination has been the speculation that the Shroud of Turin – believed by many to be the burial shroud of Christ – was once in their possession, and may even have been the idol that the Knights were accused of venerating when the order was suppressed. I don’t know whether or not that story is true, but we now know that the Shroud was once in the possession of the Templars.

Medieval knights hid and secretly venerated The Holy Shroud of Turin for more than 100 years after the Crusades, the Vatican said yesterday in an announcement that appeared to solve the mystery of the relic’s missing years. The Knights Templar, an order which was suppressed and disbanded for alleged heresy, took care of the linen cloth, which bears the image of a man with a beard, long hair and the wounds of crucifixion, according to Vatican researchers. The Shroud, which is kept in the royal chapel of Turin Cathedral, has long been revered as the shroud in which Jesus was buried, although the image only appeared clearly in 1898 when a photographer developed a negative. Barbara Frale, a researcher in the Vatican Secret Archives, said the Shroud had disappeared in the sack of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, and did not surface again until the middle of the fourteenth century. Writing in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Dr Frale said its fate in those years had always puzzled historians. However her study of the trial of the Knights Templar had brought to light a document in which Arnaut Sabbatier, a young Frenchman who entered the order in 1287, testified that as part of his initiation he was taken to “a secret place to which only the brothers of the Temple had access”. There he was shown “a long linen cloth on which was impressed the figure of a man” and instructed to venerate the image by kissing its feet three times.

We now can date the Shroud back to the 1200s, significantly before the date that radiocarbon testing had placed it. And we now know that some of what the Templars were accused of was clearly unjust. So what we have here is a mystery and a history that trumps any novel – take that, Dan Brown!





|| Greg, 06:21 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

WaPo Writer Urges Christians To Dump Easter

That whole death thing is such a distracting bummer – and the resurrection is a bunch of crap that distracts from the really important stuff. At least that is the argument of Erik Reece, a guest writer for the Washington Post, who goes even further in urging that Christians reject faith for a radical social agenda instead.

The fact is, American Christianity has historically been focused so obsessively on the Nicene Creed -- which says Jesus was the son of God, who was crucified for our sins and rose from the grave three days later -- that it never made much room for the actual teachings of this radical Jewish street preacher.

This is why I'm against Easter. It celebrates the death of Jesus nearly to the exclusion of his life. If the Easter miracle can save us from this life, then why bother with the harder work of enacting the kingdom of God here? It is, after all, much harder.

Which brings me back to that word faith. I believe it plays such a disproportionate role in mainstream American Christianity, be it in the rock and roll mega-churches or the humbler places were I worshipped as a child, because it is a belief in what one cannot see. But that belief -- that faith in a salvational Christ -- is what will guarantee everlasting life. But when such faith is lost, as in my case, what am I left with?
I'm left with the teachings of Jesus -- words so radical, they got him killed, words so radical, they might still bring about the end of empire and the beginning of the kingdom of God.

Of course, Reece ignores a central problem with his thesis. If, indeed, the resurrection did not happen and Jesus was merely a radical preacher who got killed for his trouble, who cares what he said? Absent the Gospel message of the birth, death, and resurrection of the Word Made Flesh, there really isn’t any “there” there. Jesus then becomes but one more exponent of a radical utopianism who was scorned and rejected by the establishment of his day. – and what makes his words any more worth following than those of Buddha, Marx, or L. Ron Hubbard? Indeed, it is only the great miracle celebrated by Christians the world over that gives the obscure preacher from Nazareth an eternal significance that makes him and his words worthy of veneration two millennia after those events.

My question – why would the Washington Post pick this time of the year for this message? What other religion would the paper seek to denigrate and deny during its holiest season? Indeed, isn’t the decision a telling one about the bias of the paper and its religion editors, Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn?





|| Greg, 06:19 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Contrary To The Left’s Claims, Pittsburgh Shooter Was Not A Conservative

Indeed, Richard Poplawski is a member of the neo-Nazi racist group Stormfront, which is rejected by conservatives. He is also a devotee of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who is beloved of as many loons on the Left as he is loons on the Right.

His online profile suggests someone at once lonely and seething. He wrote of burning the backs of both of his hands, the first time with a cigarette, the second time for symmetry. He subscribed to conspiracy theories and, by January 2007, was posting photographs of his tattoos on white supremacist Web site Stormfront. Among his ambitions: “to accumulate enough ‘I punched that [expletive] so hard’ stories to match my old man.”

So let’s see – we have a mentally disturbed, socially isolated racist loon engaging in precisely the sort of anti-social activity that such folks have engaged in from time immemorial. Some of his beliefs track with mainstream conservatism, but more of it tracks with fringe beliefs that are rejected by mainstream conservatives. For the Left to try to claim otherwise is to attempt to perpetrate the “big lie” in order to delegitimize the beliefs of a sizeable portion of the American people AND portions of the US Constitution. Indeed, the next step will be to demand government action to silence certain “dangerous” points of view that they claim are not in the best interest of the nation to allow to be expressed. Indeed, by repeatedly claiming that “Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh” and other mainstream commentators and politicians are responsible for the crimes of Poplawski, they are engaged in rhetorical excesses that exceed anything in the words of those who they are demonizing. After all, not one of the targeted conservatives has called for acts of violence against political opponents, while the same cannot be said of many of their critics on the Left.

H/T LGF, Don Surber





|| Greg, 06:18 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

But We Shouldn’t Be Suspicious Of Muslims In Our Midst – That Would Be Islamophobic

Now I’ve long conceded that most Muslims in this country are decent folks – but have been adamant that there is something in the religion of Islam that we should be wary of. It is a violent strain that comes to the fore again and again in the form of terror attacks around the world and terror plots exposed around our country. Islamic groups claim that anyone who is suspicious of what goes on in the Muslim community – especially in mosques – is motivated by bias and prejudice, because such things don’t represent the true face of Islam. But what are we to make of this?

Two young Americans who left their homes to join an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group in Somalia held a rare “press conference” in southern Somalia on Sunday, saying they want to be killed "for the sake of God," according to a U.S. law enforcement official and a report posted on a Somali news Web site.

For several months the FBI has been investigating at least 20 Somali-American men from the Minneapolis area and elsewhere in the United States who traveled to war-torn Somalia to join the terrorist group al-Shabaab, which has been warring with the moderate Somali government since 2006.

