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January 31, 2010

Obama Bows Again!

To the mayor of Tampa, Florida!

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Good grief! It is bad enough that he bows to foreign despots and potentates, but now he is offering such extreme deference to municipal officials? Or does he just have some sort of fetish that he feels compelled to check out everyone's feet?

H/T WeaselZippers





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

A Teacher Looks At OFA Internship Program

I'm a high school social studies teacher. As such, I have a lot of internship program/scholarship contest/ educational opportunity literature show up in my mailbox, hoping I'll distribute it to my students and encourage them to apply. As a rule I do -- especially the scholarship contests -- but I don't push any of them all that hard or target particular students. I don't screen for ideology, only for whether the opportunities appear to be from legitimate organizations and offer some bona fide academic benefit. I've even written recommendations to programs that have a slant I disagree with, simply because I believe that my students ought to take any opportunity for learning that comes to them. I do, however, refuse to pass a few on if something seems to be "not right" about the program or the sponsoring group.

Now I offer that preface because I'm about to join the chorus of folks on the right trashing the Organizing For America internship program. Pamela Geller over at Atlas Shrugs has raised some very important issues about the program, and i am more or less in agreement with her on what she has to say.

OFAAppCoverpage.jpg

If I had this show up in my mailbox, I would have trashed it in a heartbeat. Not because it is a project of Obama and the Democrats, but because it is an explicit political recruiting tool. As a teacher, I have an obligation to keep classroom from being turned into a tool for political recruitment or exploitation. That's why I keep my name off my blog, don't blog from school, and have even turned down several offers of goodies for my students when they came with partisan or candidate messages attached. If this had come my way during the Bush years, I'd have trashed it just as quickly.

What is the offensive part of the program? That cover page spells it out. it is explicitly partisan, and designed around promoting the agenda of a particular politician. Frankly, this teacher finds it scary that this would be promoted in a classroom. Indeed, I'd really like to hear more from Geller about the manner in which this seems to have been done in one Ohio school -- was this one teacher giving the material to her class, one school distributing the material to all students, or what? Regardless, though, this should not be pushed by staff at school, or distributed by school personnel.

On the other hand, I don't have nearly the problem with the existence of the program that some folks do. As wrong-headed as Obama's policies are, I'm all for its supporters working to implement those policies. After all, that is a part of what makes America the great nation it is -- citizen involvement in politics. I cut my political teeth as a volunteer with the Reagan campaign as a high school student, so I applaud the involvement of these young people in the process. And if I find the Alinsky/ACORN model that this program is using to be rather frightening, I think that enough Americans have turned against the Obama platform that teaching the method to the kids is likely going to do little to advance Obama's goals.





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Steele Not A Candidate

Like this should be a surprise to anyone?

"Come on, don't ask me that," Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said when presented with the inevitable question about his 2012 intentions and if his political aspirations included running for the White House next time around.

And that was just the first of several different ways Steele said that he would not be a candidate in 2012.

Like that should come as a surprise to anyone. I don't know anyone who has ever seriously suggested such a thing -- and i say that as a Michael Steele fan. And while I grant that a single term as RNC chairman and a single term as lieutenant Governor of Maryland makes him eminently more qualified than Barack Obama was in 2008 (and, for that matter, more competent than Obama will be in any future year), Steele simply is not on anyone's radar screen within the GOP for 2012.





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January 30, 2010

On Personal Concerns And Professional Attacks

When I got home from school on Thursday, my darling wife was not feeling well. Given that she had a recent bout with a serious respiratory infection that took weeks to shake, I was concerned.

Within couple of hours, she got worse, necessitating a trip to the ER. She was admitted later that night and spent all of yesterday in the hospital, suffering from the effects of a stomach bug that had left her dehydrated and exhausted. Late last night, I got to bring her home, rehydrated and feeling better, if not completely well. She has been, and remains, my primary focus right now.

Needless to say, I haven't been following much on the net -- indeed, I was on only briefly while on a quick trip home to allow the dog out to take care of her needs, and posted only to explain why comment closed. Frankly, it was more attention than I wanted to pay to my website, but was sadly necessary to protect myself from the unethical activities of another individual.

I'm not planning on backing down from expressing my views, and I'm not going to allow the my site to be the platform for a series of personal attacks on me. I'm therefore reluctantly keeping the comments closed for the foreseeable future.

Now how are these two things connected, that I would comment on them in one post? Simple -- any attack on me that attempts to damage me personally and/or professionally is nothing less than an attack on my ability to care for my wife, who is is disabled due to chronic medical issues. That seems to be a pattern here -- rather than refute my positions, this particular individual and those of his ilk seem intent upon making another assault upon my civil liberties by interfering with my employment. They have tried before and failed, and they should be aware that I do have legal counsel on standby to deal with such issues if they arise again in the future.

In other words, maybe I'll be back to posting later this afternoon or this evening. Left-wing fascists are not going to shut me down.





|| Greg, 10:24 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 29, 2010

Closing Comments

Looks to me like an old nemesis is setting up sock puppet accounts to create a "dialogue" of comments to denounce me on my own blog. Repeated comments from different email addresses are coming from the same IP address within minutes of each other in order to insult me and defame me and expose personal and professional information about me on my website. if you have a comment for me, please feel free to email it to me and I will consider posting it if it has merit.





|| Greg, 09:00 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 28, 2010

My Reaction To Obama’s “State Of The Loser” Speech

Believe it or not, I dozed off before the speech started -- and after watching part of it before heading to work this morning, I realize I would have likely done so during the speech (like Justice Ginsburg did) if I had made it that long into the night.

I did have a chance to read the speech during lunch today. The main thing I agreed with was his point on gays in the military. In large part it seemed like he is either completely oblivious to what Americans are saying about his policy initiatives -- or he just doesn't care what the American people want. And much of it just seems to lack sincerity – but then again, many of us have wondered if Barack Obama is sincere about anything he says other than “I”, “me”, and “my”.

My biggest peeve about the speech was the way he misrepresented the Citizens United decision handed down by the Supreme Court -- he said that it left no limits on political spending by corporations (it does -- no contributions to candidates are permitted) and that it allowed foreign corporations to attempt to influence American elections (Justice Kennedy explicitly said it does not in the opinion of the court). If Obama, a former constitutional law instructor at a major university law school, could actually make that assertion then I'm inclined to question either his professional competence or personal honesty. And those folks who were offended by Justice Alito saying "not true" to one of his colleagues (Justice Sotomayor, I believe) when that assertion was made should be thankful that Alito didn't do like Congressman Joe Wilson did during the health care speech last year by standing up and shouting "You lie!" After all, Obama did.





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

A Letter To Obama From A 95-Year-Old Veteran

And from Obama’s home state of Hawaii, no less.

Dear President Obama,

My name is Harold Estes, approaching 95 on December 13 of this year. People meeting me for the first time don't believe my age because I remain wrinkle free and pretty much mentally alert.

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1934 and served proudly before, during and after WW II retiring as a Master Chief Bos'n Mate. Now I live in a "rest home" located on the western end of Pearl Harbor, allowing me to keep alive the memories of 23 years of service to my country.

One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man. So here goes.

I am amazed, angry and determined not to see my country die before I do, but you seem hell bent not to grant me that wish.

I can't figure out what country you are the president of.

You fly around the world telling our friends and enemies despicable lies like: "We're no longer a Christian nation" "America is arrogant" -- (Your wife even announced to the world, "America is mean- spirited." Please tell her to try preaching that nonsense to 23 generations of our war dead buried all over the globe who died for no other reason than to free a whole lot of strangers from tyranny and hopelessness.)

I'd say shame on the both of you, but I don’t think you like America, nor do I see an ounce of gratefulness in anything you do, for the obvious gifts this country has given you. To be without shame or gratefulness is a dangerous thing for a man sitting in the White House.

After 9/11 you said, "America hasn’t lived up to her ideals."

Which ones did you mean? Was it the notion of personal liberty that 11,000 farmers and shopkeepers died for to win independence from the British? Or maybe the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man, that 500,000 men died for in the Civil War? I hope you didn't mean the ideal 470,000 fathers, brothers, husbands, and a lot of fellas I knew personally died for in WWII, because we felt real strongly about not letting any nation push us around, because we stand for freedom.

I don't think you mean the ideal that says equality is better than discrimination. You know the one that a whole lot of white people understood when they helped to get you elected.

Take a little advice from a very old geezer, young man.

Shape up and start acting like an American. If you don't, I'll do what I can to see you get shipped out of that fancy rental on Pennsylvania Avenue. You were elected to lead not to bow, apologize and kiss the hands of murderers and corrupt leaders who still treat their people like slaves.

And just who do you think you are telling the American people not to jump to conclusions and condemn that Muslim major who killed 13 of his fellow soldiers and wounded dozens more. You mean you don’t want us to do what you did when that white cop used force to subdue that black college professor in Massachusetts, who was putting up a fight? You don’t mind offending the police calling them stupid but you don’t want us to offend Muslim fanatics by calling them what they are, terrorists.

One more thing. I realize you never served in the military and never had to defend your country with your life, but you're the Commander-in-Chief now, son. Do your job. When your battle-hardened field General asks you for 40,000 more troops to complete the mission, give them to him. But if you're not in this fight to win, then get out. The life of one American soldier is not worth the best political strategy you're thinking of.

You could be our greatest president because you face the greatest challenge ever presented to any president.

You're not going to restore American greatness by bringing back our bloated economy. That's not our greatest threat. Losing the heart and soul of who we are as Americans is our big fight now.

And I sure as hell don't want to think my president is the enemy in this final battle.
Sincerely,

Harold B. Estes

Bravo, Master Chief! Having grown up the son of a Navy officer, I’d like to say that you again prove to me something that I heard from my father more than once – that senior enlisted men are not just the backbone of the different branches of the armed forces, but also the repository of a great deal of the common sense wisdom that exists within our nation’s military.

And thank you for your service to our nation – both then and now.





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None Dare Call It Astroturf From Educrats

When an organization calls itself "Parent PAC" and claims it is the voice of "parents, grandparents, parents-to-be, and anyone who loves children and supports high quality public education", you would think that it is a grassroots organization made up primarily of parents, right? Not this one down here in Texas, unless by "parents" you mean school officials and Democrat insiders.

After all, here's how Texas Parent PAC bills itself.

Texas Parent PAC is a bipartisan political action committee for parents, grandparents, parents-to-be, and anyone who loves children and supports high quality public education. Parents are fed up with the inability of state lawmakers to support children in the manner they deserve and our constitution requires. It’s time for some changes at the state Capitol in Austin!

And here's where the money comes from according to its semi-annual report.

January Semi-Annual:
Clifford Brown (goes by "Buster" - mayor of Corsicana, lots of cash to Democrats), $1000, 11/25/2009
Elna Christopher (Texas Association of Counties, Director of Media Relations), $100, 11/27/2009
Patricia Conradt (Chief of Staff for Rep. Joe Heflin, D-Crosbyton), $100, 12/1/2009
Sandy Dochen (Public relations), $100, 11/16/2009
Laura Fowler (Lawyer), $100, 10/10/2009
Susan Griffith (Realtor), $100, 11/17/2009
Eliu M. Hinojosa (Superintendent, Dallas ISD), $100, 12/15/2009
Shanna Igo (Texas Municipal League, Director of Legislative Services), $500, 11/17/2009
Dr. Melody Johnson (Superintendent, Fort Worth ISD), $250, 12/26/2009
Sandra Kibby (Wholesale Beverage Distributor), $100, 11/24/2009
Sara Leon (Lawyer), $100, 10/10/2009
Sherrie Matula (Educational Science Consultant and former Democrat candidate for state rep), $250, 10/3/2009
Ken McCraw (Executive Director, Texas Association of Community Schools), $250, 11/12/2009
Pam(e) Noland (District Services Coordinator, New Deal ISD), $100, 10/10/2009
Blake Powell (Lawyer), $100, 10/10/2009
Pat Pringle (Executive Director, Region XIII Education Svc. Center), $100, 12/1/2009
Gwendolyn Santiago (Executive Director, Texas Association of School Business Officials), $100, 12/23/2009
Guy Sconzo (Superintendent, Humble ISD), $100, 12/1/2009
Dr. Henry Scott (Superintendent, Denison ISD), $75, 12/1/2009
Gene Sheets (Superintendent, Muleshoe ISD), $100, 10/6/2009

So if by "parents, grandparents, parents-to-be, and anyone who loves children and supports high quality public education" you mean "education insiders and Democrat activists", then I guess they are not lying about who the PAC serves. But don't claim to be grassroots -- acknowledge the astroturf. Heck, I keep looking for Ellie Light to show up as a donor.

Not that I mind these folks spending money to engage in political speech. Its just the deceptiveness of the thing.

Interestingly enough, by the standards of this group, I don't love children or support high quality public education. But then what do I know? I'm only a public school teacher!





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January 27, 2010

This Strikes Me As Utterly Unnecessary

After all, the First Amendment and a Supreme Court ruling that the underlying law is unconstitutional would seem to make a ruling by a regulatory agency superfluous.

A conservative legal foundation on Wednesday asked federal regulators to give a green light to corporations and unions to begin spending their treasuries to influence this year's congressional elections.

The James Madison Center for Free Speech asked the Federal Election Commission to formally throw out its rules that restrict corporate and union spending on politics, saying the step is needed to implement last week's Supreme Court decision freeing such groups to get more directly involved in election campaigns.

"This is an election year," said James Bopp, the center's attorney. "Speakers will want to exercise the First Amendment rights to political speech" outlined in last week's decision, he said, "so the FEC should adopt these regulations quickly."

But the entire statutory authority for the initial set of regulations is gone, so the regulations are invalid. And since the Citizens United case held that the First Amendment prohibits the regulation of corporate speech about candidates, there is no basis for issuing new regulations.

In other words, they can spend what they want, and the FEC doesn’t have anything to say on the matter.





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Will The Astros Offer Him A Contract?

Lord knows they need pitching – and this guy could certainly hit the strike zone.

n Israeli man hurled his sneakers at Israel’s Supreme Court chief justice on Wednesday during a hearing on medical marijuana, hitting her between the eyes, breaking her glasses and knocking her off her chair.

Dorit Beinisch, who is in her late 60s, was not seriously hurt, and the incident appeared to be an isolated one, though there have been rising numbers of threats against the judiciary.

