Given how the process works, when all is said and done it is possible that neither Ron Paul nor Mitt Romney get any Iowa delegates to the Republican Nation Convention!
Now you may wonder how this is possible, but it has to do with the fact that the Iowa Caucuses do not award delegates. Rather, they pick delegates to the County Conventions who pick delegates to the state convention who pick delegates to the national convention. And as Michael Bates of BatesLine notes, if Ron Paul (and Mitt Romney) don't rise above 25% support statewide, the delegates supporting the other candidates may be able to deny them delegates to the State and national conventions.
At the county level, there may be a few counties with a concentration of Paul supporters where the majority of county delegates will be Paul fans and will elect their own to the state convention. But at most county conventions, Paul's support will be less than 25%, and "Non-Paul" delegates will band together to keep Paul supporters away from the state convention.
If Paul is to have any backers at all at the state convention, it will only happen if the campaign successfully mobilizes its supporters to constitute a majority of the caucusers at a majority of the precincts in at least one county. If Paul's 25% support is spread evenly across the state, he will have no delegates at the Iowa state convention and no delegates from Iowa in Tampa.
This outcome would not be the result of a grand establishment conspiracy against Ron Paul. It would be a reflection of how Paul polarizes the Republican electorate. While Santorum, Perry, Bachmann, and Gingrich supporters may disagree about the relative merits of their candidates, they are all likely to agree with each other and differ strongly with Paul supporters on issues like Iran, Israel, drug legalization, and whether 9/11 was an "inside job."
The supporters of these four candidates may likewise band together to prevent Romney supporters from advancing to the county convention, so that, if there's still an active contest in June, the convention would pick national delegates who will back the non-Romney and non-Paul candidate still in the race.
I've mentioned my sense that a brokered convention might not be a bad thing for the GOP. This sort of scenario is one way we could find ourselves heading to that scenario.
Mark Tapscott makes this observation on why the Tea Party has been disappointed by the House GOP over the last year -- unreal expectations.
In order for reform movements like the Tea Party to achieve genuine enduring change, they must win several consecutive elections, including at least one for the White House.
I've been trying to get that point across to my fellow conservatives for some time now. What we've gotten over the last year is about what we could have expected given the realities of Washington -- where the GOP controls only the the House of Representatives.
We often hear reference to "the ship of state". I like that analogy, because a ship is a large and cumbersome thing. Unlike the hot rod so many of us lusted over in our youth, a ship does not turn on a dime. You can do a donut in a car, but not in an oil tanker or an aircraft carrier.
The House Republicans have made a good start in changing the course of government. That change, though, is by nature slow and incremental. If we insist upon voting out current members because they failed to accomplish every goal or fulfill every promise in record time. But look at the good that has been done, the accomplishments begun, and remember that turning a ship is a job that takes time, distance, and a crew working together.
I don't like CAIR -- the Council on American-Islamic Relations -- because of its history of having terrorists in its senior leadership and its documented connection to terrorist fundraising. That the organization has been allowed to continue to operate openly, rather than being shut down as a criminal conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism, continues to amaze me.
But I can't condemn one recent action by CAIR -- its campaign to shut down a blog that clearly crossed the line. That site is "Bare Naked Islam", which was shut down by Word press after complaints from CAIR and warnings to its site-owner regarding violent, threatening posts and comments.
And let's be honest -- when you are praising the desecration of houses of worship and advocating for attacks on individuals purely because of their religion, you've crossed the line that separates legitimate criticism of Islam and the evils that have been too often associated with that faith from advocacy of and support for terrorism. I would certainly condemn a blog that advocated such things towards Christians or Jews and their houses of worship if it came to my attention, so I will hold to the standard that standard in this instance -- what was said on BNI was beyond the pale. I'm not sure that I agree with CAIR's contention that the site crossed the line into illegal incitement, but I do agree that WordPress was well within its rights to take the site down. After all, would you want your brand associated with posts like these, which CAIR has preserved for posterity? I was ready to vomit when I read them.
My dear friend Rob from over at JoshuaPundit gave voice to my sentiments quite well.
There is plenty to be said about Islamist infiltration in America, about jihad, about creeping sharia, about the threat of Islamists and Salafists to our civilization, and I've said it here more than once. But to call for the butchering of innocent people praying in a mosque is simply evil. In fact, it's exactly how jihadis treat churches in places like Nigeria, Pakistan and Indonesia.
And speaking just for myself,I consider that not only irresponsible but morally reprehensible.
It's also stupid, because it plays right into the Islamist's hands.
It's not well known, but the majority of domestic jihad terrorist attacks here in America have been thwarted because an American Muslim saw or heard something in a mosque, overheard a conversation, saw something that didn't look or feel right and reported it to the authorities, often at risk to themselves.
They did it out of simple decency, which is the frame where the majority of people operate ordinarily. But they also did it because they realized that every jihad attack here in America reflected on them as Muslims and threatened their continued existence as free citizens in a free country.
It's exactly the same for the sort of material I saw on that Bare Naked Islam page. It allows Islamists like CAIR to use it to shut down legitimate criticism of Islamism and jihad, it gives credence to the constant whining about Islamophobia and most importantly, it allows them to go to Muslims who may not support CAIR's agenda and raise money and support from them, saying: 'You see why you need us? You see now how we were right all along?'
A friend asks 'do you really think it's worth losing their site over?' That's not my decision to make. But if what CAIR linked to was what was actually appearing on Bare Naked Islam and not manufactured, then as far as I'm concerned, Wordpress was well within their rights to decide that they didn't want to be associated with that kind of material, and to invite the owners of Bare Naked Islam to take their content elsewhere.
It's a decision I would have made myself, CAIR or no CAIR. There's real danger in getting so blinded by hatred that you become what you despise without realizing it.
Want to take issue with the tenets of Islam? Feel free. Want to condemn the extremism that expresses itself in jihadism? Go for it. Want to make observations about the evils committed in the name of Islam, the incompatibility of sharia law with the US Constitution, and the backwards nature of what passes for "civilization" in the Muslim world? You are welcome to do so. I think all of those are legitimate issues for discussion and debate. But when you start cheering the destruction of houses of worship and supporting the murder of innocents, you have become what you profess to hate -- and have adopted the methods used by the Third Reich. I might not support the government prosecuting you for those words, but I'll support the right of any individual, group, or business to cut their ties with you.
So sorry, folks, I won't be joining in the hue and cry of some of my friends and fellows who are outraged by the actions by CAIR and WordPress -- what was done was righteous in my book.
Now if only Twitter will do the right thing in this case. After all, Hezbollah is a real terrorist group, unlike the big talkers from Bare Naked Islam. Will CAIR do the right thing and join in this call? I'm not holding my breath.
It's "one down, two to go" for corrupt Democrat constables here in Harris County. The latest news is that Precinct 1 Constable Jack Abercia has withdrawn from the Democrat primary for the office he has held for two decades in the wake of corruption allegations and a federal investigation of the matter.
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- On the heels of a 13 Undercover investigation into Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Jack Abercia's office, the 20-year incumbent has announced his withdrawal from the primary election.
The chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party told us late Wednesday afternoon that he received a letter Tuesday morning from Abercia. It stated that Abercia was withdrawing his name from the primary ballot, citing health reasons.
The deadline to file has passed. It was December 19, but officials anticipate it reopening sometime in February because of the court battle over redistricting.
Nevertheless, the news comes about two weeks after 13 Undercover broke the story about the FBI's investigation into bribery allegations at Abercia's office.
I love "health reasons" as his excuse -- that would obviously be his legal health, as the corruption going on in his precinct (as well as in the precincts of two other Democrat constables in the county) is a
cancer (explanation for strike-out below) upon law enforcement. Indeed, all he Abercia needed to add was that he "wanted to spend more time with his family" to have written the perfect face-saving missive.
Best possible outcome? A triple perp-walk of corrupt Democrat lawmen.
UPDATE: Sometimes you write something and later wish you had not. This morning I've read an article from another source that mentions that Jack Abercia has now said that the reason he is bowing out is that he is suffering from cancer. I do wish him well in that battle -- and wish that I had not used the word "cancer" in the original post. I've left it in place (struck out and referred to this update) because I believe the statement made is an accurate reflection of the situation in the various Democrat-controlled constable precincts here in Harris County that are currently under investigation AND because I don't wish to be accused of acting like I have something to hide by making a change to words that were written in good faith.