Last month, a source familiar with the FBI investigation told FOX News that "several" of the men had returned to the United States, while others “are still there [in Somalia]." Today is the first time any of these men have spoken publicly.

"We came from the U.S. with a good life and a good education, but we came to fight alongside our brothers of al-Shabaab … to be killed for the sake of God,” one man said at the press conference, as translated by Omar Jamal, the executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Yep – more jihadis among us.

Where is the indoctrination of such values taking place? The most obvious place is in the mosques of America – even if only a minority of them. So while Muslim groups complain of surveillance activities taking place in mosques, I urge that such activities be stepped-up. After all, mosques are public places, where the public is freely invited. For agents to listen to sermons preached there is not a violation of any right, any more than an agent listening to a sermon at St. Miscellaneous Catholic Church or Holy Roller Worship Center violates any right. After all, these are things that are open to the public, and so there is no expectation of privacy and no need for a warrant for law enforcement to sit and listen to what is said.

And after all, we know that incitement to jihad is happening in the Islamic community. Keeping an ear open for incitement to such criminality is only prudent





|| Greg, 06:15 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

It Pays More Not To Work

That’s the only conclusion we can draw from these statistics provided by the Houston Chronicle regarding the effects of the Obama Stimulus Plan.

• • Most Texans’ paychecks will be a little fatter starting this month as the Making Work Pay tax credit kicks in and employers reduce their payroll tax withholdings by about $13 a week.

• • Texas’ jobless are now receiving an extra $25 a week in their benefits as mandated by Congress, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

• • Food stamp recipients soon will get about $38 a month more to spend on necessities, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

And before you feel all warm and fuzzy over Barry Hussein’s plan to let you keep enough of your earnings to take a family of four to McDonald’s once a week, consider this – at the end of the year, you will likely be paying that same cash to the government. You see, you didn’t get a tax reduction – all that this represents is a delay in you having to turn the cash over to Timothy “Taxes for thee but not for me” Geithner. So expect a tax bill this time next year if you are a productive American in exchange for your $50 a month increase in take-home pay. On the other hand, the non-productive will come out with about $140 extra in benefits extorted from the productive.





|| Greg, 06:14 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 04, 2009

UPDATED AND BUMPED: Gov. Paterson Disses 9/11 Victims

UPDATE: LOOKS LIKE THE LA TIMES SOURCE I USED GOT THE QUOTE WRONG.

I'm going to refrain from commenting on the Binghamton massacre until there are more details available on the shooter and his motives. But I cannot ignore Gov. David Paterson's shocking affront to the thousands who died at the hands of jihadi swine on September 11, 2001.

And now here in Binghamton we probably have the worst tragedy and senseless crime in the history of this state. When are we going to be able to curb the kind of violence that is so fraught and so rapid that we can’t even keep track of the incidents?

Is the man always such a blithering idiot? Or has he, like all too many folks on the Left in this country, actually forgotten that this country was attacked by Islamo-Fascist enemies who still remain committed to our destruction?

So here are a couple of little reminders to Gov Patterson about the worst tragedy and most senseless crime in the history of New York.





|| Greg, 10:55 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Could The Binghamton Tragedy Have Been Avoided?

Maybe, if someone had taken the time and had the initiative to report this to the proper authorities.

Kevin Greene, a former coworker at the vacuum plant, recalled asking him if he liked the New York Yankees baseball team. “No,” Voong replied. “I don’t like that team. I don’t like America. America sucks.” Another former employee said that Voong “kept to himself but made some off-the-wall comments like he wanted to kill the president”.

Hello! When someone starts talking about shooting the president, pick the phone up and call the cops -- or better yet, call the Secret Service. Don't assume that he is just blowing off steam or expressing some sort of dissent -- report him to the authorities. That is a line you don't let anyone cross -- whether the president in question is named George Bush or Barack Obama. In this case, doing so would have prevented a serious tragedy.

In a related note, Michelle Malkin notes that the anti-gun Left is already at work trying to blame any and all conservatives for the crimes of Jiverly Voong.





|| Greg, 10:02 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Debt Consolidation

In debt? Trying to figure out how to get it all paid off? Not sure where to turn -- especially if a personal loan may not be an option for you due to the debt you have? Maybe it is time to consider a different alternative for dealing with your credit card debt.





|| Greg, 09:43 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Right Decision By Corporate

You folks know my views on Barack Obama -- probably a nice guy in person, but not someone who I am inclined to support politically. But I do have to agree with the decision of one drugstore chain to ban the sale of this product.

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It isn't about politics. It isn't about race. It is just plain about good taste -- or lack thereof in the case of this product. What more needs be said?





|| Greg, 09:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Forewarned Is Forearmed

I have made it really clear on this site moreethan once that I have little sympathy for sex offenders and don't believe that they have any right to privacy. Parents and teachers really have an obligation to find out who such folks are and where thy live so as to protect the young people in our care. After all, we saw here in Houston a few years back that even the nice upstanding guy with a daily show on the radio might be the sort to expose himself to little girls -- and I'm sad to say that I've even had former students convicted of sex offenses involving younger relatives. It is incumbent upon us to keep track of such menaces, especially since they can come into your neighborhood (or be convicted and registered) at any time.

Did you know that it is possible get a Sex Offenders Report by typing in your zip code on a website? Tracksexoffenders.net is such a site that will show you all the registered sex offenders in your area and offer you pertinent information about their offenses. That information can help you to be forewarned of problems and forewarned is forearmed. Maybe we can't stop every crime, but perhaps we can stop one or two from being committed against those near and dear to us.





|| Greg, 09:23 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Liberal NYT Threatens To Close Boston Globe If No Worker Concessions

Whatever will Barack Hussein Obama have to say about these evil capitalists exploiting the working class?

The New York Times Company has threatened to close The Boston Globe unless labor unions agree to concessions like pay cuts and the cessation of pension contributions, according to a person briefed on the talks.

The company is looking for $20 million in savings from The Globe, which has already gone through several rounds of deep cost-cutting and staff reductions. The company does not report figures by newspaper, but executives have acknowledged that the Globe lost tens of millions of dollars last year.