The judge was hit by the first shoe and knocked to the ground as the second one flew overhead, witness Michael Eden said.

Eden said the assailant, a man with thinning gray hair, tossed the shoes from the fourth row of the packed courtroom, about 65 feet (20 meters) from the bench, while yelling “you’re corrupt, a traitor, because of you I lost everything.”

Of course, what happened here is utterly unacceptable. Still, you have to respect his accuracy over that distance.





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

This Is All Many Of Us Really Want

I’m not a believer in man-caused global warming. Don’t get me wrong – I do believe that there is an overall warming trend, but my recognition of recorded fluctuations during recorded history leads me to conclude that what we are seeing is cyclical climate change of a natural sort. Unfortunately, that leads to denunciations of my position in terms usually reserved for Holocaust deniers and child molesters. Rather than convincing me to change my stance, this instead serves to convince me I’m right because my opponents appear unwilling to defend their assertions and answer my arguments.

But here is someone in a position of authority who is raising some of the same issues I have from a position of scientific authority.

The impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the Government’s chief scientific adviser.

John Beddington was speaking to The Times in the wake of an admission by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that it grossly overstated the rate at which Himalayan glaciers were receding.

Professor Beddington said that climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming. He condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports.

He said that public confidence in climate science would be improved if there were more openness about its uncertainties, even if that meant admitting that sceptics had been right on some hotly-disputed issues.

Beddington notes that data is being suppressed, limitations of the science are being ignored, and shrill name-calling is often substituted for rational argumentation by the supporters of global warming.

But beyond that, let’s not forget that science is never settled. It wasn’t when Galileo was condemned for his heretical ideas, and it isn’t today.





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

Moving Backwards Under Obama

We have this news about the future of America’s space program.

no-we-cant-moon.jpg



• More than a week ago ScienceInsider reported that the Ares I rocket would be scrapped and that NASA would get a $1 billion boost to expedite development of a heavy-lift launcher that could take humans to the moon, asteroids and the moons of Mars.


• Then, on Friday, Space News reported NASA would not even get the $1 billion budget increase. (And note that the $1 billion was just a fraction of the $3 billion annually the Augustine committee said NASA needed to have a meaningful human spaceflight program.)


• On Sunday the Wall Street Journal also reported that NASA would not get a significant budget increase this year, and that the space agency will be outsourcing its need to carry astronauts to the space station to private contractors.


For NASA proper this is about the worst of all worlds. If the latest reports are correct, and they dovetail with what I have heard from industry contacts, not only will NASA be getting no significant new money for human space exploration, it will also see the Ares I rocket program terminated.

In other words, manned spaceflight for the US seems to be at an impasse, with only astronauts transiting to the ISS for the foreseeable future. This despite Barack Obama’s promises of increased NASA funding during the campaign.

Of course, we do get this little bit of idiocy ignoring Obama’s broken promises (and instead blaming the local GOP representatives from districts with NASA facilities) from a local NASA employee better known for something other than his professional competence.

In the mean time, we also get this bit of information.

India will launch its first manned mission in 2016 with two astronauts for a week-long odyssey in space, a top Indian space agency official said on Wednesday.

"We are planning a human space flight in 2016, with two astronauts who will spend seven days in the earth's lower orbit," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K. Radhakrishnan told reporters here.

Space scientists and senior officials of the state-run ISRO are preparing a pre-project report to build the infrastructure and facilities for the mission, estimated to cost a whopping Rs.124 billion ($2.76 billion).

Congratulations, America! You are now officially behind India in space exploration.

Barack Obama. Promises Made. Promises Broken.





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

Headlines I Hate

I always want to scream when I see this sort of thing from a news source.

U.S. in Secret Joint Operations With Yemeni Troops

I’m not going to go so far as to call it “aid and comfort to the enemy”, but I do have to wonder if these folks would have printed stories in May, 1944 headlined “Allies Prepare For Secret Normandy Invasion”.





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January 26, 2010

But If She Wanted An Abortion, It Would Have Been No Big Deal

I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I am pro-life when it comes to the issue of abortion. And while I might not be as absolutist as others on the issue, I do think that the state ought to be able to limit or prohibit late-term abortions.

That said, the generally libertarian side of my conservative political philosophy takes great offense at what amounted to the court-ordered imprisonment of a woman to prevent her from engaging in legal activities that the doctor believed would endanger her child.

Samantha Burton wanted to leave the hospital. Her doctor strongly disagreed, enough to go to court to keep her there.

She smoked cigarettes during the first six months of her pregnancy and was admitted on a false alarm of premature labor. Her doctor argued she was risking a miscarriage if she didn't quit smoking immediately and stay on bed rest in the hospital, and a judge agreed.

Three days after the judge ordered her not to leave the hospital, Burton delivered a stillborn fetus by cesarian-section.

Whoa! Under the currently existing rulings of the US Supreme Court, Burton had the right to terminate her pregnancy. What’s more, Burton had an absolute right to travel where she chose to seek medical treatment in another state where a late term abortion might be performed. No state could order her held in custody to prevent her from engaging in that legal (if morally reprehensible) activity in another state.

So if Burton had a legal right to kill this child via abortion, on what possible grounds does a doctor and a judge order her imprisoned against her will until she delivers her child so as to prevent her from engaging in other legal behaviors that may or may not harm her unborn child?

Frankly, I’m with the ACLU on this one.

American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Diana Kasdan said if the ruling stands it could lead to the state virtually taking over the lives of pregnant women, including telling them what they should or should not eat and drink and what medications they must take.

"It would be a horrible precedent," Kasdan said.

Indeed, this plays into every feminist fantasy of government control of pregnant women.

And one more thing – if government force someone to get medical treatment not of their choosing now, just imagine what things will look like if something resembling ObamaCare gets enacted. With the government paying the bills and determining what treatments you are allowed, it is only one more step to government telling you what treatments you are required to accept because it has determined that such treatment benefits society at large.

And let’s not forget – this is not a case of a plague carrier being subjected to quarantine. This is government dictating to someone with a non-contagious condition when there is a bona fide difference of opinion even among medical professionals as to the proper course of treatment. Whatever happened to patient’s rights when it comes to directing their own medical care? Or the unalienable right to liberty that is at the heart of our founding documents?

Interesting commentary from a different perspective over at Founding Bloggers.





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

Even Indonesians Hate Obama!

Gotta love it!

Indonesian authorities said Monday they are considering a petition to tear down a statue of US President Barack Obama as a boy, only a month after the bronze was unveiled in Jakarta.

The statue of "Little Barry" -- as Obama was known when he lived in the capital in the late 1960s -- stands in central Jakarta's Menteng Park, a short walk from the US president's former elementary school.

Critics say the site should have been used to honour an Indonesian and 55,000 people have joined a page on social networking website Facebook calling for the statue to be removed.

"We've been discussing for the past two weeks what to do with the statue... whether to take it down, move it elsewhere or retain it. We're finding the best solution," Jakarta parks agency official Dwi Bintarto said.

I guess that the alumni association from the school where Barry Sotero was enrolled as a Muslim doesn’t have much pull with the Indonesian government.

Let’s make a deal – Indonesia takes down the statue now, and We the People will take down Obama in 2012 (after taking the Democrats down this fall).





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

Dems Think They Can Win On This Stuff?

If they do, then we can expect the GOP to control both the House and Senate a year from now.

Democrats are looking for someone to blame for their electoral woes — and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Menendez is working hard to make sure it’s not him.

Showing that they’ve learned the lesson of Massachusetts, Menendez and his staff will distribute a memo Tuesday advising Democratic campaign managers to frame their opponents early — and to drive a wedge between moderate voters and tea-party-style conservatives.

* * *

The memo urges Democratic candidates to force their opponents to answer a series of questions on health care, taxes and some of the favorite causes of the far right:

“Do you believe that Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen? Do you think the 10th Amendment bars Congress from issuing regulations like minimum health care coverage standards? Do you think programs like Social Security and Medicare represent socialism and should never have been created in the first place? Do you think President Obama is a socialist? Do you think America should return to a gold standard?”

I’d be horrified if I were not so terribly amused. The content of the memo insults most conservatives and independents, and utterly misrepresents what went on in Massachusetts last week.

Let’s look at these questions, though:

Do you believe that Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen? Oh, puh-leeez! The folks who accept the various forms of Birtherism constitute a small minority – and the issue didn’t play a factor at all in Massachusetts. As I’ve pointed out many times, the arguments against Obama’s citizenship are few and weak, and accepted by only a fringe.

Do you think the 10th Amendment bars Congress from issuing regulations like minimum health care coverage standards? I think that most Republicans would argue that the 10th Amendment forbids the sort of expansive policy that Democrats have been pushing over the last year, the Constitution as a whole does allow the federal government some limited role in health care under the Interstate Commerce Clause. And let’s be honest – the election in Massachusetts turned in large part upon people being fed up with government expansion, so I don’t see how this issue helps them at all.

Do you think programs like Social Security and Medicare represent socialism and should never have been created in the first place? This is perhaps the one issue that could be a winner for Dems if Republicans are not careful. But a little common sense in responding makes it easy to avoid the trap – there might be room to argue about whether or not the programs were wise policy choices, but the real issue is that their constant expansion has become financially ruinous and necessitates serious reform for each. Democrats, however, have been unwilling to seriously talk about reforming either because they are beholden to special interest groups and want to expand these programs even further, despite their coming insolvency.

Do you think President Obama is a socialist? No, though I do think some of his policies lurch towards socialism. But I really don’t believe that Barack Obama has the intellectual heft or philosophical consistency to be a true socialist. Rather, I believe him to be an empty suit who will do or say anything it takes to gain more power.

Do you think America should return to a gold standard? Given the rapid inflation that has taken hold since the US quit tying the value of the dollar to certain precious metals, an argument could be made for doing so, and it might be something worth discussing. If not gold, then pegging the dollar to some durable commodity might be useful – but any such change would have to be done carefully and only with serious consideration for negative consequences.

The thing is, though, these questions don’t resonate with the average GOP primary voter – or with the public at large. And most (though not all) tea party supporters operate with a high level of sophistication and common sense, and won’t be taken in by this sort of thing.





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Obama Misses The Obvious

By limiting himself to only two possibilities, he ignores the reality of his presidency.

"I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president," he told ABC's "World News" anchor Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview today.

Fortunately, America has Charles Krauthamer to point out that other option.

It is hard to argue anything other than that Barack Obama has been a mediocre one-term president during his first year, with few accomplishments and many glaring weaknesses.





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He’s What The People Want

When the race for Senate in Florida began, GOP insiders decided to back Governor Charlie Crist and urged Marco Rubio to get out of the race.

Rubio stayed in – and now the race is tied.

Former Florida legislator Marco Rubio has closed the gap in the race for the state's Republican U.S. Senate nomination and is in a virtual dead heat with Gov. Charlie Crist, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Rubio, a lawyer who served as Speaker of the House, was once considered a long shot against Crist, who has widespread name recognition and a significant fundraising lead. But with Florida's primary seven months away, Rubio was favored by 47 percent compared with 44 percent who preferred Crist - statistically a tie in the Quinnipiac University poll that has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

The random telephone survey, which included 673 GOP voters, was conducted Jan. 20-24.

"The horse race numbers are not a fluke," said Peter Brown, assistant polling director for Quinnipiac in Connecticut. "Rubio's grassroots campaigning among Republican activists around the state clearly has paid off."

How effective has Rubio been with the grassroots? Effective enough that he has been endorsed by virtually every county GOP in the state – including in Crist’s home county, where he traditionally has a strong base of support.

But maybe the GOP insiders had the right idea last year when they urged an uncontested primary to prevent intra-party bloodshed. If so, then we should soon hear the same voices that urged Rubio to withdraw to issue a similar call for Crist to quit the race in the name of party unity.





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The Onion Crosses A Line

I like The Onion. I’ve linked to it from time to time because I find it to be a good, humorous site. I don’t even mind when it pokes fun at my beliefs and my heroes. But you know, there are lines of taste that should not be crossed.

And one piece posted yesterday that really does cross that line. It is a column allegedly by Rush Limbaugh.

Now I don’t think that Rush is a sacred icon, and I have no problem with a little bit of humor at his expense. But putting these words into the mouth of any living human being goes beyond any reasonable boundary of humor and common decency.

You know what? I wish someone would just kill me. I'm serious. Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking: "Oh my God, how can you say such a thing? You can't print that in a newspaper!" But see, I don't care anymore. I've cried my tears. I've battled my demons, and I've lost. It's over. It's all over. The only thing left for me to do now is just go away. Have I even once contributed a single ounce of good to humanity? Put me out of my misery. I wouldn't make a fuss. I wouldn't even humiliate myself by saying goodbye. For the first time in my odious, pitiful life, I'd accept my fate with quiet dignity.

Now a certain class of low-life liberal has wished death in all manner of ways upon Limbaugh for years. But to put into the man’s mouth an invitation to the world to murder him is appalling. What’s more, I can’t imagine any responsible periodical or website, even a humorous one like The Onion, putting those words in the mouth of Keith Olbermann or any other living public figure.

Indeed, let’s use the following as the gold standard of what is appropriate – if anyone claimed that these were the words of Barack Obama, would the Secret Service be paying them a call because their words could be interpreted as a solicitation for his assassination? If one can reasonably say that it would, then it ought not be put out there about any individual.





|| Greg, 05:10 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

I Hate Stories Like This

Bright guy, dumb move.

A Catholic priest was arrested on alleged shoplifting charges at Wal-Mart Friday, a West City Police Department spokeswoman said.

The Rev. Steven F. Poole, 41, is charged with two counts of felony theft, after he was allegedly caught on camera failing to scan a $3.22 container of butter and a $60 sofa cover, the spokeswoman said.

After leaving the self-checkout lane, Poole allegedly headed to the store's bedding department and picked up a memory foam mattress. He returned to the self-checkout lane where he was allegedly observed on tape switching the pricing bar code, causing the $144.88 item to be scanned for $30.88.

Once at the police station, Poole was found to be in possession of a laptop computer power pack, also allegedly taken from store, the spokeswoman said.

Stories like this just make my heart sink – after all, one does expect clergy to live to a higher standard than this.

And given that I actually know Steve, it breaks my heart even more. Had I not left the seminary to teach (and then gotten married), we would likely have been ordained together. The Steve Poole I knew 15 years ago was a bright guy with a bright future ahead of him.