A little more than a week ago, an article appeared in local media about domestic violence charges against a local officeholder. I didn't blog about it here due to the sparse details, but I did comment on it over at the Houston Chronicle website. My position was rather straightforward.
Not good -- if there is any truth to the charges, Murray needs to go.
Well, now Galveston County District Clerk Jason Murray has entered a guilty plea to the Class A misdemeanor charge.
Galveston County District Clerk Jason Murray pleaded guilty Tuesday to assault on a family member for an incident earlier this month.
Murray struck his wife, Mekisha Jane Murray, bloodying her nose, as they sat in an SUV in a Houston parking lot after a Christmas party Dec. 8, according to court records.
Mekisha Murray, a defense attorney and former judicial candidate, then jumped out of the moving vehicle, lost her balance and hit her head on the pavement. She later told police that the fall was her own fault, an arrest affidavit shows.
That settles it for me. Murray needs to go -- and that he did not immediately resign his office tells me he needs to be pushed out the door. Any action that Galveston County can take to remove him from office seems to be appropriate to me. And I encourage my friends with the Galveston County GOP to pass a resolution demanding Murray's resignation at their next executive committee meeting
Sears Holdings Corp will close as many as 120 of its Kmart and Sears discount and department stores after its holiday sales slumped, sending its shares sliding more than 27 percent to their lowest level in three years.
The retailer, which is controlled by its chairman, the hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, has seen sales decline every year since the $11 billion merger of the two chains in 2005, and likely faces further closings to cut expenses, preserve cash and push back against rivals such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Amazon.com Inc, analysts said.
Sears also disclosed on Tuesday that it tapped its credit line to borrow cash and forecast that fourth-quarter earnings would fall by more than half.
The Christmas sales period is usually indicative of what is going on with the nation's economy. Looks like not much growth -- and lot's of contraction -- in the Obama Economy.
He's spent years opposing them here in Texas -- but now Rick Perry has filed a lawsuit demanding that unelected judicial activists on the federal bench overturn long-standing laws validly enacted by the elected legislators of one of the several states.
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday challenging his exclusion from the Republican primary ballot in Virginia, a state known for having some of the most restrictive ballot access rules in the country.
The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, asserts that portions of the Virginia election law, including a rule that requires would-be primary candidates to gather petition signatures only from 10,000 qualified voters who intend to vote in the primary, are unconstitutional. The Virginia Republican Party announced last week that neither Mr. Perry nor Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, had submitted enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.
In other words, Perry and his campaign could not get the job done, so he is demanding the courts overturn a decades-old statute that requires that presidential candidates collect 10,000 valid signatures from registered voters, including 400 from each Congressional district. Virginia has over 5 million registered voters and does not register voters by party, so the requirement amounts to an expectation that a campaign gather the signature of two-tenths of one percent of registered voters. That hardly seems like an unreasonable requirement -- and in the eyes of the elected representatives of the people of Virginia, it constitutes a legitimate expectation.
Rick the Double-Dip and Newt the Double-Adulterer failed in their responsibility to meet the ballot-access requirements in Virginia, and have mounted aggressive whining campaigns in response. Now Perry has filed a lawsuit which he justified with a lie about his respect for Virginia.
Gov. Perry greatly respects the citizens and history of the Commonwealth of Virginia and believes Virginia Republicans should have greater access to vote for one of the several candidates for president of the United States, said Ray Sullivan, Mr. Perrys communications director, in a statement.
Mr. Perry, a champion of states rights, is asking the court to compel the state Republican party and board of elections to certify him on the ballot for the primary, which will be held on March 6, 2012.
In other words, "Damn the law -- put me on the ballot illegally!"
Let's just call it another example of "Rick-pocrisy".
How ineffective is Ron Paul as a member of Congress? I think this says it all.
Of the 620 measures that Paul has sponsored, just four have made it to a vote on the House floor. Only that one has been signed into law.
It isn't just that his ideas are outside the mainstream. Apparently he is also unwilling or unable to make appeals to his fellow legislators to actually support his proposals. If that pattern continued in the White House, it would make Barack Obama appear to be an active and effective Chief Executive.
And by the way -- that Ron Paul's campaign argues that his record of failure and lack of accomplishments is proof of his "strength of leadership" is indicative of the level of delusion among the Paulistinians.
By now, most folks know about the content of Ron Paul's newsletters and the great many outrageous statements they contain. But let's refresh your memory on the things we are talking about -- here are a few from a much more extensive article:
A Special Issue on Racial Terrorism analyzes the Los Angeles riots of 1992: Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began. ... What if the checks had never arrived? No doubt the blacks would have fully privatized the welfare state through continued looting. But they were paid off and the violence subsided.
The October 1992 issue of the Political Report paraphrases an ex-cop who offers this strategy for protecting against urban youth: If you have to use a gun on a youth, you should leave the scene immediately, disposing of the wiped off gun as soon as possible. Such a gun cannot, of course, be registered to you, but one bought privately (through the classifieds, for example).
In the April 1993 Ron Paul Survival Report, the authorwriting in the first personstates, Whether [the 1993 World Trade Center bombing] was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little. The newsletters also warns readers to do your very best to keep your family away from inner cities. If you cant, have a haven remote from the metropolitan areas.
Yeah, that's mighty outrageous stuff there.
Jonah Goldberg offers an examination of Paul's claim that he didn't know what was going out in his name, and explains why that claim is insufficient to absolve Ron Paul.
Lets start with his first argument. I simply dont believe him. His claim would require not only that he never wrote the newsletters in question but that he never read them either. It would also strongly suggest that he never discussed their basic editorial thrust with a close aide and editor who was writing under Pauls own name. He even claims that he never paid attention his lucrative newsletter business because nobody ever complained about their content.
I admit to a writers bias here, but your byline is one of the most valuable things you own because it reflects not just your work and thought but your character and reputation as well. I think Paul is lying about at least some of this. But even if you take him at his word that he was merely grossly irresponsible and incompetent in his handling of a few newsletters, how are we supposed to believe he could do the job of president if he has such poor management skills and such rotten choice in staff? (Admittedly, his choice in staff was only rotten if hes telling the truth and his newsletters dont reflect his views).
Now I refuse to believe that Ron Paul is a fool, so I can't accept the argument that he didn't know what was being written and mailed in his name. And various interviews over the years, Ron Paul appears to have endorsed the newsletters and their content -- his attempts to distance himself from those newsletters cam only after he began his 2008 presidential bid and have re-doubled now that their contents have become an issue in the 2012 race.
For example, here is Ron Paul talking about the newsletters in 1995 -- at about the 1:40 mark.
And here he is touting it in 1987:
So Ron Paul cannot claim to have been hands-off with regards to the newsletter -- and if he was, it shows a degree of irresponsibility that renders him unfit for the presidency.
But even if you set that aside, I think that this clip from this weekend tells us why the things that Ron Paul says today about foreign policy are an even better reason to reject him.
Ron Paul's foreign policy views are similar to Jeremiah Wright's. If we found them unacceptable when they came from Obama's pastor in 2008, we certainly can't accept them from a potential GOP candidate in 2012.
UPDATE: Of course, the simplest way of parceling out the blame for the newsletter, taking into account the various claims of authorship, looks something like this.
Works for me.
HufPo writer Bonnie Fuller is OUTRAGED that Congressman James Sensenbrenner would dare to comment on the size of First Lady Michelle Obama's butt. So much so that she makes five rambling, mutually contradictory points condemning Sensenbrenner's comment, which was part of a phone call overheard by an eavesdropper.
Congressman, your behavior is wrong on so many levels, I am completely horrified.
#1) It is rude for ANY man to comment on what he perceives as ANY woman's figure flaws.
#2) It is hellacious behavior to do this to our First Lady, who deserves your respect. Her husband was elected by the American people and she graciously works to represent our country internationally and to help as many Americans as she can, in her unpaid position.