The threat to close The Globe was first reported by The Globe on Friday evening on its Web site, Boston.com. The site quoted the leaders of two of the unions describing a meeting Thursday at which the company delivered the ultimatum.

Will we see special legislation to punish NYT corporate execs for their actions? Will we see efforts by the federal government out the failing liberal rag that may be shut down? And will the editorial staff of the New York Times condemn the culture of greed in their own corporate boardroom -- or are those simply reserved for WalMart and bond traders?





|| Greg, 09:11 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Online Shopping

With the economic difficulties that exist in the US and around the world today, it is no surprise that people are worried about getting the best deal on everything they buy. That is even, perhaps especially, true of those who do any amount of shopping online. After all, we have all spent hours visiting different websites before we make that purchase, hoping that when we finally check out at the end of the process that we have really gotten the best deal. But is there a place where we can find those prices without all the work? Would it be possible for me to know that my price on a particular Digital Camera is the best one out there before I actually make the purchase? And what about online coupons and discount codes that might save a few (or more than a few) bucks on the total? Thanks to plaza101.com, you can feel secure that you are getting a good deal, because they offer both price comparison and coupons that will help you see a lower total at check out time. You can even read reviews and share your opinion about products with other users of the site, sort of social network shopping. So if you are looking to save, drop by and see what they have to offer you.





|| Greg, 09:06 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Note On Tolerance

I've expressed this view a hundred times on this blog, noting that accepting the right of someone to hold a certain belief or behave in a certain manner is the essence of tolerance, not blithely holding all opinions, beliefs, and actions to be morally equal. I wish, though, that I had written this.

Freedom of thought and freedom of expression are essential in the pursuit of reason. It is reason that will lead us to truth, and the pursuit of truth has been the driving force behind progress since the Enlightenment. We cannot afford to abandon these principles now.

People are so afraid of saying the wrong thing that we have blundered into a state of what you could call valuephobia. But modern, tolerant and secular society does not have to be a valueless society. Tolerance is not the same as surrender. Although we tolerate the views and ideas of others, we do not have to accept the creed of moral equivalence. Just because a state does not have a formal affinity to a particular religion does not mean it should avoid a robust system of values. For the most part, our concept of right and wrong is in tune with our basic instincts, and our understanding of the consequences of our actions. These values are codified by religions, not invented by them. There are other, different, non- religious values which are part of our heritage - the concept of looking after those who cannot look after themselves, of hard work, perseverance and saving for a rainy day. States cannot operate without values, and the seemingly all-pervasive fear of causing offence needs to be balanced by the benefits of clear guidance on what is desirable behaviour.

Indeed, we encounter much too much of this very sort of stuff today. Too often we see expressed in our public dialogue the notion that the only thing that is absolutely morally wrong is believing and stating that something is absolutely morally wrong. In the name of not imposing religious values we have seen values that are held by the overwhelming majority or Americans stripped from our laws in the name of a "tolerance" that will tolerate anything but the views of that majority. When will we recognize that the celebration of diversity that so many insist is a part of tolerance also requires a healthy respect for the opinions, values, and beliefs of those who constitute the majority rather than merely those of the minority?





|| Greg, 08:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 03, 2009

The Way It Should Be

Eugene Robinson has noted that Americans are looking at Barack Obama and his family in terms of what they do rather than the color of their skin.

In the cacophonous commentary about the president -- he's a breath of fresh air, he's too liberal, he's too moderate, he's being far too generous to the banks, he's some kind of closet socialist, he's restoring the nation to greatness, he's leading us to perdition -- it's striking how seldom race is mentioned as an issue or even an attribute. That's only natural, since race could hardly be more irrelevant to the multitude of urgent problems Obama wrestles with every day. Watching him in action, as he shoves out the chief executive of General Motors or exchanges small talk with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, we witness a daily demonstration of the irrelevance of race. And that, potentially, is nothing short of transformative.

* * *

We focus on Obama's ability, not his color. In doing so, we are a better nation.

Oddly enough, that is precisely what we Republicans have been trying to do since the day Obama first came on the scene – and certainly since he became a major contender for the Democrat nomination for president. We have judged him on the content of his character (which I consider to be, overall, quite good) and ideas (which I consider to be less so) – not on his race. Indeed, it has been liberals who have demanded that we consider race before we speak, and who have looked for racism whenever we have criticized, that are focused on color. Indeed, such a focus diminishes Obama and his importance. It’s time to recognize what so many conservatives have said all along – race doesn’t matter, but actions, ideas and policies do.





|| Greg, 09:18 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Imagine If Islam Weren’t The Religion Of Peace

There might be some real violence and persecution of the Baha’is then.

Dozens of Muslim villagers have attacked the homes of members of the minority Baha'i religion in southern Egypt, hurling firebombs and denouncing them as "enemies of God," human rights groups said Thursday. The attacks began Saturday after a prominent Egyptian media commentator denounced a Baha'i activist in a television appearance as an "apostate" and called for her to be killed.

The Baha'i religion was founded in the 1860s by a Persian nobleman, Baha'u'llah, whom the faithful regard as the most recent in a line of prophets that included Buddha, Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad. Muslims reject the faith because they believe Muhammad was God's final prophet, and Baha'is have been persecuted in the Middle East.

Not only that, but the good peaceful Muslim police didn’t want to interfere with all the good peaceful Muslims who were attacking religious minorities. After all, the Baha’is are heretics and apostates in the eyes of good peaceful Muslims – and such folks really do bring such violence upon themselves in the eyes of good peaceful Muslims.

Could you imagine what would have happened, though, if Islam were not a religion that respects religious freedom and urges peaceful behavior in its followers?





|| Greg, 09:10 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Grant This Visa Now, Mr. Obama

Dealing with visa issues is not ordinarily something that a president bothers with – but in this case, I believe that the president should personally expedite the paperwork for this Iraqi patriot whose life is in danger for having assisted American military personnel.

An Iraqi translator who has earned commendations for risking his life repeatedly to save the lives of many American soldiers in combat has been denied a visa to live in the United States because of nonviolent actions he took to overthrow Saddam Hussein — at the same time the U.S. government was calling for regime change in Iraq.