I’m not going to defend Steve – but I will offer my prayers for him. Something is clearly troubling him, and I’d prefer to offer my spiritual assistance rather than make sport of a sad situation. I hope you can find it in your hearts to do the same.





|| Greg, 04:47 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

It was a good week at the Watcher's Council, with some fine entries on both sides of the competition. Here are the final results.

Winning Council Submissions


Winning Non-Council Submissions



(T*) – Indicates a Tie.

(D*) – The Razor received a 2/3 point penalty in his council submission for failing to vote in this week’s contest.

Take the time to read these posts -- they contain some fascinating food for thought.





|| Greg, 09:18 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 24, 2010

Two More Observations On The Citizens United Decision

For all of those wailing and gnashing their teeth over the Citizens United case upholding the First Amendment and striking down a number of provisions of our nation's campaign finance laws as unconstitutional, I'd like to suggest that you consider reading the opinion of the court written by Justice Kennedy. Take, for example, the sort of things that Justice Kennedy notes are allowed under the law that was struck down.

The law before us is an outright ban, backed by criminal sanctions. Section 441b makes it a felony for all corporations — including nonprofit advocacy corporations—either to expressly advocate the election or defeat of candidates or to broadcast electioneering communications within 30days of a primary election and 60 days of a general election. Thus, the following acts would all be felonies under §441b: The Sierra Club runs an ad, within the crucial phase of 60 days before the general election, that exhorts the public to disapprove of a Congressman who favors logging in national forests; the National Rifle Association publishes a book urging the public to vote for the challenger because the incumbent U. S. Senator supports a handgun ban; and the American Civil Liberties Union creates a Web site telling the public to vote for a Presidential candidate in light of that candidate’s defense of free speech. These prohibitions are classic examples of censorship.

If that does not cause folks to stop and think, nothing will. Does anyone really believe that it is within the power of government to criminally punish the creation of books, movies, television shows, advertisements, flyers, and websites that communicate a political message? Does anyone really believe that government ought to be allowed to not merely censor such speech, but also jail or fine those engaged in it?

If you do, then I suggest to you that you engage in a little bit of political speech yourself, urging a Constitutional Amendment so as to overrule the decision in Citizens United and create a constitutional order more in keeping with your stunted view of liberty. Might I suggest the following text as a starting point for your movement?

Section 1 -- Unfettered speech and expression, being a danger to the maintenance of the political, social, and economic status quo, may be regulated and/or banned in any manner deemed appropriate by the Legislative and Executive branches of the Federal Government and by the several states and their political subdivisions.

Section 2 -- The First Amendment of the United States Constitution is hereby repealed, and all constitutional protections of freedom of speech, press, assembly and religion are hereby eliminated.

I recognize that such a proposal may seem radical, but it is the natural extension of any philosophy that takes a clear statement indicating that government "shall make no law" abridging certain rights and interprets it as allowing for the passage of laws that allow for precisely such abridgments.

Oh, and I'd like to point out for those who find something nefarious in Justice Kennedy's opinion that today's Washington Post notes that Kennedy has long been a justice who adheres to a philosophy that attempts to provide the maximum amount of liberty possible. While certainly no libertarian, Kennedy has been consistently moving towards this sort of holding on the extent of the First Amendment for years.





|| Greg, 11:31 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 23, 2010

"Almost As Big As Me"

This is certainly not information I as on any news broadcast I'm watching!

And that would clearly fall into the "too much information" category.





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

Requiem For A Friend

For the last few days, I've been wrestling with the loss of a friend.

gabrielle.png


Gabrielle was a gifted teacher, a loving friend, and source of joy for virtually every person blessed to cross her path. Indeed, I can't think of anyone who lived and loved life more fully than she. The three years she and I taught across the hall from one another were never boring, and will always be treasured in my heart.

And much to the shock and sadness of so many of us who had the privilege of knowing her and loving her, Gabrielle passed away suddenly and unexpectedly over the MLK Day weekend.

For a taste of this dear soul, you can look here -- her blog from last summer's bicycle tour of France.

I still don't have the right words to express what is in my heart fully, so as her family and friends lay her to rest in her hometown today, I think I should just let Toby Keith say it better than I can.

I'm gonna miss that smile
I'm gonna miss you my friend
Even though it hurts the way it ended up
I'd do it all again
So play it sweet in Heaven
Cause that's right where you wanna be
I'm not cryin' 'cause I feel so sorry for you
I'm cryin' for me





|| Greg, 12:00 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 22, 2010

I Find This Troubling

Now I know nothing about this candidate. I don’t know anything about his stands on the issues, or whether he has espoused Birtherism. I don’t know whether Scott Brown endorsed him, thought about endorsing him, or never decided whether or not to endorse him. It simply does not matter to me.

No, what I find to be rather troubling is this little detail from the stories about the controversy.

Police were called to Hudak's neighborhood in 2008 when he posted flyers of then-candidate Obama as Osama bin Laden.

Excuse me? Police were called because he put up a sign or fliers in his yard during an election? Why? Because they were insulting to Obama or offended the neighbors?

Am I the only one troubled that the police were called to investigate uncomplimentary political speech? Would someone explain to me exactly what the crime was there, and why the cops did not simply quote the First Amendment back to the would-be censors? After all, the First Amendment still applies in Massachusetts.





|| Greg, 01:35 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Arlen Specter -- Sexist

Squeal like a (male chauvinist) pig, Arlen.

The exchange, broadcast on 1210 AM's Dom Giordano Show [but not archived on the station's site], began when Specter challenged Bachmann to articulate what, exactly, she stands for, according to a readout on the clash published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's lively Early Returns blog.

Bachmann first laid out her agenda -- cutting taxes and killing President Obama's health reform bill -- at considerable length.

When Specter tried to counter, Bachmann, darling of the Tea Party movement, kept on talking, which didn't sit well with the one-time Philadelphia DA, who is a stickler for politeness and protocol.

"I'm going to treat you like a lady," Mr. Specter shot back. "Now act like one."
Ms. Bachmann replied, "I am a lady."

Things went on along this line for a while -- with Specter later asking Bachmann to "act like a lady," according to the PPG's Daniel Malloy.

Whoa! There would be Hell to pay if a Republican talked to a Democrat woman like this.

Would Arlen Specter say something like this to an aggressive male colleague? Or even to an aggressive female colleague on the Left? Then what makes him think he can drop it on a Republican?





|| Greg, 05:22 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 21, 2010

Pulitzer Material?

Well, I suppose it could be, given that it brought down one of the biggest politicians in the Democrat party -- a story roundly ignored by the MSM -- and uncovered a major campaign finance scandal.

The executive editor of the National Enquirer says he plans to enter his paper's work on the John Edwards scandal for a Pulitzer Prize.

Don't laugh.

"It's clear we should be a contender for this," Barry Levine said by phone Thursday, hours after the former presidential candidate admitted what the paper had been reporting all along: that he is the father of Rielle Hunter's baby. "The National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid, was able to publish this reporting."

While the staff never doubted its reports that Edwards had fathered a daughter with his former campaign videographer, Levine said, "there is vindication, finally. Mr. Edwards kept the story alive much longer than it needed to be kept alive with his denials. He has only himself to blame."

Unfortunately, much of this story was uncovered and reported in prior years, and the Pulitzer Prize to be awarded later this year is for reporting in 2009. Still, it strikes me that thee ought to be some sort of award -- perhaps a one-time special award -- for this story, in light of the fact that only the National Enquirer was willing to cover it at all for so very long, and only that paper kept the story alive when the powers-that-be in journalism and politics wanted it buried.





|| Greg, 09:41 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

The End Of An Error

Put a fork in it -- it's done.

It is with the greatest regret, on behalf of our Board, that we must announce that Air America Media is ceasing its live programming operations as of this afternoon, and that the Company will file soon under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business.

There was no demand from the listening public and no talent from the hosts. What's more, there was no money -- the network was plagued by financial irregularities from day one.

And now it is gone.

My question is this, speaking from the perspective of a subscriber to Sirius/XM -- does this mean that America Left, the most amusing of all the comedy channels, will have to come up with new shows?





|| Greg, 09:26 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Worst Kept Secret In America

When everybody knows it, is there any reason to keep it secret any longer?

Guess not.

For the first time, John Edwards is publicly admitting that he is indeed the father of a 2-year-old daughter conceived with Rielle Hunter, a campaign videographer with whom he had an affair.

In a written statement provided exclusively to NBC News, the former North Carolina senator and Democratic presidential candidate says he’s taking responsibility for the child, Frances Quinn Hunter:

“I am Quinn’s father. I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves. I have been able to spend time with her during the past year and trust that future efforts to show her the love and affection she deserves can be done privately and in peace.

It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me. I have been providing financial support for Quinn and have reached an agreement with her mother to continue providing support in the future.

To all those I have disappointed and hurt these words will never be enough, but I am truly sorry.”

Of course, there is still that little matter of supporting your mistress and child with campaign donations...





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

A Double Standard At Work

Muslims can condemn the US president, praise Muslim dictators, and engage in all manner of suspicious behavior on airplanes in this country without being removed from airplanes – and get windfall legal settlements if they do.

On the other hand, polite Jewish kids who pray in a traditional manner on a plane will be cause for diverting the flight for an emergency landing , and will be removed from the plane for further investigation.

No, I’m not kidding. Really!

A teenage airplane passenger using a Jewish prayer object caused a misunderstanding that led the captain to divert the Kentucky-bound plane to Philadelphia and prompted a visit from a bomb squad.

A 17-year-old boy on US Airways Express Flight 3079 traveling from New York to Louisville was using tefillin, a set of black boxes attached to leather straps and containing biblical passages, said Philadelphia police Lt. Frank Vanore.

When used in prayer, one box is strapped to the arm while the other box is placed on the head.

"It's something that the average person is not going to see very often, if ever," FBI spokesman J.J. Klaver said.

The teen explained the ritual after being questioned by crew members, but the captain decided to land in Philadelphia anyway, authorities said.

Whoa. The kid explained it, but the captain declared an emergency anyway? Are you kidding? Couldn’t someone in the control tower just have called a rabbi to find out about this stuff? Or better yet, just look it up on the internet?

And as for the idiot from the FBI saying that the average person will not see such a thing very often, I think that is a stretch. While you might not see it in person, it is very likely that you will see the phylacteries in use in movies, on television shows, and in news photos. Take this as an example.

western-wall-on-tisha-b-av-05-cc-Aaron-Wenner[1].jpg

Now I won’t accuse the pilot of anti-Semitism. I don’t think that was at work here. Instead, I think this is an example of PC run amok – the pilot deciding that any concern raised about any passenger demanded the same treatment that a suspicious-acting Muslim would get, even though the explanation provided was perfectly reasonable and easily verifiable. You know, the same reason we treat Congressional Medal of Honor winners and elderly nuns the same way we treat guys matching the profile of the Crotch Bomber (or worse) -- in order to avoid accusations of profiling.





|| Greg, 08:15 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Maybe A Bit Harsher Than My School’s Rules

I’ll be honest – while I’ve fantasized about stuff like this to stop kids from using cell phones during class, I really do find this shockingly excessive.

A 13-year-old Saudi schoolgirl is to be given 90 lashes in front of her classmates after she was caught with a mobile camera phone.

The girl, who has not been named, was also sentenced to two months in jail by a court in the eastern city of Jubail.

She had assaulted her headmistress after being caught with the gadget which is banned in girl schools, said Al-Watan, a Saudi newspaper.

You know, I’m all for punishing kids who assault school staff members, and have a few kids I have to battle because they cannot put the phone away for 45 minutes during my class. But flogging over a phone is a bit much – though the jail term seems about right for assaulting an administrator.





|| Greg, 07:49 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dems Seeking Ways To Void The First Amendment?

We had a major SCOTUS decision today upholding and reaffirming one of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the First Amendment. And the response from the Democrats? “We’re looking for a way to get around it.”

Democratic leaders in Congress will move legislation to limit the impact of a decision made by the Supreme Court on Thursday to lift restrictions on corporate spending on elections.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and third-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership, said he would hold hearings to explore ways to limit corporate spending on elections.
Schumer said the plan is to pass legislation by Election Day.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said a similar effort would be underway in the House.

Schumer said it would be difficult to pass legislation curbing corporations in the wake of the constitutional ruling but he said there are options.

Similarly, the Obama Regime plans a “forceful response” to the decision.

I cannot imagine that there are any that do not involve either the repeal of the First Amendment or wholesale “massive resistance” of the sort practiced by Democrats after the Supreme Court struck down racial segregation in Brown v. Board of Education. Will they revive the rightfully maligned Court-packing scheme of FDR? Or will they go declare a decision disliked by Congress to constitute an impeachable offense and seek to remove justices in that manner?

After all, the heart of Justice Kennedy’s opinion lies in the following holding.

“If the First Amendment has any force,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, which included the four members of its conservative wing, “it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

In other words, that portion of the Bill of Rights that explicitly protects speech on political matters with the injunction that “Congress shall make no law” is meaningless if understood to mean that Congress can make a law limits or bans such speech. How in the world can you possibly get around that?





|| Greg, 07:23 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 20, 2010

What Media Bias?

Care to tell me which cable news outlet is fair and balanced, and which ones seem to be wholly owned subsidiaries of one of the major political parties.

During Tuesday night's coverage of the Massachusetts special election, CNN and MSNBC aired only a fraction of the Republican candidate's speech. Fox News Channel aired both candidates' speeches in their entirety.

When Martha Coakley (D) took the podium to concede the election, all three channels aired most or all of the eight-minute speech. However, Republican Scott Brown's address was cut short on CNN after just seven minutes. On MSNBC Keith Olbermann cut Brown's mic and instead attacked the Republican candidate, talked about "teabaggers", and ran commercials. CNN only ran 26% of Brown's speech, while MSNBC aired 37%. Fox News Channel carried 100% of both speeches.

6a00e008c6b4e588340120a7f52617970b-pi[1]

And lest you have forgotten in the last 24 hours, the election was handily won by Scott Brown in an upset of historic proportions. If the networks were going to carry one of the speeches in its entirety, shouldn't it have been the one from the winner, rather than the loser -- you know, if they wanted to make sure that the important information got to their viewers.





|| Greg, 10:30 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Doesn't This Story Sound Familiar?

After all, Scott Brown is not the first candidate in recent memory who could be described in the manner Brown was in this article about last night's Senate victory.