#3) Michelle Obama is NOT a political figure. She is not out there attacking you or any other Republicans and should not be the subject of personal attack. Her efforts to reduce obesity especially childhood obesity are HUGELY commendable because we have a HUGE problem in this country. Over 33.8 percent of U.S. adults are obese ,as are 17 percent of children and teens.
#4) Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. You sir, ARE FAT! Apparently, one of your favorite foods is cheetos and it shows! If you were smart, you would get with Michelle Obama's program and get moving!
#5) The disrespect you showed for the First Lady is actually disrespect for our institution of the Presidency itself. Is that what you wanted to show? Would you show equal disrespect for a Republican First Lady and how would you feel if a Democrat attacked a Republican First Lady? Actually how would you feel if someone said this about YOUR wife? You'd probably be the first to scream about it.
I'll respond to the five points made:
1) Arguably true -- if you apply this equally to a man's waistline or hairline.
2) What has Michelle Obama done to deserve my respect? Take a huge pay increase after her husband's Senate election (followed shortly by earmarks for her employer)? Or her patient-dumping program on behalf of that not-for-profit hospital? And do you feel the same sort of respect should have been paid by liberals to Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, or Laura Bush -- all of whom hand more class and dignity as First Lady and were attacked frequently? Indeed, let's consider the jab that this prominent Democrat took at former First Lady Nancy Reagan
3) Michelle Obama is a political figure -- and has been since she was her husband's surrogate during the 2008 campaign. She attacked the GOP then, and has done so since then.
4) Ah, a violation your own rule #1 -- or do you not believe in the equality of the sexes, and therefore believe that attacks on a man's physical flaws are acceptable?
5) If Obama grows a pair and discovers his manhood, he can take the matter up with the congressman -- this Republican might even support him punching out Sensenbrenner in that case. But don't forget that Sensenbrenner's comment was made in a cellphone call overheard by an eavesdropping busybody who ran to the press -- so I hope you will show similar outrage when your friends and relations insult First Lady Ann Romney in private conversations after her husband's inauguration next January.
Oh, and by the way, about that sixth point that you make on your website.
#6) Mrs. Obama is in fantastic shape and does NOT have a large derriere. She is a natural pear-shape, which means that she is genetically built to be wider through her hips and backside, like millions of American women, including Kim Kardashian and J lo. Insulting Michelle Obamas butt is the same as insulting those millions of American women.
In other words, the Congressman is right -- but you choose to redefine terms in order to make her amply-endowed backside acceptable. No wonder HuffPo wouldn't include that point on their website -- it discredits everything that comes before it. Besides -- comparing Michelle Obama to any member of the Kardashian HOrde is an indignity bigger that Sensenbrenner's offense..
FYI -- Sensenbrenner offered a written apology to Michelle Obama.
Am I defending Sensenbrenner's comment? No, I'm not. Ought it have been made where it could be overheard? No, it should not have been. But I find it hard to get worked up over what was essentially a catty comment made in a private conversation -- and find the overwrought wails of the Left to be much more offensive, given the insults and hate speech regularly directed at conservative women.
Call it another reason that Newt Gingrich is morally unfit to be President of the United States.
Newt Gingrichs campaign director said the candidate is viewing the setback in Virginia, in which he failed to collect enough signatures to qualify for the states primary, as an unexpected setback similar to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Newt and I agreed that the analogy is December 1941, campaign director Michael Krull wrote on the Gingrich Facebook page. We have experienced an unexpected set-back, but we will re-group and re-focus with increased determination, commitment and positive action. Throughout the next months there will be ups and downs; there will be successes and failures; there will be easy victories and difficult days - but in the end we will stand victorious.
So let's get this straight.
You knew what the law said about getting on the ballot in Virginia.
You failed to submit the right number/combination of valid signatures to comply with the law.
But somehow that constitutes a Pearl Harbor attack on your campaign? You have got to be kidding me.
That is a gross insult to the men who fought at Pearl Harbor -- both those who died and those who survived.
Now some will note that these are not the words of Newt Gingrich, and therefore question how I can say they constitute evidence of Gingrich's unfitness. Easy -- Michael Krull was acting as a campaign spokesperson, and attributed the sentiment to Gingrich himself. That Krull was not fired immediately -- and no, I don't care that it would have meant firing him on Christmas Day -- is all the evidence that I need that Newt is willing to let those words stand. And as the man who would be Commander in Chief of our nation's armed forces, that is intolerable.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us.
Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.
Over at NewsBusters, there is a post on comments by CBS's Nancy Cordes:
During a roundtable discussion on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, after asserting that in past years divided government had "produced some really remarkable pieces of legislation," correspondent Nancy Cordes blamed the presence of Tea Party Republicans for less congressional success in enacting legislation this year. (Video below)
Anchor Bob Schieffer raised the difficulty Congress has had in 2011 in making accomplishments, prompting Cordes to observe:I think what we learned this year is that divided government, which in the past has produced some really remarkable pieces of legislation, doesn't produce the same kind of results when you have two parties that are so far apart the way that these two are right now.
After noting that, in the past, Congress had been able to procrastinate before advancing critical legislation, she continued:It's worked in the past, but it doesn't work anymore because you have a new crop of Tea Party House Republicans who have no interest in political expediency. That's not what they ran on. They're not just going to get along. When they don't like a piece of legislation, they don't mind if it makes them look bad in the short-term. They're going to stand on the ground.
Implicit in these comments is the notion that it is somehow the duty of the Legislative Branch to pass more and more far-reaching legislation.
But is it?
Or is it instead the proper role of Congress to pass only that legislation that is truly both necessary AND proper to carrying out the delegated powers found in the Constitution?
If one takes the latter view, the proper measure of a Congress is not how many "remarkable pieces of legislation" get passed, but rather how intact the liberties of the American people after that Congress has run its course.
By that measure, the alleged blocking of legislation by uncompromising Tea Party Republicans in the House is a good thing, and one that has left Americans more free than they would have been had they been willing to "compromise".
But this also overlooks the other reality of the current Congress -- the same Republicans in the House who have allegedly blocked "remarkable legislation" have themselves passed some twenty pieces of remarkable legislation that would fundamentally alter how programs are run, reform budgets and improve our tax system. Senate majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to call many of these pieces of legislation to the floor, and has refused to allow other pieces of legislation to be amended to include elements of the House legislation. So tell me -- who is uncompromising?
This story is shocking -- but not just because of the death sentence for adultery. Look what the convicted woman got a lesser sentence for.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Authorities in Iran said Sunday they are again moving ahead with plans to execute a woman sentenced to death by stoning on an adultery conviction in a case that sparked an international outcry, but are considering whether to carry out the punishment by hanging instead.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is already behind bars, serving a 10-year sentence on a separate conviction in the murder of her husband. Amid the international outrage her case generated, Iran in July 2010 suspended plans to carry out her death sentence on the adultery conviction.
So let's get this straight -- being part of a plot to murder your spouse will draw you only a ten-year sentence, but cheating will get you executed. That, my friends, is nuts!
My mom sent me a link to this video yesterday, reminding me of my dad's days on destroyers. It is a neat little short film from the DoD -- and catches the essence of the Navy (and the military as a whole) in a different time.
It was my great privilege to meet the admiral when I was a boy, when he walked over to talk to a young Navy wife and her two sons while they were all waiting to be seen at Bethesda Naval Hospital during the Vietnam War. As I look back, I remain struck by the man's kindness and gentleness -- and the strength of personality in a man already into his 70s. He told my brother and I to be proud of our father who was, like him, a destroyer officer, because our father was doing some of the most important work there was -- defending our country.
Thank you to my father -- and to all the other destroyermen out there -- who sacrificed so much to keep us all safe.
Here are last weeks full results:
Results from the latest round of voting will be up in a more timely fashion.!
Looking forward to Christmas of 2012!
It only took a decade, but the Houston Texans are going to be in the playoffs. But where will they be seeded?
* Own tiebreaker over Pittsburgh with regular-season win this year
* Own tiebreaker over New England (if Patriots fall back to a tie) because they would own better AFC record
* Lose tiebreaker to Baltimore with regular-season loss this year
* In a three-way tie, Houston would own tiebreaker, with the best record in the AFC
So, what does this mean?