Jasim, whose name is being withheld for his safety, has received strong support from the U.S. military, and the Department of Homeland Security approved his application for a visa. But the State Department has denied Jasim a visa because he was arrested in 1996 for actions against the Saddam dictatorship.
Some of Jasim's supporters, however, believe the real reason he's been denied a visa is that he has become a "nuisance" to State Department personnel at the Baghdad Embassy. The State Department, citing privacy concerns, declined to discuss Jasim's case.

Because Iraqi translators are seen by jihadists and former Baathists as "traitors," Jasim's life is at greater risk the longer he stays in Iraq, according to multiple State Department and U.S. military officials. A number of translators and their families have already been tortured and/or murdered.

Jasim’s application was heartily endorsed by two generals. Somehow, that was not enough. Some bureaucrat decided that a car theft conviction under the regime of Saddam Hussein, committed in order to steal paper and equipment in the possession of Saddam’s son, Uday, was sign of sufficiently bad character to keep Jasim out of the US. Never mind three years of anti-terrorism work and assistance to the US military – the criminal justice system of the Hussein Regime trumps all that.

Mr. President, your illegal alien aunt is allowed to stay in the US, sponging off taxpayers, based upon bogus claims of potential persecution in Kenya (where your family members are revered). Why not have the integrity to let someone whose life is really in danger for his efforts on behalf of the US into the US?





|| Greg, 09:08 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Stylish

There are lots of places that you can go to shop on the internet. Really -- the number of e-commerce sites out there is really quite astounding. The question, though, is how one gets the best value for one's hard-earned money -- especially in this recessionary time. This is especially true when one goes shopping for stylish and trendy shoes, clothing, and jewelry. Can you really be sure that you are getting quality merchandise at a good price at any particular site? Well, one place you might want to check out is StyleHive.com. The values and fashions abound over there. What an example of what I mean? Consider this lovely CC Skye bracelet available at the site for $92. It is pewter-glazed leather set with stylish gold screws and a gold buckle to match. It would certainly balance a gold watch worn on the other arm -- or even take the place of a watch if you are one of those for whom time is not a major concern. But the best thing is that not only is the price fantastic, but you can also get free shipping on it as well. Drop by and see what other bargains there are for you.





|| Greg, 09:07 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dumb Huck Joke Reduces Dem To Tears

I’ll be the first to say that the comment isn’t funny and isn’t appropriate – but the response is way over the top, perhaps indicating serious emotional instability on the part of Terry McAuliffe.

During a recent appearance on behalf of Bob McDonnell — the Republican candidate for governor — Huckabee wisecracked that if McDonnell's supporters bump into someone who isn't planning on voting for the Republican, they should "let the air out of their tires and do not let them out of their driveway on election day."

The joke is a Huckabee favorite: he recited it countless times at campaign stops nationwide during his failed bid to win the Republican nomination in 2007 and 2008.

Nevertheless, McAuliffe — who made more than a few surrogate appearances of his own on behalf of Bill and Hillary Clinton — is accusing of Huckabee of inciting "voter suppression."

"Let's be clear," he said in a statement. "There are no jokes to be made about denying people the right to vote in this country. It's not a laughing matter. This is a right that people fought and died for, so as public figures, we must be sure that we are setting the standard."

McAuliffe, who has made a point of highlighting his creation of a voting rights institute when he led the DNC, accused McDonnell of "standing by silently as Mike Huckabee encourages his supporters to suppress the vote."

Oh come on – like anyone really believed that was anything more than a lame attempt at humor that we’ve been hearing for a couple of years out of Huckabee. But more to the point, it isn’t Republicans who are documented as engaging precisely the tactics Huckabee joked about.

I’ll side with the Huckster on this one.

“As someone who served as a Governor for 10 years, I can say if these are the type of things Terry McAuliffe worries about and make him break down and cry, then he won’t last 10 days as Governor much less four years and he doesn’t deserve the people of Virginia’s vote.”

H/T Hot Air





|| Greg, 09:06 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mustang Musings

My first serious crush was on a neighbor girl who drove a Mustang. Alas, it was all doomed to failure since she was 25 and I was 8 -- and then she married my best friend's brother. I wonder sometimes if they have been able to get the replacement Ford Mustang Parts to keep that old classic running.





|| Greg, 09:02 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Name That Party

Public official uses taxpayer funds to pay illegal aliens for to clean her house. Criminal charges ensue.

A six-count federal indictment against Hidalgo County Commissioner Sylvia Handy is only the "tip of the iceberg," law enforcement officials said.

FBI agents arrested the embattled elected official and her husband at their Weslaco home Thursday morning, alleging they paid two women - both of them illegal immigrants - to work as servants using taxpayer funds.

Prosecutors accuse the pair of women of providing child care and housekeeping services to Handy's family while collecting county paychecks under assumed identities over a period of five years.

But authorities close to the case said their initial probe into the 52-year-old commissioner's hiring practices has since spawned separate investigations into allegations of witness tampering, bid-rigging and kickbacks involving county contracts.

Further state and federal indictments are expected against the commissioner and other alleged accomplices, they said.

Many further details follow in a rather complete article on the situation in Hidalgo County. But oddly enough, one thing is missing from the piece. No where is Handy’s political party mentioneed, despite the fact that she is a prominent member of a major political party. And what would that party affiliation be? A little check on the matter shows that it starts “D” and ends with “emocrat”. I wonder – why the omission?





|| Greg, 08:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Tanning For Health & Beauty

Do you want a tan to enhance your appearance? Then you may want to learn about Home Tanning Beds. If so, then you might check out this site for information on Wolff Tanning Beds.





|| Greg, 08:33 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

Well, another week has passed and another set of wonderful posts have been voted upon by the Watcher's Council. Here are this week's results.

Winning Council Submissions



Winning Non-Council Submissions


|| Greg, 08:32 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Need A Roofer?

Well, the new roof is on the house, which makes it one more sign that my wife and I are rapidly approaching the day when we will be back in our house after teh trials and travails that followed our evacuation for Hurricane Ike. You don't know how good that makes me feel to type those words, because to me the new roof is really a symbol that the end of our project is near. After all, a good roof over one's head really symbolizes that one is safe and secure in so many ways.