Brown, an obscure state senator with an unremarkable record when he entered the race four months ago, was a household name across the country by the end of the abbreviated campaign. Running a vigorous, smart, and error-free campaign, he became a vessel into which cranky and worried voters poured their frustrations and fears, ending the Democrats’ grip on a Senate seat the party has held for 58 years, nearly all by two brothers named Kennedy.

Let's concede, for the sake of argument, everything that the Boston Glob has to say a Scott Brown. Is there anyone here who would disagree that the same observation could have been made about another senatorial candidate, this one in Illinois, in 2004?

And that the same Boston Glob turned around and endorsed that other "obscure state senator with an unremarkable record" for the office of President of the United States not even one full Senate term later.

So forgive me if I find this minimization of Scott Brown by the Boston Glob to be rather humorous -- not to mention hypocritical.

H/T Legal Insurrection





|| Greg, 10:17 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Dems Back Down -- Scott Brown To Be Seated Immediately

After repeated suggestions that there would be some sort of delay to prevent Scott Brown from taking his rightful place in the US Senate until after the adoption of the Democrats' risky health care scheme, the Massachusetts Secretary of State has announced he will bow to the will of the people and certify the election results immediately.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said he would notify the U.S. Senate on Wednesday that Brown had been elected. Originally, he had said he might take over two weeks to certify the results of the special election, giving Democrats a window in which to try to rush through final passage of Obama’s health care plan.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., promised to seat Brown “as soon as the proper paperwork has been received.”

I suppose that even the most partisan Democrats have to concede that the voice of the people means something. So hopefully this means that the current incarnation of health care legislation is dead.





|| Greg, 05:58 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

Speaking of the vox populi, here is how the Watcher's Council voted last week.

Council Submissions


Non-Council Submissions


|| Greg, 05:00 AM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 19, 2010

Great Scott! Brown Wins In Massachusetts

I was born in early 1963, during the presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Some months previously, his youngest brother, Edward Moore Kennedy, had been elected to fill the seat that the president had previously held. Over the next 47 years, Ted Kennedy disgraced the office of United States Senator from Massachusetts in more ways than need be recounted here -- and at no time during my life has a Republican occupied that seat.

But that is about to change -- glory hallelujah!

20100119_scottbrown_560x375[1].jpg

In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to win the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century, leaving President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in doubt and marring the end of his first year in office.

The loss by the once-favored Democrat Martha Coakley in the Democratic stronghold was a stunning embarrassment for the White House after Obama rushed to Boston on Sunday to try to save the foundering candidate. Her defeat signaled big political problems for the president's party this fall when House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates are on the ballot nationwide.

* * *

Brown will become the 41st Republican in the 100-member Senate, which could allow the GOP to block the president's health care legislation and the rest of his agenda. Democrats needed Coakley to win for a 60th vote to thwart Republican filibusters.

The Republican will finish Kennedy's unexpired term, facing re-election in 2012.

Brown led by 52 per cent to 47 percent with all but 3 percent of precincts counted.

What does this race mean? It is hard to say exactly, and it may take time for that question to be answered completely.

My take? This was a referendum on Barack Obama and his leadership (actually, on his lack of leadership). It is an unambiguous rejection of both the Hopuse and Senate versions of health care. It is a repudiation of the arrogance of power shown by Democrats since the 2006 elections, and especially since they acquired veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress.

And make no mistake about it -- given the national involvement of both parties and the influx of cash from outside of Massachusetts (one of the bluest of blue states), the voters of Massachusetts have spoken not just on their own behalf, but on behalf of the American people as a whole.

Now the question remains -- how soon will Scott Brown be able to take the Senate seat and begin representing the people of Massachusetts?

More commentary on this momentous victory at RealClearPolitics Video Log, The Plum Line, Donklephant, Taegan Goddard's …, Wizbang, Ben Smith's Blog, Washington Post, Scared Monkeys, MyDD and Left Coast Rebel, protein wisdom, Another Black Conservative, The Lonely Conservative, CNN, This ain't Hell …, Associated Press, Raw Story, The Anchoress, JammieWearingFool, Sister Toldjah and Outside The Beltway, The Huffington Post, NewsBusters.org, Power Line, CNN, The Radio Equalizer, The Moderate Voice, Instapundit, TalkLeft, Gateway Pundit, The Corner on National …, Think Progress, Keyboard Militia, TPMDC and Political Byline, Prairie Weather, PostPartisan, Public Policy Polling, The Jawa Report, Maggie's Farm, Hit & Run, FiveThirtyEight, The Daily Caller, Verum Serum and Pam's House Blend, The Moderate Voice, The Huffington Post, The Note, Ben Smith's Blog, Prescriptions and American Conservative …, Gateway Pundit, LifeNews.com Pro-Life …, The Other McCain, Raw Story, HillBuzz, Founding Bloggers, Hot Air, Michelle Malkin and Keyboard Militia,





|| Greg, 09:45 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

I’m Proud Of My Teacher Organization

We don’t have teacher unions down here, and don’t have mandatory involuntary membership in those organizations. When I moved down here, I chose to affiliate with a group that is for teachers only (no administrators) and which is a Texas-only organization. I’ve generally been happy with that decision, and this announcement by the Texas Classroom Teachers Association only serves to confirm that I made the right choice.

TCTA supports the decision of Governor Perry and Commissioner Scott to decline to seek funds under the federal Race to the Top program.

From our perspective, seeking these grant funds would be a classic “be careful what you wish for” situation. Texas public schools would face significant policy shifts, concessions, and related costs if we were granted the limited, one-time funds available under the RTTT program.

In order to be reasonably competitive in the grant application process, Texas would have to agree to a national curriculum that has yet to be developed, related national tests, a commitment to authorize charter schools without limits regardless of their performance compared to their traditional school counterparts, and highly prescriptive and punitive changes in such areas as teacher appraisal, compensation, and employment decisions.

We think the price is far too high for Texas to pay. We do not need or want an increased emphasis on high stakes testing, the federal government dictating employment practices, essentially unchecked charter school growth, or the institutionalization of policies that are neither grounded in research nor good for Texas students and educators.

Our experience with prior federal legislation in the form of No Child Left Behind illustrates the dangers of assuming that federal funds will cover associated costs. Texas public schools need enhanced funding, but the limited funding and potentially harmful policy requirements associated with RTTT are, in our view, likely to result in a net cost to Texas education. The loss of autonomy and flexibility that are essential to meet the needs of Texas students is simply not worth it.

The extra cash would have been great – with some of it perhaps eventually ending up in the pockets of deserving teachers – but the abrogation of local and state control of education in favor of federal mandates that come with the cash is unacceptable. Even the points that I agree with – I support more charter schools and better curricula in core areas – are not worth the associated costs that come with a one-time infusion of grant money. The result of accepting the money would be a one-size-fits-all straight-jacket of centralized planning from Washington. That, my friends, is not the sort of change I’ve been hoping for.





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

The Words Of A Survivor.

About 2 ½ years ago, one of my wife’s childhood friends and her two daughters were murdered in a horrific crime that shocked the nation. The trial of one of the scumbags who committed these unspeakable offenses is about to go on trial. I think the words of the sole surviving family member, the husband and father of the victims, says everything about what this crime merits.

“My family got the death penalty,” [Dr. William A. Petit Jr.] testified in March, “and you want to give murderers life. That is not justice.”

* * *

In an interview last week, he said that when people commit crimes like those in Cheshire, “they no longer have a right to exist in this society.”

He said he knew the trial would be an ordeal. But, he said, “I need to stand up for what is just in society, and I need to stand up for my family personally.”

The only proper verdict is guilty.

The only proper sentence is death – and the sooner the better.

Some crimes deserve nothing less.

And the do-gooders who argue differently – seeking mercy for such killers – are little better morally than those who committed the offenses.





|| Greg, 06:03 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Meaningless Poll

After all, the proper way to tell a candidate you don’t want him or her seeking office is to vote for an opponent.

A new CBS News poll finds that a large majority of Americans say they do not want former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to run for president.

Specifically, 71 percent say they do not want the former Republican vice presidential nominee to run for president, while 21 percent say they do want her to run.

When the results are split out by party, 56 percent of Republicans say they do not want her to seek the office and 30 percent do. Meanwhile, 88 percent of Democrats do not want her to run. Among independents, 65 percent do not want her to run and 25 percent do.

You know, I don’t want Sarah Palin to be the GOP nominee in 2012. I’d prefer that she not seek the nomination. But do you know what? I’d prefer that Barack Obama not seek the Democrat nomination in 2012 – indeed, I’d like to see Joe Lieberman be the only candidate to see the nomination on that side of the ballot. But that is not how our system works, nor should it be. So while this poll provides interesting data, it does not really tell us much other than that Sarah Palin has high negatives – and there is a definite media bias against her, because these same news organization are not conducting such “I don’t want that person to run” polls regarding other candidates of either party.





|| Greg, 05:43 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Pointed Reminder

Every now and then I see some well-meaning individual pushing for the recall of some federal elected official by the voters of their state/district. I smile wistfully, because as much as I like the idea of recall, I know they are tilting at windmills with their efforts – because our federal Constitution does not allow for the recall of Senators or Representatives.

Take this situation in New Jersey.

On September 25, 2009, a Notice of Intention was filed in the Secretary of State’s office by a recall committee formed by members of the Sussex County Tea Party, a local grass-roots group and member of the statewide coalition, NJ Tea Parties United. The group seeks to initiate a special election in NJ to recall Senator Robert Menendez. In accordance with NJ election law, the first steps in that process are for the interested parties to form a committee to sponsor a recall petition, and file a Notice of Intent with the Secretary of State’s office. The Secretary of State is then required to determine whether the submitted notice and proposed petition conform to the statute’s requirements and either approve or deny the notice within three days. If denied, the reasons must be stated and the committee permitted to amend and resubmit the filing. Once approved, the committee then circulates the petition amongst registered voters in the state, collecting the signatures of those in support of calling for a recall election. Only if and when the committee collects the necessary number of signatures – 25% of the total registered voters in the general election that preceded the filing of the notice – can a recall election be scheduled.

* * *

Yet, on January 11th, 2010, by her written response to the recall committee, Secretary of State Nina Wells seemingly violated the Constitutional rights of the Committee, its members, and those who want to sign the petition, when she wrote:

“It has been determined that the qualifications and election of a Member of the United States Senate is a matter of exclusive jurisdiction of federal authority and that neither the United States Constitution nor federal statute provide for a recall proceeding for a federally-elected official.

Therefore, in my capacity as the Chief Election Official of the State of New Jersey, I hereby determine that neither the Notice of Intention to Recall nor the proposed Petition can be accepted for filing or review.”

Some seem outraged at this determination, but I think the decision made by the Secretary of State is exactly correct – for precisely the reason put forward by Matthew J. Franck over at National Review.

The term of a U.S. senator is six years, unconditionally, and nothing a state says to the contrary (even in its constitution) can have any effect on this fact. Even before the Seventeenth Amendment, when state legislatures rather than voters chose U.S. senators, no "recall" was possible. Under the Articles of Confederation, members of the unicameral Congress had one-year terms, were limited to serving three years in any six, were paid by their states, and could be recalled at any time by the legislatures that chose them. The framers of the Constitution consciously rejected every one of these features, fixing longer terms in place for both houses of the new bicameral Congress, imposing no term limits or rotation requirement, paying members out of the federal treasury, and making no provision for recall. The duration of a House member or senator's term of office is set by the Constitution that calls the office into being, and cannot be changed by the action of a state even through its constitution, either by alteration of the fixed term length or by giving a power to the people to shorten a serving member's term at the polls. The principle of the supremacy of the federal Constitution over each and every state constitution (declared in Article VI) is all we need to know here. And if the framers of the Constitution had wanted to make it possible for states to shorten the terms of senators, they knew how to frame language permitting that option. They didn't.

The terms are set in the Constitution. There is no provision allowing for recall. And as we saw with the effort by some states to impose term limits on federal elected officials struck down by the courts as outside the scope of state power. By analogy you get the same result with recall – even if a state puts it in their constitution, it cannot override the US Constitution in that regard.

Ought recall be permitted? That is an entirely different issue. Ought an amendment be sent to the several states for consideration and possible ratification to allow it? Perhaps. But the current situation is such that any attempt to recall a Congressman or Senator is forbidden.





|| Greg, 05:37 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 17, 2010

This About Says It All

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>

I do believe that we can now classify Barack Obama in the EPIC FAIL category.





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Coakley's Criminal Campaign

I'm curious -- will we not only see Martha Coakley lose her race for Senator, but also forced to resign because of criminal conduct related to her campaign?

This email was sent out earlier from the Scott Brown Campaign:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Felix Browne
January 16, 2010

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR TODAY

Dan Winslow, counsel for the Scott Brown for U.S. Senate campaign, will hold a media availability to announce the filing of a criminal complaint against the Massachusetts Democratic Party regarding a recent mailing paid for and sent by the Massachusetts Democratic Party. Winslow will make a statement and take reporters’ questions at MassGOP Headquarters in Boston TODAY at 4:00 PM.

Massachusetts GOP Headquarters

85 Merrimac Street, 4th Floor

Boston.


Scott Brown filed this complaint against the SEIU in December.

FOX News Boston reported:


BOSTON – Republican Senate hopeful Scott Brown has filed a complaint with the State Ethics Commission after a report that a union backing rival Martha Coakley used state resources to urge workers to volunteer for Coakley’s campaign.


The report by FOX25 said the Service Employees International Union used state computers and e-mail addresses to direct state employees to volunteer for Coakley, the Democratic state attorney general.

Seems to me that there is some serious desperation on the part of the Democrats now that the people of Massachusetts seem intent upon democratically rejecting them and electing Republican Scott brown to the US Senate.





|| Greg, 08:35 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 15, 2010

Another Dem Bites The Dust!

First we heard this information.

A new SurveyUSA poll conducted for the liberal website Firedoglake shows Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) trailing former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin (R) 56-39. And those numbers get worse, 58-35, if Snyder is to support the final version of the healthcare bill.

In November, Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling had Snyder with a one-point lead on Griffin.

And it was rapidly followed by this.

Arkansas Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder (D) released a statement this evening making clear that he would not be a candidate for an eighth term, the fifth Democrat representing a competitive district to announce his retirement in the past two months.