Most likely scenarios if Houston wins out:
* Would be the No. 1 seed, if New England lost and created a three-way tie for the best record
* Would be the No. 2 seed, if New England wins out, Baltimore loses and Pittsburgh wins the AFC North
* Would be the No. 3 seed, if New England wins out and Baltimore wins out and wins the AFC North
If Houston goes 1-1 and finishes 11-5
* All but assured the No. 3 seed
* The No. 1 overall seed is almost assuredly gone, since you cant count on New England to lose the last two
* Can only clinch the No. 2 seed if Pittsburgh loses and Baltimore loses twice (handing Pittsburgh the division title with an 11-5 record)
So folks, I'll be pulling for the Texans the next two games -- of course -- but also for Buffalo and/or Miami to beat the Patriots over the next two weeks.
After all, I want two home games.
And in particular, I want to see an AFC Championship game between the Texans and the Ravens played at Reliant Stadium -- for completely selfish personal reasons.
I don't make it a practice to repost something that someone else has posted in is entirety. But somehow I don't think that my buddy Robbie from over at Urban Grounds will mind -- this is in a good cause.
Heartbreaking Story (and pictures): Can You Help an Abused and Neglected Great Dane at PAWS of Austin?
By Robbie Cooper of Urban Grounds
We adopted our (now) 11-month old Great Dane puppy, Bevo, when he was a just a skin-and-bones 4-month old/40 lb puppy from PAWS of Austin, which is our local Great Dane rescue.
The founder of PAWS, Prima Mosi, is one of the kindest and most compassionate people we have ever known. Her dedication to rescuing, healing, and finding homes for these gentle giants is astounding.
PAWS has recently taken in two very, very special needs Harlequin danes. The holidays are a time of giving and being thankful for all we have, to include our canine companions. PAWS could really use your donations now to help with the vet expenses of these two very special, abused, and neglected danes.
The first dog is Noel, who was rescued from a shelter in Garland, TX. As you can see from the pictures, she is in pretty bad shape. She is very young, but it looks like shes been to hell and back. Her skin is raw and oozing blood. She also has bite wounds on her face and neck. She will need some major vet care to get better.
In the 7+ years Ive written this blog, Ive never once held a Bleg or asked for donations to help keep this site going. And Im not going to do that now, either. But please read the rest of this post (which is difficult), and if you can spare a few dollars to donate to PAWS of Austin, I couldnt thank you enough.
Heres Primas report on her first 4 days trying to save this puppy:
Noel did well last night. She got up at about midnight went out and finally peed and pooped. Then she went back to bed. In the morning she was a little more awake then she was yesterday. That is because she had a good night sleep on a soft bed in a warm house, probably for the first time in her life.
Early this morning we went out and she peed again. She got her meds and ate breakfast. She is now back in her bed. The bedding has to be changed often because she is oozing blood. So far I used 3 dog beds, 2 comforters and 11 towels. I will be going to Goodwill later this afternoon to buy more comforters. Well also need to get more dog beds, because the beds are soaked with blood and they will need to be tossed out. The smell is pretty bad too.
Our vet has called the Central Texas Specialty Hospital to make an appointment with the dermatologist. Because this dog is so raw, it may be difficult to do extensive skin testing, but Im sure the vets will do whatever she can to make sure we address everything that she has and whatever she needs. We also have to wait on the HW test until the vet can get to her vain.
Noel is so exhausted, she is sleeping most of the day, except for when she is up to eat. She has ok appetite. She loves the bologna sandwiches.
Gave Noel another medicated bath. I tried to get as many scabs off as I could. It was disgusting. The water in the tub was so bloody and I was standing in the middle of it. I dont get sick to my stomach very often, but that was one of those times. Glad I didnt have anything to eat that morning. Noel just stood there and let me wash her. She is such a good girl. Getting her out of the tub was a challenge. This is one of those times when I wished I had some help here, but it was just the two of us. Had to be very careful when I wiped her down. I could now see the severity of the wounds on her skin. They were very deep.
I decided to take Noel back to the vet to be checked again because now the vet could see the wounds better. Also, needed to do some tests. Because Noel had hard time walking, we decided to leave her in the van and check her in there. The vet tech and Dr. Mockler came to the car. The vet tech had hard time getting a vain, but Dr. Mockler managed to draw blood. We tested for Lyme, Ehrlicia, Anaplasma and Heartworms. The good news, all are negative. Yay!!
Were still dealing with lots and lots of Mange mites and a bad Staph infection. She also has an eye infection. In addition, the vet noticed scratches and wounds that may have been cause by possibly a car accident. It kind of looks like shes been dragged on the road. Dr. Mockler suggested that we leave the wounds open, so they could drain, but she may have to suture them later.
The vet gave us some Previcox to help with the pain and inflammation. The vet receptionist went and got us some more comforters.
Overall Noel is doing well. She is laying on the dog bed, covered with a clean comforter, enjoying her high protein meal and bologna sandwiches.
Noel is definitely doing better today. She is much more awake. I also noticed that her legs are less swollen, although they still look pretty bad. Later in the day I went to check on her and she was not on her bed. Took me a second to see her. She was laying on the couch. Yes, she is a true Dane.
Later in the evening we sat in the TV room and Noel decided to join us. She definitely wants to stay close. She comes close to get petted. Unfortunately we can only pet her on the head because that is the only place that is not bleeding. She really enjoys getting petted.
This morning the picture was not very pretty. She is oozing blood from everywhere, neck, legs, hips and underarms. It is everywhere. Looks like I murdered someone in my living room. The smell is better though. Not as stinky. She will get another bath later today to wash the blood off. Of course, as soon as she stands up, she bleeds again. We are constantly changing the bedding because it is soaked with blood. Good thing we just bought a new washing machine.
She is now back on the couch, sleeping. Im waiting for the sun to come out, so we can go out to enjoy the warm sun outside. It is good for her. Then, its bath time.
I am so glad we rescued this girl. Cant wait until she looks better. She will be gorgeous and I love her personality. I just feel so bad for her because she looks so miserable right now. But not to worry, I can already see a difference.
The other dane is Dolly, who was found on the streets near a Dollar General store in Brownsville, TX. She was extremely emaciated, only 63 lbs when found and has numerous health issues, including heart worms.
When I read this email from Prima this morning at my desk, my heart was broken. Thinking about our Great Danes and their amazing capacity for love and loyalty, and how sensitive they can be makes trying to comprehend how horrible this dogs life has been too much to bear. Weve already sent a large donation to PAWS and are taking over two extra (and extra large) dog beds that we are no longer using this evening.
Please consider making a year-end tax-deductible donation to PAWS of Austin if you can.
I'll echo Robbie's call on this one -- help if you can. And if not Noel at PAWS of Austin, maybe you could consider Pup Squad here in Houston from whom my wife and I adopted our darling little Lydia after we lost Carmie this fall, or the HSPCA where we found Poppi last year. Or maybe there is a shelter or rescue group in your neck of the woods that can use some help. But remember -- there are lots of pets out there like the ones we adopted -- loving family members who have been brought to shelters as families lose homes or relocate due to the economy. And there are lots of poor babies like Noel (and Dolly, the other Great Dane mentioned by Robbie) who have been abused and neglected or abandoned to fend for themselves.
I've now written twice on Newt Gingrich's proposed assault on the federal courts. I'd like to point out that one of the things that Newt cites approvingly is nothing less than FDR's court-packing scheme from the 1930s, which had the effect of upholding the New Deal and sending America skittering down the road to socialism.
But let's consider, for a moment, his proposal that Congress and the President ought to simply act together to eliminate the judicial positions of judges who don't rule in the way that they want. Call it the Gingrich "court-unpacking" plan, if you will. Under the Gingrich plan, the following legislation might well have been passed by the Democrat controlled House and Senate sometime in 2009 or 2010.