I was lucky -- my contractor for all the repairs does roofs as a part of his business. But what if you are not doing a complete restoration following a disaster? Where do you find a well-qualified roofer who can take care of your roofing needs? If you are lucky, you know somebody who has had a good experience with a roofer. Maybe you can respond to an ad somewhere and find someone good. But maybe you should consider looking at a directory of roofers like this one that will help you find a good Indianapolis roofer. The site will connect you with various roofers who can give you bids for the work you need done -- and also offers you advice on what questions to ask before you accept a bid.





|| Greg, 08:26 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 02, 2009

Disgusting Dem Dirty Deed To Reward Border Jumpers

The bill they have passed in Colorado is shocking enough.

A proposal to grant in-state tuition to illegal immigrants passed out of a Colorado state Senate committee this week after Democrats moved up a vote on the bill to coincide with a Republican opponent's absence from the state on a family emergency.

* * *

Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter has said he will sign the bill, which would give in-state tuition to illegal immigrants who have attended a Colorado high school for at least three years. The students must also attend college within one year of graduation or earning their GED.

On the other hand, legal immigrants and US citizens who are not from Colorado will pay out of state tuition while these immigration criminals get rewarded for their ability to evade the law for a sufficient period of time.

But what is even more disgusting is the parliamentary stunt pulled to pass the bill out of committee.

Republican state Sen. Ted Harvey's father-in-law has Alzheimer's disease and his health began deteriorating so rapidly early this week that Mr. Harvey was forced to take a few days off to transport the ailing man from Florida to Colorado.

Even so, Mr. Harvey had planned to return to the state legislature in time for Friday's Appropriations Committee vote on Senate Bill 170, the in-state tuition bill. He had also planned to vote against it, which would have resulted in a 5-5 tie that would have killed the legislation.

Instead, the committee's Democratic chairman, state Sen. Abel Tapia, seized the opportunity and rescheduled the vote for Wednesday. Without Mr. Harvey, the bill passed 5-4 and now heads to the Senate floor.

Talk about your seedy political gamesmanship – make sure an opponent of the bill is unavailable to vote so that it can be passed. In this case it was clearly dishonorable to move the vote up. The US Congress has long had a practice called “pairing” to avoid such situations – when a critical piece of legislation is before the body and a situation like the one faced by Sen. Harvey arises, another member of the body who would have otherwise voted the opposite way abstains from the vote in order to avoid taking unfair advantage of the personal crisis. Would that the dishonorable Albert Tapia had done the same – or simply have had the decency to hold the vote when it was previously scheduled.





|| Greg, 05:46 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Just A Dumb Idea

I’ll be honest – I find it galling that prosecutorial misconduct was the likely deciding factor in the 2008 Alaska Senate race. I even called upon Ted Stevens to resign so that there could be a replacement candidate in the race. But even now that the dirty tricks of certain prosecutors have come to light, I find this idea unacceptable.

Alaska GOP Chairman Randy Ruedrich said a special election should be held "so Alaskans may have the chance to vote for a senator without the improper influence of the corrupt Department of Justice."

"The only reason Mark Begich won the election in November is because a few thousand Alaskans thought that Senator Ted Stevens was guilty of seven felonies. Senator Stevens has maintained his innocence and now, even the Department of Justice acknowledges its wrongdoing," Ruedrich said in a statement.

Sorry, friends, that isn’t how it works, even in a race as close as this one was. The reality is that we could point to some injustice or untruth that was the deciding factor in a great many races. Do we really believe that there should be do-overs for that reason? Of course not. So while conduct that ought to lead to criminal charges against and/or the disbarment of the Stevens prosecution team (or at least of some members of that team) has been conclusively demonstrated and implicitly acknowledged by the Attorney General, that is not a sufficient reason for overturning the results of an election.





|| Greg, 05:45 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Illinois Wisely Rejects Law Limiting Constitutional Right

After all, the Second Amendment is as much a part of the Bill of Rights as the First Amendment.

An effort to limit the number of guns people can buy has failed again in the Illinois House.

The measure would have capped gun purchases at one a month, although the state police would have been authorized to grant exemptions.

Violations of the one-a-month limit would have been punishable by up to a year in prison.

Call me an extremist on the matter, but I find this sort of legislation every bit as repulsive as legislation that would limit Americans to buying one book or attending one church service a month. Any legislator who supported this bill needs to be removed from office for violating their oath of office – or at least tar-and-feathered by their constituents.





|| Greg, 05:32 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Quick – Call Al Gore!

Maybe human beings are causing this climate change, too!

Everything about Jupiter is super-sized, including its colorful, turbulent atmosphere. But there's fresh evidence that one of the planet's most recognizable features, the Great Red Spot, is shrinking.

The spot, which is actually an ancient monster storm that measures about three Earths across, lost 15 percent of its diameter between 1996 and 2006, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found.

It shrank by about 1 kilometer (about 0.6 miles) a day during that time period, said Xylar Asay-Davis, a postdoctoral researcher who was part of the study.

Given the alleged inconvenient truth that climate change is caused by human beings, it can only be the activities of a carbon sasquatch like Gore that are responsible for this climate change of interplanetary proportions.





|| Greg, 05:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Gag Police

I’ve always enjoyed BBC shows – especially classic comedy like Are You Being Served and Keeping Up Appearances, not to mention some of the current stuff that turns up on BBC America. One reason is that there is a level of freedom with humor – including somewhat risqué humor – that you just don’t find here in the USA. Unfortunately, as Mark Steyn notes, there may be a move to clamp down on “offensive humor” – and that is a bad thing.

If the pen is mightier than the sword, then criminalizing words is a way of disarming potential opposition, of inculcating a reflexive self-censorship in the citizenry. And, after all, self-suppression is the most cost-effective of tyranny. Political correctness isn’t merely the blasphemy law of our time. It makes communication impossible. It renders a people literally illiterate: the conventions of language used by functioning societies throughout human history—irony, indirect quotation, period evocation, and, yes, even comic stereotype—are all suddenly suspect. What a strange fate to embrace. In London, the Lord Chamberlain’s power to censor West End plays was finally abolished in 1968: it was widely accepted by then that there was something absurd in a palace courtier ruling that your script could have three “Bastards!” but not four, and that two specific references to sodomy had to be replaced with one vague allusion to heavy petting. Yet, four decades on, Britons now think it entirely normal for police constables and time-serving bureaucrats to function as literary critics determining the “intent” behind a throwaway jest.