"I have concluded that these election-year forces are no match for the persuasive and powerful attraction of our three one-year old boys under the leadership of their three-year old brother, and I have decided not to run for re-election," Snyder said in a statement.

What he did not mention was the fact that for the first time in recent memory, Republicans had fielded a serious candidate -- former U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin (R) -- to run against him. Griffin had drastically outraised Snyder in 2009 and a poll conducted for a liberal blog and released earlier today showed the challenger with a healthy lead over the incumbent. (Snyder's seat was ranked as the tenth most likely seat to switch parties in the fall, according to today's House Line.)

Snyder leaves behind a Little Rock-area seat that went for Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) by 10 points in 2008. Griffin immediately becomes the favorite for the seat although it remains to be seen how strong a candidate Democrats will ultimately field.

Who says that Obama and his policies haven’t brought Americans together? It certainly appears that we are united in opposition to the Democrats!





|| Greg, 07:50 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

Another Reason To Love Mark Steyn

It is the playful turn of phrase that so many of our commentators lack.

Like this description the GOP candidate for Senate in the Massachusetts special election.

Remember the good old days when the glossy magazine covers competed for the most worshipful image of the new global colossus? If you were at the Hopeychange inaugural ball on Jan. 20, 2009, when Barney Frank dived into the mosh pit, and you chanced to be underneath when he landed, and you've spent the past year in a coma, you must surely wonder if you've woken up in an alternative universe. The last thing you remember before Barney came flying down is Harry Reid waltzing you round the floor while murmuring sweet nothings about America being ready for a light-skinned brown man with no trace of a Negro dialect. And now you're in some dystopian nightmare where Massachusetts is ready for a nude-skinned Brown man with no trace of a Kennedy dialect.

In one fell swoop, Steyn managed to skewer three prominent Democrats while giving a friendly not to the newly ascendant Scott Brown, who may become the first Republican to represent Massachusetts in the Senate in my adult life. Who else among our pundits can manage that – and with such light-heartedness?





|| Greg, 07:34 PM || Permalink || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 14, 2010

Help My School's Students Out!

I don't often talk about my school on the site, but I'll make an exception here.

Some students from my school are finalists in a video contest for videos about learning from their past mistakes. Of the ten finalists, there are actually two from my school, and three total from my district.

One of the videos from my school is in a tight race for the top prize!

This is where I'm asking for help. They need your votes to win -- and the voting ends on January 15!

Here's the link to the contest. If you can find it in your heart to vote for "When It Comes Back To You", it would be greatly appreciated.





|| Greg, 09:24 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

A Suggestion For Barry Hussein

This question got posed over at RedState yesterday.

Where’s the Nobel Prize Money, Mr. President?

And it is a good question given that, as SusanAnne Hiller notes, the president did promise to donate that $1.4 million to charity. And there is a matter of federal law.

Why not donate the money to Haiti relief, Mr. President, given that "responding to a disaster of this magnitude will require every element of our national capacity". Put your money where your mouth is, and lead by example. More to the point, do something with that money that might make it seem that, after the fact, you actually have done something to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.





|| Greg, 07:57 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Senator Ben Nelson Driven From Pizza Restaurant By Angry Constituents

It must suck to have abandoned your principles, accepted a bribe for doing so, and still failed to get the love and respect of the constituents you betrayed.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson and his wife were leaving dinner at a new pizza joint near their home in Omaha one night last week when a patron began complaining about Nelson’s decisive vote in favor of the Senate’s health care bill.

Other customers started booing. A woman yelled, “Get him the hell out of here!” And the Nelsons and their dining companions beat a hasty retreat.

“It was definitely a scene in there,” said Tom Lewis, a 41-year-old dentist and registered Republican who witnessed the incident. A second witness confirmed the incident to POLITICO.

Gee, Ben, you said you would oppose the bill, your constituents wanted you to oppose the bill, but you didn't have the spine to do so when you thought you could be the hero. Now you can't show your face in public without being treated as a pariah by the folks who used to be your biggest supporters -- the voters of Nebraska.

I guess you can't go home again.





|| Greg, 07:39 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Liberal Hero Arrested As Pervert

Seems he thought he was demonstrating his "Weapon of Mass Destruction" for a 15 year old girl rather than a cop.

A former chief United Nations weapons inspector is accused of contacting what he thought was a 15-year-old girl in an Internet chat room, engaging in a sexual conversation and showing himself masturbating on a Web camera.

Scott Ritter of Delmar, N.Y., who served as chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991-98 and who was an outspoken critic of the second Bush administration in the run-up to the war in Iraq, is accused of contacting what turned out to be a Barrett Township police officer posing undercover as a teen girl.

It seems that this stuff has all been hushed up for the last year, too -- first as a part of the investigation, which I understand, and then for about two months after the charges were filed. I'd love an explanation for that decision.

Oh, by the way, this isn't the first time that this liberal hero has engaged in such conduct.

This is not the first time Ritter has been in such trouble.

According to reports, Ritter was charged in a June 2001 Internet sex sting in New York, but that case was dismissed.

He had been charged with attempted child endangerment after arranging in an online chatroom to meet what he thought was a 16-year-old girl at a Burger King restaurant. The girl turned out to be an undercover policewoman.

Ritter said the criminal charge was a smear campaign in response to his criticizing U.S. policy in the Middle East.

The New York Post reported Ritter had been caught in a similar case involving a 14-year-old girl in April 2001, but that he was not charged.

Prosecution, you see, was a no-no because of his liberal hero status.

Wonder how his supporters and his lawyers will blame Bush for this one?





|| Greg, 07:33 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

I’m A Trend-Setter

I was anti-Obama when anti-Obma wasn’t cool!

Now the rest of the country is catching up with me.

A year into his tenure, a majority of Americans would already vote against Pres. Obama if the '12 elections were held today, according to a new survey.

The Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll shows 50% say they would probably or definitely vote for someone else. Fully 37% say they would definitely cast a ballot against Obama. Meanwhile, just 39% would vote to re-elect the pres. to a 2nd term, and only 23% say they definitely would do so.

We cannot get rid of him until after the 2012 election, but we can certainly make our voices heard by depriving him of majorities and supermajorities in Congress.





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

George Will On Judicial Review

I love the conclusion to his latest column. It sums up how judicial review ought to operate in our system of government – and how it did operate at one time.

Judicial review -- let us be candid: judicial supervision of democracy -- troubles people who believe, mistakenly, that the Constitution's primary purpose is simply to provide the institutional architecture for democracy. Such people believe that having government by popular sovereignty is generally much more important than what government does; hence, courts should be broadly deferential to preferences expressed democratically. This is the doctrine of those conservatives who deplore, often with more vigor than precision, "judicial activism."

More truly conservative conservatives take their bearings from the proposition that government's primary purpose is not to organize the fulfillment of majority preferences but to protect preexisting rights of the individual -- basically, liberty. These conservatives favor judicial activism understood as unflinching performance of the courts' role in that protection.

That role includes disapproving congressional encroachments on liberty that are not exercises of enumerated powers. This obligatory engagement with the Constitution's text and logic supersedes any obligation to be deferential toward the actions of government merely because they reflect popular sovereignty.

The latter kind of conservatives are more truly conservative than the former kind because they have stronger principles for resisting the conscription of individuals, at a cost of diminished liberty, into government's collective projects. So a constitutional challenge to the mandate serves two purposes: It defies a pernicious idea and clarifies conservatism.

Now I would modify that ever so slightly, to say something that I believe Will would agree with. The will of the people as expressed through their votes and the actions of the political branches of government OUGHT TO BE deferred to insofar as those branches are acting within the constraints of the Constitution (or of the constitutions of the states), but the courts must act to overrule the people and their elected representatives when their actions clearly exceed the limits imposed by the Constitution as understood by those who wrote and ratified it. Judicial review, and with it the power to overturn the laws and acts of the political branch, reaches not to whether a law is good or bad, or if it wise or unwise – it properly extends only to whether or not they are permissible enactments under the powers granted to the government.





|| Greg, 06:26 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Getting It Right On Palin

Erick Erickson over at RedState is certainly an important voice in the conservative movement today -- one who is so prominent that the Left has begun to attack him in an effort to limit that influence. But he has also stirred up some conservatives by casting a critical eye at some of the things done and said by Sarah Palin, even as he continues to be a major supporter of the former Alaska governor.

His current post on Palin offers an insight that I think is really important.

In 2008, Obama and Palin were, to many people, empty vessels into which people poured their hopes and dreams without really knowing anything about either.

He is exactly right. I know – I was one of those who was willing to get quite enthusiastic about her precisely because she was the young, attractive working-mother of a special needs child who had risen to lofty political heights through her own skill and grit. As time has gone on, I’ve grown somewhat disenchanted with the former Alaska governor as she has made decisions and statements that I question – disenchanted enough with her, for example, that I can’t envision supporting a potential Palin candidacy for the White House in 2012, though I would like to see her in the House or Senate in order to garner the experience and insights that I think could make her a truly formidable leader in the future.

Now the real problem, as Erickson points out, is that Palin has become a Jesus figure for too many partisans on both sides of the aisle. On the populist right, we have those who have developed an almost worshipful devotion to their heroine – people who will defend her against every slur and criticism. On the raging left, there are those who feel the need to destroy Palin and scatter her followers – call them the political equivalent of Richard Dawkins and his atheist acolytes.

The reality, though, is that Sarah ain’t Jesus. She is neither the political savior nor the Beast from the pit. She is neither Reagan nor Obama – and the sooner those on the political right figure that out the better (I frankly don’t care what the political left does; they can tilt at the Palin windmill forever as far as I’m concerned). We must be free to examine her strengths and weaknesses, to praise her when she is right and critique her when she is wrong.

And if we can’t get that point, we will be setting ourselves up for an increase in strife and discord, beset by a politician with followers who are more concerned with purity than practicality. We’ve already seen where that leads – can you say “Ron Paul”?

AllahPundit has more.





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January 13, 2010

Help For Haiti

I cannot even begin to comprehend the scope of this tragedy. That said, my own experience as the survivor of Hurricane Ike leads me to want to find some way of offering help to those who are in such desperate need -- much more desperate than we ever got during our time of trouble.

For those interesting in helping immediately, simply text 'HAITI' to '90999' and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.

Here is a link to a CNN list of relief agencies. The Red Cross is out of medical supplies, and every other agency is stretched in a thousand different ways.

And most of all, prayer is important at a time like this.





|| Greg, 09:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Olbermann Reveals His Hypocrisy On Religious Speech By Cable Political Commentators

I hold no brief for Pat Robertson or Rush Limbaugh regarding their statements on the earthquake in Haiti. Each made comments that I believe should not have been made. That said, I am much more taken aback by this display of hypocrisy from another broadcaster, who took the opportunity presented by their comments to hypocritically pronounce a hate-filled, threatening malediction upon them both.

Isn't this the same buffoon who argued that Brit Hume was "threatening" Tiger Woods with his suggesting that Woods ought to find Jesus?

What, then, is this sort of talk, in which one actually pronounces eternal damnation upon those holding differing political and religious views? Especially when he makes reference to how their lives lack value and states that they should have shut up out of "self-preservation."

Mr. Olbermann, your words are a disgrace, and are every bit as corrosive of civility and decency as the comments made by the individuals you personally condemned -- and I would argue more so.

Your words are certainly more threatening -- and significantly more likely to inspire physical violence -- than any words Limbaugh and Robertson have spoken during their entire broadcasting careers, including these you have so forcefully condemned. Or at least they would be if you and the network actually had any viewers.





|| Greg, 09:27 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Coakley Aide Assaults Reporter As Candidate Watches

It’s a good thing she the fundraiser she was at wasn’t in Massachusetts, or else she might have had to recuse herself from prosecuting this violation of the First Amendment.

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As I walked down the street, a man who appeared to be associated with the Coakley campaign pushed me into a freestanding metal railing. I ended up on the sidewalk. I was fine. He helped me up from the ground, but kept pushing up against me, blocking my path toward Coakley down the street.

He asked if I was with the media, and I told him I work for THE WEEKLY STANDARD. When I asked him who he worked for he replied, "I work for me." He demanded to see my credentials, and even though it was a public street, I showed them to him.

I eventually got around him and met up with the attorney general halfway down the block.

"Attorney General, could I ask you a question please?" I said. "We're done, thanks," Coakley replied. She walked back toward the restaurant, apparently searching for her car. She remained silent as I (politely) repeated my question.

Coakley staffers told me they didn't know who the man was who pushed me, though by every indication he was somehow connected to the campaign.

So reporters asking inconvenient/difficult questions are subject to physical assault by unknown campaign staffers – in front of the candidate.

And for the record, the individual who committed the assault has been identified. He is Michael Meehan, and his biography is here at Politico.com. Oh, yeah – and the national Democrats just dispatched him to aid the Coakley campaign. Moreover, he is an Obama nominee for the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a nomination which the GOP intends to block if the Obama Regime does not withdraw the nomination.

But even though the Democrat thug (two words that are synonymous) has confessed to the assault, and even though the picture above establishes that Martha Coakley witnessed the assault and its aftermath, Martha Coakley has blamed the incident on alleged Republican stalkers and indicated that she is either completely clueless, a shameless liar, or both.

I’m not sure what happened. I know something occurred, but I’m not privy to the facts. I’m sure it will come out, but I’m not aware of that.”

The liberal media has tried to cover this up, but it is not going away.





|| Greg, 07:34 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Coakley Concedes Common Man Vote In Massachusetts

After all, she’s supported by elected officials and other political insiders!

Coakley bristles at the suggestion that, with so little time left, in an election with such high stakes, she is being too passive.

“As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?’’ she fires back, in an apparent reference to a Brown online video of him doing just that. “This is a special election. And I know that I have the support of Kim Driscoll. And I now know the members of the [Salem] School Committee, who know far more people than I could ever meet.”

Which explains why last night she was in Washington, collecting money from pharmaceutical company representatives who will be impacted by her health care vote instead of back in Massachusetts trying to meet the actual voters who will be casting ballots in the election.

Which is how come you get incidents like this one that make it clear that Coakley is no shoe-in for the job of US Senator.

Outside the debate venue on Monday night, a truck pulls up, loaded with Coakley signs for a phalanx of Teamsters, who stand there holding them as the crowds arrive. Scott Brown shows up, sees the Coakley sign-holders, approaches and greets them and shakes their hands. Some tell him: I’m getting paid $50 to do this, but I’m voting for you. Coakley then arrives and . . . walks right past her sign-holders. No greetings, and certainly no hand shakes.