WHEREAS the size of the Supreme Court of the United States is set by statute rather than the Constitution, and
WHEREAS the elimination of two seats on the Supreme Court will produce greater efficiency on the Court and realize a significant budgetary savings, and
WHEREAS it is the opinion of the Congress that the judicial philosophy and rulings of Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia are not in keeping with the US Constitution and the will of the American people,and
WHEREAS said justices occupy the two most recently created positions on the Supreme Court of the United States
BE IT THEREFORE ENACTED INTO LAW that the the position of Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court established on March 3, 1863 by the Tenth Circuit Act and initially filled By Justice Stephen Johnson Field is hereby eliminated immediately, and
BE IT FURTHER ENACTED INTO LAW that the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court established on April 10, 1869 under the Circuit Judges Act of 1869 and initially filled by Justice Joseph Philo Bradley is hereby eliminated immediately, and
BE IT FURTHER ENACTED INTO LAW that the current occupants of those positions, the aforementioned Justices Scalia and Thomas shall be removed from active service on the Supreme Court of the United States and shall be denied the rank of Senior Justice and the privileges and benefits associated with said status.
Such a naked manipulation of the judiciary would have been rightly seen as an act of tyranny and been rejected by conservatives -- and by many liberals who were aware of the dangerous precedent set by such a move. How, then, can we conservatives stand by and accept a proposal by a Republican candidate to allow for such an assault on the judiciary and even more wide-ranging attacks on the role of the courts in our system of government?
Now I'm not one who generally subscribes to the "dog-whistle" theory that candidates (especially conservative candidates) embed sub rosa messages which appeal to their supporters' baser instincts. But I can't help but be struck by an element of the Gingrich campaign's "white paper" on the judiciary that has caused such a stir in recent days and which I obliquely referenced in a post yesterday.
I'll cut right to the heart of it -- Gingrich would undercut a major constitutional ruling that destroyed the Jim Crow system that Democrats imposed upon the South for a century after the end of slavery.
In 1958, all nine sitting justices of the Supreme Court signed on to a judicial opinion in the case Cooper v. Aaron that asserted that the Supreme Courts interpretation of the Constitution was supreme in importance to the constitutional interpretation of the other two branches of government, and that this judicial supremacy, all nine justices asserted, is a permanent and indispensable feature of our constitutional system.
The Supreme Court assertions in Cooper v. Aaron are factually and historically false.
Setting aside the fact that the Gingrich position on judicial review is "factually and historically false" and involves overturning two centuries of American legal and political precedent, let's look at the case that Gingrich is attacking -- Cooper v. Aaron.
It only takes a couple of pictures to show you what that case was about.
This one is iconic.
So is this one.
That's right -- Cooper v. Aaron was the Supreme Court decision that declared that the policy of "massive resistance" to desegregation of public schools must fall in the face of court orders that found that segregation to be unconstitutional. In what be one of the greatest moments in the history of the American judiciary, it held that neither mob rule nor official intransigence could be grounds for denying the essential liberties of American citizens regardless of their race. And I cannot find any way of interpreting this Gingrich campaign document as anything less than an assault on those principles.
By the way -- here's the context of the phrase with which Gingrich is taking issue.
What has been said, in the light of the facts developed, is enough to dispose of the case. However, we should answer the premise of the actions of the Governor and Legislature that they are not bound by our holding in the Brown case. It is necessary only to recall some basic constitutional propositions which are settled doctrine.
Article VI of the Constitution makes the Constitution the "supreme Law of the Land." In 1803, Chief Justice Marshall, speaking for a unanimous Court, referring to the Constitution as "the fundamental and paramount law of the nation," declared in the notable case of Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177, that "It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is." This decision declared the basic principle that the federal judiciary is supreme in the exposition of the law of the Constitution, and that principle has ever since been respected by this Court and the Country as a permanent and indispensable feature of our constitutional system. It follows that the interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment enunciated by this Court in the Brown case is the supreme law of the land, and Art. VI of the Constitution makes it of binding effect on the States "any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." Every state legislator and executive and judicial officer is solemnly committed by oath taken pursuant to Art. VI, cl. 3, "to support this Constitution." Chief Justice Taney, speaking for a unanimous Court in 1859, said that this requirement reflected the framers' "anxiety to preserve it [the Constitution] in full force, in all its powers, and to guard against resistance to or evasion of its authority, on the part of a State . . . ." Ableman v. Booth, 21 How. 506, 524.
No state legislator or executive or judicial officer can war against the Constitution without violating his undertaking to support it. Chief Justice Marshall spoke for a unanimous Court in saying that: "If the legislatures of the several states may, at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery . . . ." United States v. Peters, 5 Cranch 115, 136. A Governor who asserts a power to nullify a federal court order is similarly restrained. If he had such power, said Chief Justice Hughes, in 1932, also for a unanimous Court, "it is manifest that the fiat of a state Governor, and not the Constitution of the United States, would be the supreme law of the land; that the restrictions of the Federal Constitution upon the exercise of state power would be but impotent phrases . . . ." Sterling v. Constantin, 287 U.S. 378, 397 -398.
As you can see, Newt Gingrich proposes undoing not merely a major civil rights decision, but the seminal case of Marbury v. Madison itself, upon which more than two centuries of legal precedent and constitutional understanding have been based.
I'm not always a fan of the decisions made by some of our federal judges. I've ranted and railed against them more than once. But I find the status quo significantly better than the Gingrich proposal, under which an imperial president would undertake to ignore court decisions he did not like and Congress would take a shortcut around the constitutionally mandated impeachment process by simply abolishing the court of any judge whose rulings they disliked. So much for the rule of law.
And more to the point, I find it obscene that a presidential candidate in the Party of Lincoln would dare to hint that Jim Crow should have been allowed to continue even in the face of federal court rulings to the contrary.
Well, he's been doing the last part since he took over the job, but this just confirms it. After all, when legitimate criticism of how the Department of Justice is run magically morphed into "racism" because of the color of his skin and that of the President, then how can we trust him to properly run the department that is charged with protecting the civil rights of ALL Americans.
But Mr. Holder contended that many of his other critics not only elected Republicans but also a broader universe of conservative commentators and bloggers were instead playing Washington gotcha games, portraying them as frequently conflating things, conveniently leaving some stuff out, construing things to make it seem not quite what it was to paint him and other department figures in the worst possible light.
Of that group of critics, Mr. Holder said he believed that a few the more extreme segment were motivated by animus against Mr. Obama and that he served as a stand-in for him. This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him, he said, both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that were both African-American.
I think that stands on its own as outrageous. But there is something curious in that last part.
What does he mean by "the nature of our relationship"?
Are he and Barry on the down-low? Not that there's anything wrong with that. (Just kidding -- but it is a weird way to have phrased things.)
UPDATE: Rep. Allen West makes this point about how despicable Holder's claim of racism really is.
I think this is absolutely the last card in the deck, and that shows how weak their ground is, West said in a phone interview. But, what that means is they want to make white individuals afraid of continuing to put the pressure on Eric Holder because they dont want to be seen as racist, and that is something that we have got to move beyond.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich came out swinging Saturday against the nations legal system, pledging if elected to defy Supreme Court rulings with which he disagrees and declaring that a 200-year-old principle of American government, judicial review to ensure that the political branches obey the Constitution, had been grossly overstated.
Courts are forcing us into a constitutional crisis because of their arrogant overreach, Mr. Gingrich told reporters in a Saturday conference call. He repeatedly blasted federal judges for imposing elitist opinion on the rest of the country.
Interestingly enough, Gingrich plans on changing the way in which our government has operated for over two centuries without following the process for amending the Constitution, but prefers instead to abolish the entire notion of judicial independence. So much for the notion of three co-equal branches of government -- and the idea that the rule of law applies even when the result is unpopular.
And lest my fellow conservatives think I'm just knocking a candidate I oppose, consider this -- what would your reaction have been if Barack Obama announced that he was going to try some of these same things in the interest of furthering his agenda?
From Bryan Preston:
President Obama tends to lecture the wealthy about how they spend their money how they spend their money. This $4 million vacation, though, is an example of how he is spending our money.
And of course, hes spending it while he nags the rich about paying their fair share in taxes, and while he calls for shared sacrifice from everyone else.
How about leading by example?
Leading by example? You've got to be kidding, Bryan. For starters, that would require that Obama actually LEAD -- something he has shown himself to be singularly incapable of doing over the course of his presidency.
And besides, you didn't think that those calls for sacrifice actually applied to him, did you? As far as he's concerned, he's the President of the United States and that means he's entitled.
UPDATE: My friend PolitiJim offers this for your consideration.