To hell with it, and to hell with “sensitivity training.” The only way a multicultural society can live in freedom is with what the Toronto blogger Kathy Shaidle calls “insensitivity training”: we all need to develop thicker skin and rub along—without government monitoring. “CSI Catskills” is a totalitarian concept, and only a bunch of fairies would fall for it.

And just to clarify: I’m not saying you’re a fairy if you have sex with other men.
I am saying you’re a fairy if you think the state should police our jokes.

Indeed, I wonder if any of the favorite shows mentioned above could really meet the standard set by the new law. And having seen PC sensitivities ratcheted up in this country in recent years, I know that this has diminished our entertainment as well as our ability to confront prejudice through humor. After all, could All In The Family be made today? I doubt it, even though the humor that would be forbidden is the sort of stuff that actually ridiculed the insensitive rather than their targets. After all, mockery has its place – and it is not the place of government to decide whose views are correct and may therefore be expressed (and conversely, wrong and not to be expressed) on social and political issues.

For that matter, I wonder if Elton John -- himself a proud gay man – could possibly get away with making this classic song.

After all, not only won’t people be allowed to laugh, even making the joke in the first place would be a violation of the law.





|| Greg, 05:27 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

An Odd Contrast

You know how Lefties are all up in arms over the fact that some folks think Barack Obama should not be honored (and an honorary degree like that to be conferred upon Obama is an honor, so this is not just a speech) by a Catholic school like Notre Dame because of his anti-life policies on abortion and stem cells. So why the uproar over the fact that Mike Huckabee is even permitted to speak at a non-religious private institution of higher learning?

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee yesterday embarked upon the liberal-leaning campus of Rider University and was greeted by a group of students and professors who said the conservative Huckster was the fool of April Fools’ Day.

“Many of us are disturbed that someone who is anti-intellection would be invited to an institution of higher learning,” said Rider Assistant Professor Matthew Boyd Goldie, an English instructor who was joined in the rainy weather by up to 40 faculty members and students to protest Huckabee’s visit.

“He doesn’t believe in evolution and the facts of evolution. It seems not a fruitful starting point for discussion,” Goldie said.

Interestingly enough, evolution was not the topic of the speech – public service and involvement in the political process were big topics, as were current political topic like the budget, the tax code, and border security. And what’s more, Huckabee didn’t receive a single university honor. Speaking as one who believes that Notre Dame should not have Obama at commencement, I don’t think most of us objecting to the Notre Dame honors for Obama would object if he were merely speaking on campus but not receiving that honorary degree.

So which is it? Are religious schools expected to sacrifice their values on the altar of liberalism? Is conformity with the tenets of liberalism the price of being allowed to speak on most college campuses? And what of the concept that the university is a place where all views should be welcome, spoke, and debated? Does that really mean that only those views deemed acceptable by liberals should be welcome – and that those who would speak contrary to liberal dogma ought to be shunned and excluded.





|| Greg, 05:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Good Idea For All Texas Kids

Here is a piece of legislation I support, and which I think ought to be quickly passed by the Texas legislature. It rectifies a situation which I and many others view as an unacceptable distinction in how our students are now permitted to compete in interscholastic activities.

For the last 14 years, a handful of private schools have been asking the Legislature for a chance to participate in the league for public school sports and academic competitions.

And each session lawmakers have sent a clear message to those private schools by killing any related legislation — in most cases while the bills were still in committee.

But lawmakers championing the proposal think this could finally be the session they force the University Interscholastic League to accept private schools for district competition. A legislative panel could vote today to send the bill to the full Senate for debate. A similar bill is being carried in the House by Frank Corte, R-San Antonio.

“The private schools are making a simple request: Let our kids compete on a broader playing field in academics and sports,” said State Sen. Dan Patrick, who authored the Senate proposal. “I think that’s perfectly reasonable.”

Currently, two Jesuit schools — one in Dallas and another in Houston — are allowed to compete in the UIL because the league they belonged to was disbanded and deemed too large for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, or TAPPS.

I spent my high school career in Illinois. And for the record, I attended a Catholic school. My school’s football team played in the old East Suburban Catholic Conference, and except for a couple non-conference games played exclusively Catholic schools. During basketball season, our team played a mix of public, Catholic, and private schools. For non-athletic events, we competed with everybody else. All of it was regulated by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), which was the Illinois counterpart to Texas’ University Interscholastic League (UIL). And to deal with the selectivity/recruiting issue, private schools were ranked one level higher in terms of their size classification, with 1A size private schools competing at 2A, 2A size private schools competing at 3A, etc.

Why do I think this is a good idea, other than the fact that I have seen such a system work well elsewhere? First is the fact that the UIL has already allowed two schools to join because they had nowhere else to turn because of their size, so there is no longer a legitimate basis to say that the UIL is exclusively a public school league. Second, it will enable private schools in less densely populated parts of the state (ever been to west Texas or the Panhandle?) to compete with local public schools rather than force students to endure bus trips of significantly over 100 miles EACH WAY in order to have an event with another private school. Third, a number of districts in Texas have gone to open enrollment systems in which they even accept students who do not live within the district (not to mention the question of magnet and charter schools within public school districts), negating the argument about attendance zones and unfair advantages. The only down side I see is that some perennial powerhouse schools might find themselves facing new competition that could keep them from their annual trip to the playoffs or interfere with their winning yet another championship – which isn’t really a reasonable argument at all.





|| Greg, 05:21 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Prosecutor Seeks To Uphold Law; Border Jumper Advocates Whine

Pat Lykos was not my choice for the GOP candidate for District Attorney last year, but I have to say that she has done well in my eyes with this move.

A Harris County District Attorney’s office proposal to bar illegal immigrants from receiving plea deals sparked questions Wednesday — including some from longtime prosecutors in the same office — about the legality and practicality of such a policy.

Four senior assistant district attorneys, speaking anony¬mously to protect their ¬jobs, said Jim Leitner, District Attorney Pat Lykos’ first assistant, discussed the plan with about 50 prosecutors during a meeting last Friday. Under the plan, defendants in the country illegally will not be eligible for probation or deferred adjudication, including mandatory probations under state law. If the accused lies, he or she could be prosecuted for perjury.