When even the people your campaign is paying are going to vote for your opponent, you are in big trouble. Seems to me that folks should get used to saying the words "Senator Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts)".





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

This Distresses Me

Do we really need this toy?

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As the folks at National Review note, the comments about this toy over at Amazon are really pretty funny.





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January 12, 2010

Big Lizards Gets It Right On Race

And in doing so expresses my belief on the racial question quite nicely.

To be a racist, one must, at the very least, believe in the concept of race -- where "race" means some discrete and self-perpetuating subgroup of humans, defined by skin color and a certain morphology, but that also affects behavior and (some argue) thought itself. Anybody who accuses (e.g.) Clarence Thomas of "acting white" passionately believes in race-determinism. This seems accurate to most people; but I simply don't believe in different "races" of Man: The morphology is inconsistent and its connection with behavior and thought is utterly spurious. What most folks imagine to be "racial" is in fact cultural... and I most certainly believe in different and often belligerent subcultures of Mankind.

Really. There is one race. It is the human race. I don’t give a rat’s hindquarters if your skin is dark or light, if your hair is kinky or straight, if your nose is pointed or flat, if your eyes are round or slanted, or if your lips are thin or fat. What is important is your humanity, your intellect, and your conduct.

Let's say it one more time -- THERE IS NO RACE EXCEPT THE HUMAN RACE!





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

Just A Reminder – Reid On Thomas

A reminder of Racism Past from Harry Reid.

RUSSERT: Let me turn to judicial nominations. Again, Harry Reid on National Public Radio, Nov. 19: "If they" -- the Bush White House -- "for example, gave us Clarence Thomas as chief justice, I personally feel that would be wrong. If they give us Antonin Scalia, that's a little different question. I may not agree with some of his opinions, but I agree with the brilliance of his mind."

RUSSERT: Could you support Antonin Scalia to be chief justice of the Supreme Court?

REID: If he can overcome the ethics problems that have arisen since he was selected as a justice of the Supreme Court. And those ethics problems --you've talked about them; every people talk -- every reporter's talked about them in town -- where he took trips that were probably not in keeping with the code of judicial ethics. So we have to get over this. I cannot dispute the fact, as I have said, that this is one smart guy. And I disagree with many of the results that he arrives at, but his reason for arriving at those results are very hard to dispute. So --

RUSSERT: Why couldn't you accept Clarence Thomas?

REID: I think that he has been an embarrassment to the Supreme Court. I think that his opinions are poorly written. I don't -- I just don't think that he's done a good job as a Supreme Court justice.

Justice Thomas, of course, writes opinions that are usually noted as being meticulously reasoned and philosophically insightful, according to many legal scholars. But since he is a darker-skinned black man who sometimes speaks in the Negro dialect of his youth, he is an embarrassment in the eyes of Harry Reid. Is it any wonder that some of us are unwilling to give Reid the benefit of the doubt on the racism question?





|| Greg, 06:38 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

One Of My Predictions Seems Likely, Another Doesn’t, Says Political Analyst

Political analyst Charlie Cook sees this as the likely scenario for the fall.

The most endangered, after Dorgan’s open seat in North Dakota, are the open seats in Delaware and Illinois, followed by (Nevada-based Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.; and Arlen Specter, D-Pa.

Add in Dodd’s open seat and that of Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and that puts a total of nine seats in play.

This does not include the Massachusetts special election taking place next week. Cook’s prediction – the GOP picks up 4-6 of the endangered seats. That would put things right where I suggested – the Democrat margin in the Senate would be cut by half.

Unfortunately, Cook does not see the GOP doing as well as I do in the House. He expects a gain of 20-30 seats, while I’m expecting a GOP net of 40 to strip the Democrats of control of the lower chamber.





|| Greg, 06:31 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 11, 2010

Is Rush Limbaugh Owed An Apology?

You know, since there is apparently nothing wrong with the word.

JAMES CLYBURN: I don't know why people are making such a fuss about this. What is the big fuss about the word "Negro"? I support the United Negro College Fund. I support the National Council of Negro Women. We still use those two terms because they have been a part of our history for a long time. So I don't know what all this fuss is about.

Now decide, liberals and race mongers -- either there is something offensive about the use of the word Negro, or there isn't. You cannot have it both ways -- and while your allies in the liberal media might be content to allow you to do so, the blogosphere will not let the double standard hold.





|| Greg, 10:16 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

More Nanny-Statism From NYC

Excuse me, but I don’t recall inviting Michael Bloomberg to regulate my salt intake.

NEW YORK – City health officials have battled trans fats and high-calorie fast food. Now, they're taking on salt.

The health department released draft guidelines Monday recommending a maximum amount of salt that should be in a wide variety of manufactured and packaged foods, aiming to help reduce the average American's salt intake by 20 percent in five years.

The recommendations, endorsed by 25 other city or state agencies and 17 national health organizations, call for sizable reductions in the sodium content of many products, from a 20 percent drop in peanut butter to a 40 percent decline in canned vegetables.

We can all stand to eat a healthier diet. Those with slightly elevated blood pressure, diabetes, and other medical conditions find that especially true. But is it really the place of government to be setting these standards for natural, non-toxic substances in food? And is it really the place of city government to be doing this at all?





|| Greg, 06:40 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

The Answer Is Not Having Cops Learn Spanish

It is having the immigrants learn English.

Despite a Houston Police Department program that pays $1.9 million annually in extra pay to 1,046 bilingual-certified officers — nearly 20 percent of the 5,300-officer force — there are frequent situations when officers cannot speak with the residents they serve, officers say. Of those, 904 officers are certified as fluent in Spanish. Other certifications include officers who can speak Vietnamese, two dialects of Chinese and Korean.

The issue of language fluency is crucial in Houston, an international city that long has been a magnet for immigrants from around the world. For example, the Houston Independent School District has identified about 100 languages spoken in students' homes, a district spokesman said.

Critics say an insufficient number of bilingual officers can cause trauma to crime victims, burdens the bilingual officers with greater case loads, and endangers officers who cannot immediately communicate with criminal suspects.

Of course, we know what one of the major factors is here. It is not immigration per se – it is illegal immigration. How many of these folks saying “No hablo Inglés” are not in the country legally? We’ll never know – because Houston’s sanctuary city policy forbids making the inquiry – and also forbids making a report to the feds if someone admits to being an illegal.






|| Greg, 06:35 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Winners

Here are teh winners from the latest voting by the Watcher's Council!

Council Submissions


Non-Council Submissions


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

January 09, 2010

Reid Racism Requires Raising An Unpleasant Issue On Race, Religion, And Double Standards

I've already made it clear that for Harry Reid to stay on as Senate Majority Leader following the disclosure of his racial comments about Barack Obama would be indicative of rank hypocrisy on the part of the Democrats, the media, and the civil rights establishment. But it also raises another issue, one that is ugly and unpleasant, and indicative of another double standard on the part of the liberal troika mentioned above -- the issue of racism and Harry Reid's Mormon religion.

Now mind you, I do not believe that being a Mormon is a bad thing, though I reject that faith for a variety of theological reasons. But I cannot help but be struck by the fact that, during the race for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, that same liberal cabal made much of the fact that Romney was a Mormon and that there was a history of racial exclusion within Mormonism -- a history that led to accusations that Romney was presumptively racist for remaining in the faith in which he was raised and for not denouncing its past. And note, please, that the accusation was based merely upon his having been raised a Mormon and remaining in that faith, not any words or actions that could be in any sense described as racist in and of themselves.

Then what of Harry Reid? After all, by his own admission he made a conscious choice as an adult to become a Mormon. What's more, Harry Reid has an objective record of racially insensitive words and actions. Will the Left make the same sort of attack upon Reid for his faith and link these incidents to that faith? Will there be an inquiry into why he has not publicly made a denunciation of the past practices of the LDS Church -- practices that were ongoing when he converted to that faith as an adult? Or will his membership in the Democrat Party be sufficient to shield him from such accusations and inquisitions?

Mind you, I'm not attempting to link racism and Mormonism. I do not believe there is a link. Neither do i believe that Harry Reid and his religion should become a matter of inquiry regarding his fitness for office. Rather, I simply want to remind people that there is an objectively different standard applied to Republicans on matters of race and religion than there is to Democrats -- and the time has come for Americans of good will to either hold Democrats to that same standard or acknowledge that it is illegitimate to apply it to Republicans.





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

Will Harry Reid Be Held To The Same Racism Standard As Republicans?

harryreid.jpg

If there is any integrity in the media, the Democrat party, and the civil rights establishment, Harry Reid should be forced to resign from his position as Senate majority Leader, if not completely driven from office over the disclosure of racist comments made about Barack Obama.

Journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann reported the remarks in their new book “Game Change,” according to an excerpt published by The Atlantic late Friday.

“He (Reid) was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama - a ‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,’ as he said privately. Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama's race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination," they write.

If anything approaching those comments had come out of the mouth of a Republican leader, there would be a firestorm of outrage and demands for that individual's scalp. Just look back at the Trent Lott fiasco after he paid a courtly compliment to a colleague at his hundredth birthday. Reid has gone well beyond anything said by Lott, in that he made explicitly racial and racist remarks about an African-American colleague who was running for (and was eventually elected) President. That constitutes a much bigger offense in my eyes, as does his apology statement which amounts to "some of my best political friends are black."

Now, add this disclosure to the fact that last year Harry Reid fought like hell to prevent the appointment of an African-American to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat after he was elected to the presidency and I do not see how Democrats and the media can continue to stand behind the man.

But then again, remember who the Democrats have put three heartbeats from the presidency.


I'm leaving my sheets to Harry when I die!

Of course, they did put this racist only a single heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

Others blogging include Hot Air, Doug Powers, Gateway Pundit, Ace, Macsmind, Cornucopia (twice), Stop The Leftist Propaganda Machine, HyScience, Ed Driscoll, Big Government, Michelle Malkin, NewsBusters, PowerLine





|| Greg, 01:04 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Pass The Micrometer

James Carville is coming through the airport security line.

"Let me buy a [security] card, then go and measure my penis, and let me get on the airplane," he said.

Here's just the device needed for the job.

base_media[1].jpg

The device measures from 0-1 inch, so it should be able to accomodate both Carville's length and girth.





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

January 08, 2010

Dems Plan To Disenfranchise Massachusetts Voters If Brown Wins!

If you want evidence that the Democrats will engage in all manners of corruption to pass their risky health care scheme, here it is. Massachusetts Democrats, who already changed the rules in the middle of the game in order to seat an illegitimate placeholder who would vote for ObamaCare, are now planning to wait weeks to certify the people's choice for that seat if they dare to choose Republican candidate Scott Brown in order to make sure that he cannot be the 41st vote to derail the bill.

Massachusetts voters have their say on January 19 -- but the plan now is to delay the certification of a potential Brown victory until February 20!

Today, a spokesman for Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, who is overseeing the election but did not respond to a call seeking comment, said certification of the Jan. 19 election by the Governor’s Council would take a while.

“Because it’s a federal election,” spokesman Brian McNiff said. “We’d have to wait 10 days for absentee and military ballots to come in.”

Another source told the Herald that Galvin’s office has said the election won’t be certified until Feb. 20 - well after the president’s address.

Since the U.S. Senate doesn’t meet again in formal session until Jan. 20, Bay State voters will have made their decision before a vote on health-care reform could be held. But Kirk and Galvin’s office said today a victorious Brown would be left in limbo.

Interestingly enough, it took only two days to certify and swear-in the winner of the last Massachusetts special election to fill a seat in Congress -- Democrat Representative Niki Tsongas, whose vote was needed in 2007 so that Democrats could override a Bush veto. That is all the evidence you need that the Democrats have ceased to be a political party that respects the democratic traditions and forms of our republic and instead have become a proto-totalitarian movement that needs to be stamped out by We the People.

UPDATE -- 1/9/2010, 9:45 AM: Additional commentary at Da Techguy, NewsBusters, Legal Insurrection, Sisu, RedState, InstaPundit, Coalition of the Swilling, HotAir (twice), Patterico, Betsy's Page, Jules Crittenden, Sister Toldjah, Natural Family Blog, Repeal the 17th Amendment Blog, Weasel Zippers, Pundit & Pundette, HillBuzz, Boston Hearald Business Blog, Gateway Bundit, Cold Fury.

UPDATE 2 -- 1/9/2010, 1:43 PM: The national media begins to take notice.

UPDATE 3 -- 1/9/2010, 3:35 PM -- William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection is working the phones for Scott Brown and finds many voters are really pissed off about this promised coup against the people of Massachusetts if they vote for Brown. Could this be a game changer, with the Democrats finally having overplayed their hand?





|| Greg, 10:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Some Things Rise Above Mere Politics

And this is certainly one of those.

Vice President Joe Biden’s mother, Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Finnegan Biden, died Friday in Wilmington, Del., days after becoming seriously ill, the White House announced.

“At 92, she was the center of our family and taught all of her children that family is to be treasured, loyalty is paramount and faith will guide you through the tough times. She believed in us, and because of that, we believed in ourselves,” Biden said in a statement. “Together with my father, her husband of 61 years who passed away in 2002, we learned the dignity of hard work and that you are defined by your sense of honor. Her strength, which was immeasurable, will live on in all of us.”

In March, she suffered a broken hip and had been in hospice care since then. Her family was had gathered by her bedside over the last few days, with Biden cancelling several meetings to be with his mother.

I have never been a fan of Joe Biden, but at a moment like this that is irrelevant. The loss of his mother is a serious personal tragedy for him, and I offer my sincere condolences to the Vice President and the rest of the Biden family. May the the God grant them comfort in this time of loss, with the certain knowledge that this dear lady is now among the faithful departed in God's heavenly kingdom.





|| Greg, 09:19 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Human Beings Cause Global Warming -- Iguanas In Florida Hit The Worst

My darling wife directed me to this one and urged me to post it.

I agree with my darling Democrat -- no matter how bad i feel for the iguanas, I just can't help but find it to be really funny!





|| Greg, 09:13 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Obama Economy Continues To Tank

Congratulations to Barack Obama, whose “stimulus” has driven the economy right into the crapper!