There was lots to cry about at yesterday's Houston Texans game. It was a pretty miserable event. But there was one moment that brought tears to the eyes of many fans -- when the team helped make possible a gift to the family of one of those whose military service led to his death.
Four weeks ago, Scott Wood died as the result of injuries received in Iraq. His widow and son have been living in a single room in her parents' home. And thanks to Operation Finally Home, Sara and Landon Wood will have their own home in which to live.
I can't excerpt the article on this act of kindness in a way that does the story or the writing justice. I encourage you to click this link to read the whole piece by FoxSportsHouston's Tully Corcoran.
I'm not a Rick Perry fan -- I'll defend him when I think he's right, but I have no interest in ever casting another vote for him (the last time I cast one for him was 2006). I'm personally hoping this story kills his presidential candidacy -- not because he has done anything illegal, but because it looks bad and is just one more example of him taking a benefit for himself that is not available for Texas teachers because of his policies.
Unbeknownst to most Texans, Gov. Rick Perry officially retired in January so he could draw early pension benefits worth $7,699 a month, in addition to his annual governors salary of $150,000.
Perrys January retirement on paper, at least was revealed Friday when the Federal Elections Commission released the financial disclosure statement the governor was required to file as a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. The annuity brings Perrys total state government-related income to $242,388 a year.
Interestingly enough, Perry recently signed legislation making it impossible for Texas teachers to do the same thing. Oh, yeah -- and his pension check is roughly triple what the average Texas teacher can expect to draw after more years of service doing harder, more important work than Perry is doing.
And let's not forget that a part of that big pension check is for his service in the Texas legislature -- a part time job.
It is time for Rick Perry to make a decision -- give back every penny of that retirement money, or actually retire as Governor. Speaking for myself, I would prefer that you do the latter.
Here in Houston, we have a blogger who has appointed himself the county's de facto "corruption czar". And, well, he knows corrupt politics quite well -- from personal experience breaking federal law regarding partisan political activity by federal employees. So while he's busy calling Rick Perry a "rotten bastard" for doing something that is perfectly legal, John has somehow managed to overlooked this matter right here in Harris County.
Sources tell us the FBI is looking into bribery allegations at Pct. 1 Constable Jack Abercia's office. Meanwhile, the Harris County district attorney and the county attorney are both investigating Pct. 6 Constable Victor Trevino and Pct. 7 Constable May Walker.
The allegations against Trevino are potential misuse of charity funds, county personnel and county equipment. The Walker investigation centers around the possible misuse of county equipment and personnel, as well as possible illegal fundraising.
Of course, these investigations won't show up over at Bay Area Houston -- because Jack Abercia, Victor Trevino, and May Walker all share something in common with that blogger. No, I mean that they are Democrats, not that they have engaged in illegal activity -- after all, the charges against the three Democrat constables are only at the investigation stage.
In American politics, it is perfectly acceptable to heap all sorts of hatred upon Republicans.
Call a Republican a fascist? No problem, despite the fact that the two ideologies have nothing in common.
Declare that the GOP wants to reinstitute Jim Crow? That's OK, even though Jim Crow was the only thing that kept the Democrat Party a major force in American politics for a century.
Liken Republicans to the KKK? Perfectly acceptable, despite the fact that the KKK was the paramilitary terrorist wing of the Democrat Party targeted Republicans for death, and included as its members a Democrat Supreme Court justice and a Democrat US Senator who was eulogized by Barack Obama himself.
And comparing Republican policies and ideology to those of the Nazis is perfectly acceptable if you are a Democrat.
But let a Republican -- especially an African-American military hero like Florida Congressman Allen West dare to compare the Democrat propaganda machine to that operated by the Nazis and all hell breaks loose.
In a handwritten note to a fellow lawmaker, Rep. Allen West reiterated his charge that Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels would truly be proud of the Democrat Party because of its use of lies and deceit, escalating an already tense battle over his use of Nazi comparisons.
On Thursday, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the most senior black lawmaker in Congress, wrote to West, one of two black freshmen on the Republican side, to say that he was disappointed in a remark that West had made to reporters earlier in the day.
He was a vicious notorious anti-Semite who went down in history as propagandist for Hitler. I beg of you to help raise the level of congressional discourse so that we can engage in vigorous debate without resort[ing] to personal attacks, Conyers wrote on congressional stationery.
West returned fire later Thursday in a note embossed with his name and a congressional seal.
Mr. Conyers, The Democrat Party does indeed have a vicious propaganda machine. It espouses lies and deceit and the Master of deceptive information would truly be proud, West said, referring to Goebbels. I have been personally attacked and denigrated on countless occasions. I do not appreciate your letter Truth is Powerful Sir! Steadfast & Loyal, Allen.
What was the original offense? He made this observation to reporters on Thursday.
If Joseph Goebbels was around, hed be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine, West said. Lets be honest, you know, some of the people in the media are complicit with this and enabling them to get that type of message out.
And, West scribbled his dismay on Conyers original note: I am disappointed in the Democrat Party. Do I hate women? Do I hate children? Do I want to see handicapped Americans fend for themselves? Truth is Powerful. Lies & Manipulative language hurt!, he wrote.
You may not like it, but Goebbels is the standard by which successful propaganda is measured -- so much so that a Jewish Democrat compared GOP attacks on ObamaCare to Goebbels' propaganda machine. He offered this defense, which parallels Allen West's explanation and which I'd argue was equally valid (though I'd argue that his attack on the GOP was false and quite reminiscent of those deployed by Goebbels himself against his enemies).
"Taken out of context, I can understand the confusion and concern," he said. "While I regret that anything I said has created an opportunity to distract from the debate about health care for 32 million Americans, I want to be clear that I never called Republicans Nazis. Instead, the reference I made was to the greatest propaganda master of all time."
Please note -- Goebbels perfected the technique of "the big lie" to win over folks to one's side. To make the point in order to communicate that one's opponents are engaged in that tactic is not anti-Semitic, nor does it mean one is minimizing the evil of the Holocaust.
Christopher Hitchens was a guy who you did not always need to agree with to like and respect. It is sad to see him shrug off the flesh and go on to what awaits us all beyond.
Christopher Hitchens, a slashing polemicist in the tradition of Thomas Paine and George Orwell who trained his sights on targets as various as Henry Kissinger, the British monarchy and Mother Teresa, wrote a best-seller attacking religious belief, and dismayed his former comrades on the left by enthusiastically supporting the American-led war in Iraq, died Thursday at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He was 62.
The cause was pneumonia, a complication of esophageal cancer, said the magazine Vanity Fair, which announced the death. In recent days Mr. Hitchens had stopped treatment and entered hospice care at the Houston hospital. He learned he had cancer while on a publicity tour in 2010 for his memoir, Hitch-22, and began writing and, on television, speaking about his illness frequently.
In whatever kind of a race life may be, I have very abruptly become a finalist, Mr. Hitchens wrote in Vanity Fair, for which he was a contributing editor.
The vanity Fair announcement is found here. It includes this observation about a true renaissance man whose productivity could only be stopped by death itself.
Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic, Hitchens wrote nearly a year ago in Vanity Fair, but his own final labors were anything but: in the last 12 months, he produced for this magazine a piece on U.S.-Pakistani relations in the wake of Osama bin Ladens death, a portrait of Joan Didion, an essay on the Private Eye retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a prediction about the future of democracy in Egypt, a meditation on the legacy of progressivism in Wisconsin, and a series of frank, graceful, and exquisitely written essays in which he chronicled the physical and spiritual effects of his disease. At the end, Hitchens was more engaged, relentless, hilarious, observant, and intelligent than just about everyone elsejust as he had been for the last four decades.
No, he did not go gentle into that good night.
Even in the face of death, Hitchens did not waver in his atheism -- and yet many of us who are believers prayed for his healing, his conversion, or both. As regards healing, God answered with the same negative response that is so often the response to prayer. According to those who knew and loved him, including his family who were with him at the end, there was no death-bed embrace of the divine. Maybe that is appropriate. And yet, I cannot help but hope that, in that moment of transition from life into afterlife, Chris Hitchens discovered both that he was wrong about the existence of God and that the Almighty even extends his mercy to the non-believer (regardless of the more punitive view of many believers).
So yes, may Chris Hitchens rest in peace, and may his family draw comfort from the love of his admirers, the prayers of believers, and whatever other places they look to for strength and healing.