The prosecutors also said plea papers are being redrafted for defendants to swear to their immigration status. If defendants refuse to sign, they will not be eligible for any plea bargains and their cases will be set for trial.

Imagine that – those not in the country legally will not be released back onto the streets in order to continue their criminal activity. They will be held pending processing by federal authorities so that they can be returned to their country of origin, I mean, what possible objection could those who shill for illegals have? They tell us all the time that the vast majority of such folks are “good decent hard-working people just trying to support their families doing the jobs that Americans won’t do.” Why would they possibly object to getting rid of the bad ones who are committing the crimes that Americans won’t commit – often victimizing the “good decent hard-working people just trying to support their families doing the jobs that Americans won’t do.” It seems to me to be a win-win situation – we get rid of the bad folks and those who of upstanding moral character will be safer as well. Where is the problem?

Of course, those “good decent hard-working people just trying to support their families doing the jobs that Americans won’t do” are themselves guilty of violating our nation’s laws, so I have no problem with their being arrested and returned to their country of origin as well, but that is an entirely different story. But there is room for American citizens of good-will to differ on that point, and to seek ways to both secure our borders and deal with the issue of what to do with the millions of violators of immigration law already in our country. But at a minimum, it seems that sensible folks ought to agree that it is in everybody’s best interests to get rid of the ones who violate other laws as well.





|| Greg, 05:20 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Obama Considering Political Hack To Head NASA

Let’s see – to head our nation’s space program, you have two serious candidates. One is a former astronaut who is familiar with the space program from the ground up. The other is a carpetbagging political hack and former high school science teacher whose main qualification for the job appears to be losing congressional elections in multiple districts and an ability to schmooze. It ought to be an easy choice, right? Not, apparently, for Barack Obama – who like the latter candidate is more style than substance and underqualified for high office.

Former U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson, once a county assessor and school science teacher, has emerged as a contender for the top job at NASA, sources on Capitol Hill have told the Houston Chronicle.

The 64-year-old Stafford Democrat, whose Houston-area congressional district included Johnson Space Center, has joined a short list of prospective nominees for the $177,000-a-year post.

Former astronaut Charles Bolden Jr., a retired Marine Corps major general, also remains in contention, in part because of support from Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., chairman of the Senate panel that oversees NASA.

Now Mr. President, I agree with the many members of Congress who have urged you to name an administrator quickly. After all, there are tasks to be accomplished in the furtherance of the Constellation program that need firm leadership and a clear understanding of the issue at hand. And that is why I am urging you to reject Slick Nick Lampson in favor of the truly qualified candidate for the job – Major General Bolden.





|| Greg, 05:17 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Bingo Online

I enjoyed playing bingo when I was younger -- there was a girl I dated, and when she went to play with her grandmother I would tag. I grew to enjoy the game mostly because I enjoyed the presence of the young lady. And since my girl and her grandmother played a couple of nights a week, I spent more than a little time playing.

With the coming of the internet, you can play online in your spare time. There are many sites where you can play, and others where you can learn about fun places to play. Take BingoPort.co.uk as an example. It offers a good list of online sites where you can play bingo and a comparison of bingo sites as well.
You can find lists of different sorts of sites, such as a section on free bingo sites. You can also find out about some of the more unusual bingo sites, too.

When one considers the various other features and connections to articles and sites where you can play bingo, you'll discover that it is a quite valuable site for those who are interested in playing online bingo. Check it out to learn more -- you won't be sorry.





|| Greg, 04:34 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

April 01, 2009

Charlie Daniels Offers Advice To Obama

Since Barack Obama and his minions seem unable to use clear language to describe terrorists and our ongoing fight against them, country music great Charlie Daniels has a few suggestions for other euphemisms for him to use for things which normal folks would consider to be a threat.

have some suggestions for your vocabulary:

Rattlesnake - triangle-headed surface crawler

Black Widow Spider - red dotted black circle

Shark - fish with a toothy smile

Grizzly Bear - big cuddly fuzzball

Dynamite - stringed red stick

Ted Bundy - homo sapien with a slight attitude

Jeffrey Dahmer - peculiarly-appetited loner

Hey, they make as much sense as "man caused disasters" and "overseas contingency operations" for terrorism and the War on Terrorism (which really ought to be the Crusade Against Juhadi Swine).





|| Greg, 09:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Raising the Smoking Age

I hate smoking. I find it a disgusting, dirty habit – and one that has taken the lives of many family and friends over the years. I would not be terribly upset to see the possession and use of tobacco banned for health reasons. That is not going to happen.

The state of Texas, though, is about to take a step that I oppose – raising the age for tobacco use to 19.

Though they are legally considered adults and can serve in the military, 18-year-old Texans would be considered minors when it comes to smoking under a bill passed unanimously through a Senate committee Tuesday.

The measure would increase the legal age for buying tobacco products to 19, and would cut off an estimated $12.5 million in tax revenue for the state over the next two years.

San Antonio Democrat Sen. Carlos Uresti pushed the same measure in 2007, but after winning approval in the Senate it fizzled out in an end of session backlog of bills in the House.

Supporters say raising the legal age will prevent teens from smoking an extra year and keep cigarettes out of high schools, where they can be passed along to younger students.

Let’s see – you can drive a car at 15 in this state. You can get married without parental permission at 18. You can join the military – even be drafted – at that age as well. Heck, you can vote. But we are not going to let you smoke? This is even more asinine than the law restricting alcohol to those over 21, because tobacco use does not raise the safety issue that alcohol does.

So it is really simple – ban tobacco, or let all adults buy and use it. And do the same for alcohol s well.





|| Greg, 05:51 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Prosecutorial Misconduct Leads To Stevens Exoneration

It seems like someone was out to get Ted Stevens – and was even open to suborning perjury and hiding evidence to get a conviction.

The Justice Department moved to dismiss former Sen. Ted Stevens' indictment this morning, effectively voiding his Oct. 27 conviction on seven counts of filing false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms.

The decision by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder comes after a new prosecution team discovered a previously undocumented interview with the star witness in the case that sharply contradicted the most dramatic testimony in the four-week trial. The information had never been turned over to the defense, the Justice Department said in its motion.

"After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial, Holder said in a statement released this morning. "In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial."