The economy lost more jobs than expected in December while the unemployment rate held steady at 10 percent, as a sluggish economic recovery has yet to revive hiring among the nation's employers.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers cut 85,000 jobs last month, worse than the 8,000 drop analysts expected.

A sharp drop in the labor force, a sign more of the jobless are giving up on their search for work, kept the unemployment rate at the same rate as in November. Once people stop looking for jobs, they are no longer counted among the unemployed.

And it is that last bit, the drop in the labor force, that is actually much more telling than the unemployment rate. Obama’s economic policies have brought about CHANGE – the elimination of the HOPE of finding a job on the part of a large segment of Americans who are no longer even seeking work. That is the only reason that the unemployment rate is 10% instead another percentage point or so higher. This also means that my prediction about the unemployment rate in 2010 reaching 12% may be wrong – but only because even more Americans will have simply given up because of the failed economic policies of Barack Obama.





|| Greg, 09:01 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mass. School Backs Down

What a pity.

A Massachusetts college that banned students from wearing head coverings that obscure the face has announced a religious exemption following criticism from Muslim groups.

The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences bans students from wearing clothing such as burqas and face veils, as well as ski masks and scarves.

The school amended the policy Thursday, saying those exempted on religious grounds will be required to remove any covering to verify their identity for security purposes.

The reason? Complaints from CAIR, the nation’s largest terrorist support organization.

If the original ban was Act I of the play, then this is Act II. I can already envision Act III if the new policy is allowed to stand unchallenged – CAIR will file a new complaint, alleging harassment against female Muslim students who are stopped and requested to identify themselves – especially if the person seeking to identify them is a male.

That is why it is important for students and faculty to take a stand against this compromise of campus safety and academic integrity.

Students objecting to the change ought to engage in a little bit of civil disobedience. Start wearing one of these to class.

ElkinsJamesKKK[1].jpg

If any school official objects, tell them it is a part of your religion – and dare them to attempt to argue to the contrary. After all – having created this exception, they don’t get to decide who is engaged in a valid religious practice and who isn’t.

Let CAIR litigate the matter if it wants to do so – student safety and academic integrity are much more important than appeasing the unappeasable.





|| Greg, 08:53 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Another Example Of Islamic Barbarism

Once again proving that Islam is a great religion only in size, not in content.

A 23-year-old British woman on holiday in Dubai told police she had been raped, only to be arrested herself for having illegal sexual intercourse.

The woman, a Muslim of Pakistani descent, was celebrating her engagement to her 44-year-old boyfriend, and was allegedly attacked when she passed out in a hotel lavatory.

Despite approaching police about the attack, she was arrested after admitting to "illegal drinking" outside licensed premises as well as having sexual intercourse outside marriage. Her fiancé was also charged with the same offences.

The couple from London are now reportedly on bail and understood to be awaiting trial after having their passports confiscated. Should they be found guilty, they could face up to six years in jail.

The woman, who is said to have accepted her boyfriend's marriage proposal during a three-day break, admitted drinking too much alcohol as they celebrated at Dubai Marina's Address Hotel. The waiter is then said to have followed her into the toilets and raped her while she was in a state of semi-consciousness.

I wish I could say I was shocked that the authorities of a Muslim nation are punishing a rape victim, but this is something that happens time and again in different parts of the Islamic world, so I’m not.

But then again, at least they aren’t whipping her, stoning her, or beheading her, so I guess this constitutes a move towards civilized behavior on the part of Dubai’s authorities.





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

Muslims Again Prove They Don’t Believe What They Claim Their Religion Teaches

We keep hearing that Islam has such respect for Christianity and Judaism and that Christians and Jews are “People of the Book” who worship the same God as Muslims.

The level of anti-Semitism expressed by Islamic leaders and run-of-the-mill Muslims has already shown the partial falsehood of this alleged tenet of their faith insofar as it relates to Jews, but now we also have proof that Muslims don’t actually believe that in regard to Christians.

Three churches in Malaysia were firebombed early Friday morning as its government works to quell religious tensions following a court ruling – and a subsequent government appeal – that allows the country’s Christians to use the term Allah to refer to God. Only one church was seriously damaged and no one was injured.

Mosques throughout the country also small organized protests during their Friday prayer services and there are reports of cars with Christian stickers having their windshields smashed.

The controversy began when The Herald, a Roman Catholic newspaper in Malaysia, challenged a ban against the periodical using Allah in the Malay-language section of their newspaper to refer to God in a Christian context. Though Allah has been incorporated into the Malay language to mean God and the Koran teaches (Surah 29:46) that Christians, Muslims, and Jews share the same God, many Malaysian Muslims contend that Allah only refers to God for Muslims.

Given that it is now indisputable that these Muslims believe that part of the Quran/Koran is false, it is therefore fair to note that these Muslims are clearly establishing what any Christian ought to already know -- that Muhammad a false prophet and the Koran/Quran is a book of blasphemous lies.





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

A Crucial Difference On Free Speech

Let’s look at two situations involving what some call hate speech and see if we can discern why one merits criminal prosecution and the other does not.

Here’s the first.

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — Black swastikas were found spray-painted on a Jewish temple and Methodist church in Oshkosh, and police say they're still looking for suspects.

The damage was discovered on Christmas Eve at B'Nai Israel Congregation and Algoma Methodist Church.

* * *

Police Sgt. Andrew Lecker says the vandalism could be considered a hate crime, which would enhance the range of penalties.

And here is the other.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Two Minnesota prosecutors say they won't file charges against a man who investigators say admitted posting anti-Muslim images in front of a mosque, a Somali-owned store and other spots.

They say the cartoons are protected under the First Amendment.

The posters put up last month in the St. Cloud area depicted images such as the Prophet Muhammad engaged in bestiality and an Islamic crescent with a swastika inside it.

* * *

Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall called it a "classic First Amendment case." Benton County Attorney Robert Raupp says religious criticism is protected speech, even if it is offensive.

Now let’s see if we can discern the difference between the two incidents. It should be obvious – in the one instance we had what amounted to pure speech in a public forum, while in the other we had the criminal act of vandalism. By spray-painting the image on the buildings, the perpetrator committed a crime regardless of the expressive content. On the other hand, putting up posters and flyers, including speech that ridicules and insults religion, is undeniably a protected act of free speech. After all, insulting speech is generally protected by the First Amendment, providing that it does not cross the line into making a threat.

Want some parallel examples of similar speech that is undeniably protected? Consider these.

andreas-serrano-piss-christ-1987[1].jpg

zionism_protest[1].jpg

The first, paid for in part by your tax dollars through an NEA grant, clearly ridicules religion and is undeniably anti-Christian. And as offensive as that picture is to me and to so many others, no one can deny that the “religious criticism” in question is fully within the bounds of the First Amendment. And the latter, using the same symbol that was spray-painted on the two houses of worship, does not lose its protection just because it contains a swastika and is insulting to Jews (and the United States).

People, of course, are quite welcome to take offense at any of the speech in question. That is their right. But offensiveness doesn’t take away the protection conferred by the First Amendment. Indeed, it is precisely such speech that is most protected by the First Amendment, because that speech that people are most inclined to ban or punish is that which most needs protection.

Eugene Volokh has an interesting legal analysis of the second case (and links to some interesting articles providing additional information), and notes that there could be charges for violating a local ordinance about postings being placed upon utility oles. I have to ask, though, that if said prosecution involves an infrequently enforced statute because of official disapproval of the speech in question, does this raise a First Amendment issue?





|| Greg, 08:13 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Congratulations, Archbishop Listecki!

I’m pleased to see one of my former seminary professors again moving up in the church.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki took over as leader of some 640,000 Catholics in southeastern Wisconsin Monday, expressing humility and saying his biggest fear was that he would not do a good job.

"Can I, in terms of my own abilities, rise to the occasion?" Listecki said after his installation service. "That's where faith has to kick in because then faith has to come in and say, 'Well, somehow God put us here and put us together and is going to give us the ability to respond to the challenges.'"

The 60-year-old came from the La Crosse diocese, with about 202,000 parishioners in 165 parishes in western Wisconsin, where he had served since 2005. The Milwaukee archdiocese has 211 churches.

The Chicago native is also a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves.

What the article does not mention is that Jerry Listecki is also a incredibly brilliant and incredibly personable man who exudes a great faith and a deep spirituality.

And if Pope Benedict was known as “God’s Rottweiller” before ascending to the Chair of St. Peter, I think it would also be fair to label Archbishop Listecki as God’s Pit Bull when it comes to his defense of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church in the public arena.

Listecki has been more outspoken on political issues than Dolan. He once admonished House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her interpretation of Catholic teachings on the beginnings of life, and criticized the University of Notre Dame's decision earlier this year to honor Barack Obama. He has also spoken out against the group Young Catholics for Choice, which was working with a Wisconsin family planning clinic to promote access to emergency contraceptives. This fall, he also testified before a Wisconsin legislative committee, arguing against a bill that would make it easier for victims of clergy sex abuse to sue their perpetrators.

On that latter point, I can only imagine that his testimony was grounded firmly in not only theological notions of justice but also in the best traditions of both the US Constitution and American law.

To the people of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, I offer my congratulations on receiving the gift of Archbishop Jerry Listecki. You may not know it yet, but you have truly been blessed.





|| Greg, 07:59 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 07, 2010

First Watcher's Council Results Of 2010

Council Submissions



Non-Council Submissions


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

Where's Obama On This One?

Will he suggest that the young man in this situation was the victim of police brutality? Will he declare that those officers acted stupidly? Will he attempt to make peace between the citizen and the stupid cops by inviting them all to the White House for beer?

A grandson of former President Reagan was arrested early Thursday at his home in Los Angeles, police said.

Cameron Reagan, 31, was taken into custody by police responding to a house alarm at 12:20 a.m. (3:20 a.m. ET), said Officer Gregory Baek of the Los Angeles Police Department.

There was a minor amount of force used, Baek said. Reagan was detained for resisting arrest and is being held on $10,000 bail.

A spokeswoman for Reagan's father, Michael, said Cameron Reagan accidentally tripped his security alarm when he came home with four friends.

The silent alarm alerted the police without his realizing it, spokeswoman Kirsten Fedewa said.

Cameron Reagan heard a commotion in the front yard of his house -- which was not lit -- and saw people in dark clothing, Fedewa said.

When he asked who they were, they responded "Who are you?" according to Fedewa.

When he identified himself and reached for his identification, "they thought he was going for a gun. They tackled and arrested him," Fedewa said.

So where is Obama on this? If he can intervene in a case involving a hack professor from a pseudo-academic discipline, surely he can take a position on a police incident involving the family of one of his predecessors.

What is it about about Cameron Reagan that would provoke such silence?

We can only
Hope that
It isn't precisely
The sort of double standard we generally
Expect from liberals like Obama.





|| Greg, 06:56 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Racial Insensitivity From The Obama Regime

Oh, the horrors!

A fiery blast from the past is conjuring controversy in the new millennium. The word "negro" is now featured on an official U.S. document and now many are questioning if the Census Bureau is being insensitive.

It's a word that many African Americans associate with segregation, so imagine how shocked many were to see it on the 2010 U.S. census form.

"The fact that it's 2010 and they're still putting 'negro,' I am a little offended," said Secaucus resident Dawud Ingram.

Of course, there is a better way to handle the entire issue. Quit having the government classify citizens by race and ethnicity (especially because government then uses the data to apportion benefits and burdens), and let the census be what it was intended to be by the Framers when they established it – an enumeration of citizens for purposes of representation and taxation. After all, the only race that has any scientific validity to it is “human”.





|| Greg, 03:50 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 06, 2010

On The Left-Wing Freak-Out Over Brit Hume’s Public Christianity

I don’t know that I would have made the assertion that Brit Hume did about Tiger Woods Buddhist faith and how he would do well to become a Christian. That is, though, a function of having had several years of theological education which included some comparative religious studies and having come out of a tradition which takes a more subtle approach to evangelization. However, I don’t see anything all that outrageous in a professing Christian saying that someone needs to get a little Jesus in their life – indeed, there is this little directive in the New Testament that tells Christians to spread the Good News of Christ to the whole world.

Consider, for example, the over-the-top reaction of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann to this pretty mild expression of from a fellow commentator who has never made a secret of his Christian faith.

KEITH OLBERMANN, IN OPENING TEASER: Brit Hume and the attempt to threaten Tiger Woods into converting to Christianity. He does it again. BRIT HUME, FROM THE O’REILLY FACTOR: You speak the name Jesus Christ, and, I don’t mean to make a pun here, but all hell breaks loose.

...

OLBERMANN: BEFORE COMMERCIAL BREAK: Brit Hume has tried to force Tiger Woods into becoming a Christian again. That in a moment.

Threaten? Force? I don’t think so? Did Hume indicate that Tiger Woods should be physically harmed if he does not convert? Was there any suggestion that Woods should be coerced into changing his religion? Hardly! Yet somehow, Olbermann and his ilk make it sound as if Hume has suggested that Woods in an infidel who should be murdered! Does this sound like a threat of force?

"He is said to be a Buddhist. I don`t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."

Or what about the follow-up statement on Bill O’Reilly’s show that struck Olbermann as even more outrageous?

What I`m saying is if Tiger Woods were to make a true conversion, we would know it. It would show through in his being. And he would know it, above all. And he would feel the extraordinary blessing that that would be. And it would shine because he is so prominent. It would be a shining light. And I think it would be a magnificent thing to witness.

I guess I miss what is particularly outrageous about what Hume had to say. And as a Christian, I’ll go so far as reject the notion put forth by Keith Olbermann that the original statement, if made by a Muslim suggesting a conversion to Islam, would be any more offensive to me or to most Christians if couched it were expressed in otherwise identical language. There just is not anything to be offended by – provided, of course, one is not offended by the very notion that believers in one religion might believe that their faith is superior to other belief systems.

And therein lies the problem – too many Americans (indeed, too much of the Western world) have fallen for the notion that public expression of religion – at least by Christians – is something that is in bad taste and is so intolerant that it should not be tolerated.

The Washington Times may have put it best in this editorial comment.

If there were doubt that much of the media is hostile to traditional faith, especially traditional Christianity, that doubt has been drowned in the wake of a vicious verbal assault on Fox News analyst Brit Hume. Histrionic fulminations against Mr. Hume's inoffensive expression of faith expose an ugly strain of anti-religious bigotry that is spreading inside this country's liberal establishment.