UPDATE: I almost forgot -- Hitchens was a regular guest on Hugh Hewitt's show. That is where I grew to love the man. Hugh Hewitt offers his reflection here.
Gay "Republican" Andrew Sullivan, who has spent the last several years sniffing around Sarah Palin's uterus trying to prove she isn't the mother of her youngest child, has no st himself to an equally quixotic task -- getting Ron Paul the GOP nomination.
Of course, Sullivan makes a claim about Ron Paul by a quick glance at Paul's own words.
He would never disown Reagan, as Romney once did.
Of course, this means ignoring Ron Paul's own words when he left the GOP in 1987 to seek the Libertarian nomination for President.
Congressman Pauls Letter
As a lifelong Republican, it saddens me to have to write this letter. My parents believed in the Republican Party and its free enterprise philosophy, and thats the way I was brought up. At age 21, in 1956, I cast my first vote for Ike and the entire Republican slate.
Because of frustration with the direction in which the country was going, I became a political activist and ran for the U.S. Congress in 1974. Even with Watergate, my loyalty, optimism, and hope for the future were tied to the Republican Party and its message of free enterprise, limited government, and balanced budgets.
Eventually I was elected to the U.S. Congress four times as a Republican. This permitted me a first-hand look at the interworkings of the U.S. Congress, seeing both the benefits and partisan frustrations that guide its shaky proceedings. I found that although representative government still exists, special interest control of the legislative process clearly presents a danger to our constitutional system of government.
In 1976 I was impressed with Ronald Reagans program and was one of the four members of Congress who endorsed his candidacy. In 1980, unlike other Republican office holders in Texas, I again supported our President in his efforts.
Since 1981, however, I have gradually and steadily grown weary of the Republican Partys efforts to reduce the size of the federal government. Since then Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party have given us skyrocketing deficits, and astoundingly a doubled national debt. How is it that the party of balanced budgets, with control of the White House and Senate, accumulated red ink greater than all previous administrations put together? Tip ONeill, although part of the problem, cannot alone be blamed.
Tax revenues are up 59 percent since 1980. Because of our economic growth? No. During Carters four years, we had growth of 37.2 percent; Reagans five years have given us 30.7 percent. The new revenues are due to four giant Republican tax increases since 1981.
All republicans rightly chastised Carter for his $38 billion deficit. But they ignore or even defend deficits of $220 billion, as government spending has grown 10.4 percent per year since Reagan took office, while the federal payroll has zoomed by a quarter of a million bureaucrats.
Despite the Supply-Sider-Keynesian claim that deficits dont matter, the debt presents a grave threat to our country. Thanks to the President and Republican Party, we have lost the chance to reduce the deficit and the spending in a non-crisis fashion. Even worse, big government has been legitimized in a way the Democrats never could have accomplished. It was tragic to listen to Ronald Reagan on the 1986 campaign trail bragging about his high spending on farm subsidies, welfare, warfare, etc., in his futile effort to hold on to control of the Senate.
Instead of cutting some of the immeasurable waste in the Department of Defense, it has gotten worse, with the inevitable result that we are less secure today. Reagans foreign aid expenditures exceed Eisenhowers, Kennedys, Johnsons, Nixons, Fords, and Carters put together. Foreign intervention has exploded since 1980. Only an end to military welfare for foreign governments plus a curtailment of our unconstitutional commitments abroad will enable us really to defend ourselves and solve our financial problems.
Amidst the failure of the Gramm-Rudman gimmick, we hear the President and the Republican Party call for a balanced-budget amendment and a line-item veto. This is only a smokescreen. President Reagan, as governor of California, had a line-item veto and virtually never used it. As President he has failed to exercise his constitutional responsibility to veto spending. Instead, he has encouraged it.
Monetary policy has been disastrous as well. The five Reagan appointees to the Federal Reserve Board have advocated even faster monetary inflation than Chairman Volcker, and this is the fourth straight year of double-digit increases. The chickens have yet to come home to roost, but they will, and America will suffer from a Reaganomics that is nothing but warmed-over Keynesianism.
Candidate Reagan in 1980 correctly opposed draft registration. Yet when he had the chance to abolish it, he reneged, as he did on his pledge to abolish the Departments of Education and Energy, or to work against abortion.
Under the guise of attacking drug use and money laundering, the Republican Administration has systematically attacked personal and financial privacy. The effect has been to victimize innocent Americans who wish to conduct their private lives without government snooping. (Should people really be put on a suspected drug dealer list because they transfer $3,000 at one time?) Reagans urine testing of Americans without probable cause is a clear violation of our civil liberties, as are his proposals for extensive lie detector tests.
Under Reagan, the IRS has grown bigger, richer, more powerful, and more arrogant. In the words of the founders of our country, our government has sent hither swarms of tax gatherers to harass our people and eat out their substance. His officers jailed the innocent George Hansen, with the President refusing to pardon a great American whose only crime was to defend the Constitution. Reagans new tax reform gives even more power to the IRS. Far from making taxes fairer or simpler, it deceitfully raises more revenue for the government to waste.
Knowing this administrations record, I wasnt surprised by its Libyan disinformation campaign, Israeli-Iranian arms-for-hostages swap, or illegal funding of the Contras. All this has contributed to my disenchantment with the Republican Party, and helped me make up my mind.
I want to totally disassociate myself from the policies that have given us unprecedented deficits, massive monetary inflation, indiscriminate military spending, an irrational and unconstitutional foreign policy, zooming foreign aid, the exaltation of international banking, and the attack on our personal liberties and privacy.
After years of trying to work through the Republican Party both in and out of government, I have reluctantly concluded that my efforts must be carried on outside the Republican Party. Republicans know that the Democratic agenda is dangerous to our political and economic health. Yet, in the past six years Republicans have expanded its worst aspects and called them our own. The Republican Party has not reduced the size of government. It has become big governments best friend.
If Ronald Reagan couldnt or wouldnt balance the budget, which Republican leader on the horizon can we possibly expect to do so? There is no credibility left for the Republican Party as a force to reduce the size of government. That is the message of the Reagan years.
I conclude that one must look to other avenues if a successful effort is ever to be achieved in reversing Americas direction.
I therefore resign my membership in the Republican Party and enclose my membership card.
In other words, not only did Ron Paul renounce Ronald Reagan, he renounced the entire GOP. Or maybe this was just another one of those writings that Ron Paul let go out over his name with no knowledge of the contents -- you know, like the racist and anti-Semitic newsletters. Or it may simply be that Ron Paul is as tin-foil hat crazy as his followers.
So my message to Andrew Sullivan is this -- it is really clear that Ron Paul isn't fit to be President of the United States, but maybe he can take his spaced-out views and become President of Uranus.
You know, we could argue about whether or not it is a good idea to let non-citizens vote in certain local elections for school boards, for example. I dont know that you could convince me of the wisdom of the idea, but I would certainly be open to listening. But this proposal, which would grant voting rights to border-jumpers, goes way too far.
New Haven Mayor John DeStefano plans to ask the state Legislature to allow illegal immigrants who live in the city to be able vote in municipal elections.
DeStefano said on Tuesday that the proposal would build a more engaged community and follows the lead of other cities, the New Haven Register reports.
The Register reports that 10,000 to 12,000 undocumented residents are believed to live in New Haven.
No way. Uh-uh. Fuggedaboutit.
And since this is apparently going on in various jurisdictions around the country, diminishing the weight of votes of American citizens, it seems to me that Congress ought to legislate on this matter.
The GOP has acted on the two things Obama has said are a priority.
And Democrats are OUTRAGED!
Defying a veto threat from President Obama, the House on Tuesday passed a bill extending a cut in Social Security payroll taxes for 160 million Americans for another year. But the Democratic majority in the Senate vowed to reject the measure because of objections to other provisions, including one to speed construction of an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Watch for Senate Dems to block the bill because of the inclusion of the job-producing Keystone XL pipeline provision. And President Obama has already said that you don't need a payroll tax cut if it includes that provision, which will produce many non-government jobs for unemployed Americans. And what's more, Obama and the Dems are prepared to shut down the government if they don't get their way.