The government is seeking dismissal of the charges "with prejudice," meaning that they cannot be filed again.

Personally, I’m not sorry to see Ted Stevens out of public life. I think he was one of the things that has been wrong with the GOP in recent years. However, the method used – with the obvious impact on the 2008 senatorial election in Alaska – is most disturbing. It appears that there was a rogue element in the Justice Department that was more interested in scalps than in justice.

In the end, Stevens was convicted of trying to hide illegal gifts from political supporters and friends. What the evidence shows is that Stevens made serious efforts to get bills so that he could pay for the gifts. We now know that the Justice Department attorneys attempted to hide that from the court. Unfortunately, the Obama Justice Department has not committed to taking serious actions against those who perpetrated this manifest injustice.





|| Greg, 05:47 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Holder Turns Down Opinion From Best Legal Minds At Justice

Because, you know, they didn’t say what he wanted to hear on the issue of representation of the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives.

Justice Department lawyers concluded in an unpublished opinion earlier this year that the historic D.C. voting rights bill pending in Congress is unconstitutional, according to sources briefed on the issue. But Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who supports the measure, ordered up a second opinion from other lawyers in his department and determined that the legislation would pass muster.

* * *

In deciding that the measure is unconstitutional, lawyers in the department’s Office of Legal Counsel matched a conclusion reached by their Bush administration counterparts nearly two years ago, when a lawyer there testified that a similar bill would not withstand legal attack.
Holder rejected the advice and sought the opinion of the solicitor general’s office, where lawyers told him that they could defend the legislation if it were challenged after its enactment.

Quite a different standard between the two positions by the two sets of lawyers. One is examining it from the standard of “is it constitutional?” The other gave an answer based on the standard “is it defensible?” That is a big difference, friends – and that Holder would reject the advice of those he calls the best and the brightest in the Justice Department on the matter is rather telling. Especially since this has been the consistent opinion of the OLC dating back to roughly the Kennedy Administration. After all, the District of Columbia is, self-evidently, not a state, for if it were there would never have been a need to amend the Constitution to grant it electoral votes in a presidential election.

There are three ways to proceed here that are in keeping with the Constitution:

1) Pass an amendment giving the District representation in Congress.

2) Include the population of the District with Maryland for representation purposes, and give it representation in that manner (the territory of the District was granted to the Federal Government by Maryland over two centuries ago).

3) With the approval of Maryland, admit Washington, DC as a state.

And for those who argue that Congress should grant voting representation to the District, I’d like to ask why the same should not be granted to inhabitants of Puerto Rico, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and every other territory in which US citizens are denied the right to vote?





|| Greg, 05:44 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Car Steering

Years ago, I had a car that I loved. Believe it or not, it was a Mercury Lynx. What made me give that car up? Steering problems. No matter what we did to try to fix the problem, we just never quite managed to get the vehicle to steer right after I was hit by another driver -- and the cost of doing the job right was prohibitive.. This was pre-Internet, so I could have gotten my steering components at CarSteering.com. They have all the parts you could need at good prices, including things like steering rack s that are key to making sure that your car steers correctly.





|| Greg, 05:42 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Another Cheap Obama Gift

Good grief! What were members of Obama’s staff thinking? Like the Queen of England doesn’t have an iPod?

An Obama aide reports that Mr. Obama gave the queen an iPod loaded with video and photos of her 2007 trip to the United States, as well as other songs and accessories, and a rare songbook signed by Richard Rodgers, of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame.

According to reports, the queen gave the Obamas a silver framed signed photograph — a gift she gives to all visiting dignitaries.

Well, perhaps a bit better than the faux pas with the Browns, especially the Richard Rodgers songbook – but I’m sure that the BBC can readily supply Her Majesty with all the video of that 2007 visit that she could ever want – and we know that she probably has an iPod. Would someone get him to beef up his protocol staff so as to avoid any future such embarrassments?

H/T HotAir





|| Greg, 05:41 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Counseling For Couples

Marriage ain't easy. I mean, getting married is simple -- pay for a license, get someone to officiate and you are married. But it is the "happily ever after" part that is the difficult part. After all, you are looking to stay with someone for the rest of your life -- someone who you have believed you love and who you believed loves you. But there are some rough patches that come along in any marriage, and it is easy to start doubting that. Even the most loving of couples can drift in different directions without realizing it -- and some couples find themselves facing serious trouble over issues like infidelity. When such things happen, there may be a need for help from outside the marriage -- professional help from a trained counselor.

One of the problems that folks face in these situations is the issue of low self-esteem. After all, when you feel like the central relationship in your life is going to hell in a hand basket, your ego really takes a beating. Indeed, that is often the major issue that couples in counseling need to work on -- the low self-esteem of one or both members of the the relationship. That is why it is so important that in any marriage counseling situation that there is counseling for low self-esteem in marriages.





|| Greg, 05:35 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

In Defense Of Michelle Obama

Well, on this one point, anyway.

You’ll note that Michelle Obama failed to curtsey when she met the Queen. Dare I say “Good for you, Michelle!” Or perhaps “You go, girl!” We are Americans. We do not have royalty, nor do we engage in subservient rituals towards foreign royalty – we are not subjects. As such, I’d argue that Mrs. Obama took just the right approach here, behaving with grace and dignity – a point on which I disagree with at least one prominent conservative blogger who I generally admire.





|| Greg, 05:30 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Plumbing Help

Let's be honest -- there are some jobs around the house that a lot of folks don't feel comfortable doing. In my case, it would have to be plumbing work. I can do a little bit of basic carpentry, most anything that involves a screwdriver, and even some basic electrical work. But mess with the pipes? You must be kidding! Maybe it comes from having lived in a house that operated on a septic system that got overloaded one summer and repeatedly backed up the toilet into the room I was living in -- like after every rinse cycle of the washing machine.

That's why i like sites like this one helping to hook folks up with a well-qualified San Antonio plumber. Enter your name, address, and phone number and you will be contacted by one of the affiliated plumbers who will offer a bid for your plumbing work. If you are new in town, or if you just don't have a plumber with whom you have done business in the past, this is a great way of finding someone who will do the work you need with competence at a price you can afford. I wonder -- is there such a site for my neck of the woods?





|| Greg, 04:47 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||
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