Exactly – and might I suggest that advocates of liberal secularism like those cited in the editorial have become so intolerant of religious belief, practice, and expression that they are a bigger threat to any concept of the fundamental human right to freely practice and profess one’s religion than a Christian like Brit Hume is for merely saying those things that Christians have been saying since the Resurrection.





|| Greg, 06:44 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (5) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Some Jobs Really Stink

Back-to-work.jpg

H/T Lone Star Times





|| Greg, 06:36 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Terrorist Work Accident In Afghanistan

Sucks for them, but not for their would-be innocent victims

Fourteen suspected terrorists died Tuesday night when the bus they rigged with explosives blew up prematurely, police said.

The explosion occurred as the suspects were riding the bus in the province of Kunduz, said police chief Abdul Raziq Yaqobi.

Yaqobi said the suspects wanted to attack Afghan police or foreign soldiers.

My question is whether or not they get their 72 virgins due to their deaths being caused by premature detonation. Or will Allah be pimping the girls out to more competent jihadis?

Strawberry-Pimp.jpg
Allahu -- that's who!

Dan Riehl also comments.





|| Greg, 06:31 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Mass. College Makes Valid Choice On Covered Faces

No, you cannot come to school and sit in class with your face covered at one Massachusetts institution of higher learning.

A Massachusetts pharmacy college instituted a ban on clothing that obscures the face, including face veils and burqas, weeks after a Muslim alumnus who is also the son of a professor was charged with plotting terror strikes.

The policy change at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services, announced in a campus-wide e-mail last month, went into effect Friday.

Michael Ratty, a college spokesman, said the policy was developed in the fall during the school's annual review of its public safety procedures and was unrelated to the arrest of 2008 graduate Tarek Mehanna.

"It is not directed to any group or individual. It applies to all students and faculty," Ratty said.

Ratty said the school believed everyone entering the small Boston campus should be able to be properly identified. He said the college discussed the policy with Muslim students and officials at the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, and all understood the need for the change.

Now this is a reasonable requirement. Teachers and other school officials ought to be able to identify those on campus for both reasons of security and academic integrity. After all, if a student has a covered face during an exam, can you really be sure that it is the correct student taking the test.

And while campus and local Muslim groups in the area accept the new policy as legitimate, the national grievance-mongers from CAIR are already making noise about challenging the ban because it does not contain a religious exemption.

Personally, I find this

2b69fe7eb8[1].jpg

and this

woman-with-burka_64[1].jpg

no more acceptable than this

3954_Inside_The_Klan-2_04700300[1].JPG

in a classroom setting, and applaud the school for adopting the common sense policy.





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

Koala Porn!

Tennis star Andy Roddick got upstaged during an interview at an Australian koala sanctuary. The distraction? A couple of amorous marsupials in a tree just behind him!

Gotta love the distracted cameraman who started ignoring the interview subject for the more amusing antics over his shoulder. Does he still have a job?





|| Greg, 06:02 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

January 05, 2010

History Geeking – The Books Of Timbuktu

When I taught world history, one of the things that always brought my class to attention was the unit on African history. Frankly, most westerners don’t know nearly enough about the civilizations of Africa. I include myself in that indictment, and so one of my areas of personal reading has been in the histories of the different civilizations of sub-Saharan Africa. That is why this particular article jumped off the screen at me this morning.

TIMBUKTU, MALI -- From a dented metal trunk, Abdoul Wahim Abdarahim Tahar pulled out something sure to make a preservationist's heart race -- or break: a leather-bound book written by hand in the 14th century, containing key verses of the prophet Muhammad, and crumbling at the edge of each yellowed page. "Every time I touch it, it falls apart," he said, paging through the book. "Little by little." But Tahar saw promise in the brittle volume -- for himself, his family and this legendary but now tumbledown town. He is not the only one. A sort of ancient-book fever has gripped Timbuktu in recent years, and residents hope to lure the world to a place known as the end of the Earth by establishing libraries for visitors to see their centuries-old collections of manuscripts. In a West African town where nomads and traders eke out livings, a revival of world attention to hundreds of thousands of privately held manuscripts -- which survived fire, rain, sand and termites -- represents an economic opportunity. But researchers and residents say the restoration of the books, most written in Arabic on fragile paper or lambskin, is also vital to showcasing Timbuktu's -- and, by extension, sub-Saharan Africa's -- more glorious past as a vibrant hub of scholarship.

Imagine it – hundreds of thousands of ancient manuscripts. Now many of these would be Qurans and early writings of Islamic teaching. Others, though, are likely to be literature of the great West African civilization of Mali that was centered around Timbuktu. That seems very exciting to me, for it will open up a new vista on another time and place in history.





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

Texans’ Cushing Is Top Defensive Rookie

For the second time in the team’s eight year history, the top defensive rookie in the NFL wears a Houston Texans jersey.

Texans outside linebacker Brian Cushing was voted the Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year on Tuesday.

Cushing, the No. 15 overall selection in last year's draft, was a landslide winner over Buffalo safety Jarius Byrd. Cushing received 39 votes to Byrd's six.

Green Bay outside linebacker Clay Matthews, a college teammate of Cushing's at Southern California, received three votes and Washington outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, a product of the University of Texas and Lamar High School, received two votes.

Cushing joins middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans as the second Texans player to win the award in voting by a nationwide panel of 50 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL.

Ryans won the award in 2006.

Cushing, who was named to the Pro Bowl, led the AFC with 134 tackles and also had five sacks and four interceptions to help lead the Texans to the first winning season in franchise history.

Speaking as a season ticket holder, I have to say that Cushing was one of the real bright spots for me this year as a fan. His performance on the field gave me some real hope, even during the darkest days of the season, that this team would get better. So congratulations, Brian, on a job well done!





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

Making A Distinction

Lest anyone be confused by my post about the hanging of President Obama in effigy down in Plains, Georgia, let me offer an example of what is NOT protected by the First Amendment.

A man from New Orleans is in custody tonight after being arrested and charged with threatening to kill President Barack Obama.

According to court records, a Secret Service agent alleged 47-year-old John Turnpaugh called 911 early last Friday and told a dispatcher he planned to kill the President and First Lady.

Actual threats of bodily harm against the President are not constitutionally protected speech. Symbolic speech is expressing disapproval of the President and/or his policies is constitutionally protected -- which is not to say that the form of expression is not worthy of condemnation by others.

H/T Dan Riehl





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

January 04, 2010

Hanged Obama Effigy Is Free, Though Disgusting, Speech

This story is a big deal to some on the Left, but let's keep it in perspective.

The US Secret Service says it is investigating after an effigy of Barack Obama was found hanging in the home town of former President Jimmy Carter.

TV footage showed the doll hanging by a noose in front of a red, white and blue sign that reads "Plains, Georgia. Home of Jimmy Carter, our 39th President".

Witnesses said the effigy had President Obama's name on it.

Plains Mayor LE Godwin III said the fire department had been called to take it down.

In Washington, US Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan confirmed that the agency was investigating the case.

Frankly, I fail to see this as needing an investigation. It is clearly political speech, protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. And it is not unprecedented in US history. Consider these images.

hanging[1].jpg

20070402-Bush-Gonzales[1].jpg

bushbeheaded[1].jpg

You know, back from when such things were labeled as "dissent" by liberals, as in "dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

Of course, hangings of effigies of presidents does go back further in US history. Indeed, I seem to recall it being done to an effigy of George Washington during the Whiskey Rebellion, though I may be mistaken.

And ultimately, absent a direct threat to carry out such an action upon the president's own person, this would appear to be nothing more than speech protected by the First Amendment, just like flag burning. It might be offensive to some (indeed, to many), but it is certainly legal.





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

Talk About Insincerity

Here you have it from a sitting Democrat judge here in Houston, Judge Robert Hinojosa of the 312nd Family Court here in Houston.

Faced with an opponent currently deployed to Iraq with the 72nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Texas National Guard, Judge Hinojosa had this to say.

“I would never attack anyone, certainly not my opponent, for being patriotic, for serving his country,” Hinojosa said. “The difference is David is very much of the military mind-set. I think he really is a military person, and that's where he really wants to be. That's where his heart is, much more than doing these cases here.”

His opponent, David Farr, served with distinction as a District Court and Family Court judge in Harris County for six years before the Obama tidal wave swept most of the GOP judges on the ballot out of office in 2008. For Hinojosa to call into question the commitment of a distinguished jurist because he is also a currently serving member of the National Guard is disgraceful -- in addition to demonstrating Hinojosa's dishonesty and insincerity in his claim that he would not attack Farr for his service to our country.

Especially since Hinojosa had no problem supporting a serving National Guard member, Rick Noriega, when he was the Democrat candidate for US Senate in 2008.

I'd like to go on record now as giving David Farr my endorsement in his race for the 312th Family Court. There is no campaign website for Farr, but he is a milblogger, chronicling his experiences in Iraq, so I encourage you to give the man some traffic..





|| Greg, 09:36 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

And He Would Know

It is always important to listen to those who lived under communism when they not that certain developments in this country remind them of the system under which they were oppressed.

A former top Romanian spy who defected to the United States in the 1970s has endorsed a U.S. House hopeful in the closely watched race for Ohio's 16th congressional district.

Ion Mihai "Mike" Pacepa, now an American citizen, is backing conservative Republican Paul Schiffer in the 2010 election because he believes Democrats are turning America into a socialist dictatorship like the one he escaped. Pacepa's long-time translator, Wayne Barnes, confirmed the endorsement's veracity after it was released by the campaign.

Pacepa, who is in hiding, said Marx's socialism "transformed a third of the world into an abysmal 20th century feudalism" and now threatens the contemporary U.S. through the Obama administration.

"If the Democratic Party has its way, it will transform the United States into a socialist country in all but name. The 2010 elections could prevent that catastrophe from happening," his statement said.

And lest you think this guy is some obscure defector, realize that his writings were instrumental in securing the convictions of the Romanian dictator and his wife for crimes against the Romanian people. It behooves us to listen to what he says.





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

A First Amendment Problem With ObamaCare?

I cannot help but be struck by the implications of this exemption to the supposedly "mandatory" health care coverage that is going to be made by the Democrats.

Pennsylvania is home to 381 Amish church districts, 12 of them in Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties, according to a study by The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College.

The commonwealth is second only to Ohio with nearly 52,000 Amish residents.

Many of those in the Amish man’s Valley community participate in optional insurance coverage through their church — not from private or public firms, as would be required by the legislation.

The Senate bill would phase in an eventual $750 fine in 2016 for those who have not purchased qualifying health care coverage, unless they could not find a plan that would cost less than 8 percent of their income. The House bill would require a fine equal to 2.5 percent of a person’s income if he does not carry insurance. Those who cannot find a plan that costs less than 12 percent of their income would be exempt.

For the Amish, however, there appears to be a loophole through which they can escape the possible mandate.

“There is a religious exemption in the bill,” said Roseanne Placey, spokeswoman with the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, “which would apply to them, since they believe the religious duty of communities is to provide for one another when they are sick.”

So the Feds are going to tell Americans that they are exempt from certain taxation and provisions of the law if they are members of the right churches? Doesn't that run afoul of a whole host of Establishment Clause cases? And what is to keep Americans from claiming to be members of such religious groups?

But wait -- your religious group needs to have been in continuous existence since 1950. But what if your faith is a new one in this country? Or perhaps a new one that did not exist in 1950? Are your religious sentiments less entitled to respect by the government? It appears that the Democrats think so.

UPDATE: I received the following question by email overnight while comments were down: "So, how exactly are tehy going to determine who is Amish? Are they going to impose a strict theological and ecclesiastical test to make that determination, or can you define your own Amishness in the same way that Nancy Pelosi and the Kennedys get to define their own a la carte Catholicism?"





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

January 01, 2010

2010 Starts With More Muslim Mayhem -- The Attack On Kurt Westergaard

It appears that members of the Religion of Peace Murder Anyone Who Offends Muslim Sensibilities decided to try to go after cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who is best known to civilized people and followers of Islam for his famous cartoon of the false prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

Fortunately, Westergaard is unharmed -- Mark Steyn, and happily the guy who came to kill him and his family is not.

Danish police have shot and wounded a man at the home of Kurt Westergaard, whose cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad sparked a major row.

Danish media say Mr Westergaard was in his home in Aarhus with his wife and grandchild when a man broke in and threatened him with a hammer.

Mr Westergaard, 74, is said to have raised the alarm and police entered the house and shot the intruder.

Thank you to this stellar member of the Religion of Peace Murder Anyone Who Offends Muslim Sensibilities for starting the new year off in their typical barbaric fashion and reminding us why Islam and its followers must be looked upon with suspicion in this day and age.


Blow Me, Muhammad!

UPDATE: More information on this act of Muslim terrorism can be found at Fausta's Blog, PrairiePundit, Creeping Sharia, FullosseousFlap, Public Secrets, Gates of Vienna (including this piece on "responsibility meaning "self-censorship" -- precisely what my first two commenters below demand of me), Weasel Zippers (noting praise for the attacker from the Somali branch of the Islamic terror network with which he is affiliated), Gateway Pundit, Liberal Whoppers, Are You Freaking Stupid, Michelle Malkin, Jawa Report, Jules Crittenden, Pirate's Cove, Tel Chai Nation, Dan Riehl (Yeah, the guy does seem to have been a part of a terrorist group), and The Nose On Your Face (Great parody -- I'll share the video).





|| Greg, 08:01 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

About That New TSA Head

Seems that there is a little issue of spying and privacy violation for personal benefit that the Democrats would like to sweep under the rug. Oh, yeah -- and lying about it, too.

The White House nominee to lead the Transportation Security Administration gave Congress misleading information about incidents in which he inappropriately accessed a federal database, possibly in violation of privacy laws, documents obtained by The Washington Post show.

The disclosure comes as pressure builds from Democrats on Capitol Hill for quick January confirmation of Erroll Southers, whose nomination has been held up by GOP opponents. In the aftermath of an attempted airline bombing on Christmas Day, calls have intensified for lawmakers to install permanent leadership at the TSA, a critical agency in enforcing airline security.

I'd suggest that it was time to reject the Southers nomination and wait for Obama to sent the name of an honest, competent nominee for the position, except for a certain sad reality. neither honesty (Geithner) nor competence (Napolitano) are requirements for high office under the Obama Regime.





|| Greg, 10:58 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||
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