The GOP has done something to produce jobs and lower taxes for the working class -- make sure your friends know, and that they don't fall for the lies of the do-nothing Dems that the GOP has taken no action on jobs or taxes.
Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III -- for daring to be patriotic.
You'd think Baylor king Robert Griffin III would go wild after winning the Heisman Trophy this weekend in NYC -- but TMZ has learned, the star QB went straight to Ground Zero instead ... to pay his respects.
Griffin family sources tell TMZ, RG3 and several close family members made a beeline from the Best Buy Theater to the 9/11 memorial on Saturday. According to sources, the Griffins are a military family -- and Robert felt it was important to visit Ground Zero for some somber reflection.
My hat is off to RG3 -- he's clearly my kind of American. I hope he has a great career in the NFL, and that he does not hide that patriotism under a bushel. Millions of Americans will support him based upon his genuine love of country -- just as we hold Tim Tebow near to our hearts for his willingness to ignore the PC crowd and instead express his faith publicly.
And you know what -- this even does a little bit to salve the pain of Case Keenum not even getting considered for the Heisman.
H/T Gateway Pundit
And Rabbi Joshua Hammerman is really serious!
If Tebow wins the Super Bowl, against all odds, it will buoy his faithful, and emboldened faithful can do insane things, like burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants. While America has become more inclusive since Jerry Falwells first political forays, a Tebow triumph could set those efforts back considerably.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!
Get a grip, Rabbi -- you and all the other haters who object to the possibility that an example of faith from a decent human being will undo the "don't take religion all that seriously" approach to faith that is popular among the "cool kids" like yourself.
You know, since the pithy little aphorism originates from the Obama campaign.
President Barack Obama's top strategist, David Axelrod, predicted much more scrutiny of GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich on Tuesday, citing the "homespun wisdom" of Ald. Dick Mell (33rd) as he compared Gingrich to a monkey on a pole exposing his butt.
* * *
"I told my colleagues yesterday a bit of homespun wisdom that I got from an alderman in Chicago some years ago when one of his ...colleagues wanted to run for higher office and he was really dubious. He said, 'just remember the higher a monkey climbs on a pole, the more you can see his butt.' So, you know, the Speaker is very high on the pole right now and we'll see how people like the view."
Of course, there is a monkey that has climbed significantly higher than Newt Gingrich, and David Axelrod is running his reelection campaign. The American people have seen that monkeys butt, and they dont like the view.
Less than one year out from Election Day 2012, voters remain overwhelmingly pessimistic about the economy, and their concerns are taking a toll on President Obamas re-election chances. Just 41 percent of Americans think Mr. Obama has performed his job well enough to be elected to a second term, whereas 54 percent dont think so.
The presidents overall approval rating remains in the mid-40′s, according to a CBS News poll lower than the approval ratings of Mr. Obamas four presidential predecessors at this point in their first terms. Mr. Obamas approval rating is dragged down by his poor marks for his handling of the economy which, at 33 percent, is the lowest rating of his presidency in CBS News polls.
Mr. Obama receives better marks on foreign policy and for his leadership skills. But when it comes to leading the economy in the right direction, voters are unimpressed: Just 28 percent think he has made progress on improving the economy. And most Americans say the president doesnt share the publics priorities, according to the poll, conducted December 5-7.
In other word, the polling numbers for the highest monkey in the land are butt-ugly.
There Ive said it. I think any of the current crop of GOP candidates will be a disaster in November of 2012 if they manage to get the nomination through the existing primary process. All will bring a disaster of intra-party division and civil war, with a some bloc or other of voters staying home.
Lets look at the options as they now exist.
Mitt Romney (who Ive implicitly supported in a number of posts and tweets) could win the election if there were a united GOP base, because he could draw Independents and disaffected Democrats. Unfortunately, the base is fractured against Romney and I dont see the primary process fixing that.
Newt Gingrich may be the brain-trust of the GOP but he is generally despised by Independents and disaffected Democrats, and many of them would vote for Obama to avoid a Gingrich presidency. Add to that the fact that may establishment figures are averse to supporting him not just moderates, but even strong conservatives who have worked for and with him over the years and it is impossible to imagine the man winning in 2012. And then there is the prospect of having Stepford Mistress Callista Gingrich as First Floozy. . .
Ron Paul Party suicide. Nuff said.
Michelle Bachmann is just out of her depth. Call her Sarah Palin without the public appeal.
Rick Santorum just cannot get any traction. Besides, when the first search results for your name bring up results related to anal sex, you just arent a serious candidate.
Rick Perry would be a great candidate if God suddenly afflicted him with muteness. Short of such divine intervention, hes doomed.
Gary Johnson is a cipher to most inside the GOP, and even more so to the rest of America.
Jon Huntsman would have been a good candidate if he hadnt gone to work for Obama in 2009. Unfortunately, that leads some to question his party loyalty rather than ascribing his deeds to patriotism and others question his ethics in planning a challenge to Obama while still working for him.
You see the problem there is no candidate the GOP can unite behind in this primary process.
I therefore support an outcome that has not been seen in decades the brokered convention wherein NO CANDIDATE has sufficient delegates to take the nomination on the first ballot, and convention delegates are then free to choose the best available nominee whether or not that individual is among the crop of candidates that ran in the primaries.
Think about it. Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race early -- could he become a compromise candidate we could all accept? Might Jeb Bush emerge as the GOP standard-bearer, since he is acceptable to all factions? Bobby Jindal? Mitch Daniels? Eric Cantor? Paul Ryan? Or maybe, just maybe, a pair might emerge from among the current crop who could unite the various factions of the GOP together and heal the rifts so that the party can move forward and accomplish that which ought to be the singular goal of all the various interest groups within the GOP for the good of the nation, guaranteeing that Barack Obama is a one-term president.
UPDATE: Could this be a potential nominee from a brokered convention?
Now personally, I dont give a damn about income inequality. I believe in an America where it is no shame to get rich, be rich, or aspire to become rich.
But for those with crypto-communist tendencies who rant on about tearing down the 1%, please consider this from the New York Times.
The share of income received by the top 1 percent that potent symbol of inequality dropped to 17 percent in 2009 from 23 percent in 2007, according to federal tax data. Within the group, average income fell to $957,000 in 2009 from $1.4 million in 2007.
In other words, the wealthiest Americans lost money and lost a disproportionate share of their income. Now all you folks with the Occupy movement need to quit your bitchin, get out of that park, take a shower and get a job.
The State Department on Monday launched three days of closed-door talks with representatives of international organizations and several dozen countries with the stated aim of promoting religious freedom and tolerance while ensuring that freedom of expression is not harmed in the process.
U.S. Ambassador at Large for international religious freedom Suzan Johnson Cook, said on Monday, "We must denounce offensive speech whenever we encounter it but our commitment to universal principles makes clear that faith must never be a crime and religion must never be used as an excuse to stifle freedom of expression.
Now exactly what speech is going to be deemed offensive and subject to denunciation by the US government?
Will it retroactively denounce Serranos Piss Christ? How about the speech of gay rights advocates who attack Christians who support the traditional definition of marriage? Will there be a condemnation of so much that appears on American television networks today?
I think we know the answer to those questions and it is negative.
Instead, we are going to see the American government condemning speech that offends Muslims and only speech that transgresses against Islamic sensitivities.
In other words, this policy is a de facto establishment of the Muslim religion of Obamas father and step-father.
So not only is Islam incompatible American-style freedom-- so is Obamunism.
Look at all the cops in this picture.
This was the scene as protesters decided to block the entrance to the taxpayer owned Port of Houston .
About 70 Occupy Houston protesters gathered just outside the Houston Port Monday afternoon in a coordinated action with other Occupy demonstrations targeting the nations ports. At one point, some of the activists lay down at the Port entrance off Interstate 610.
About 60 police officers are monitoring the event, which has been peaceful so far.
Organizers of the local protest say it is an expression of solidarity with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and West Coast truck drivers who have come under attack this year, as well as a statement against the multinational conglomerates and their relentless campaign to outsource American jobs and undermine our economy in the pursuit of ever-widening profit margins.
Personally, I dont believe there was any need for more than a half-dozen cops at the event. They could have taken the names of those who were entering the street to block the trucks entering the Port, and then completed the paperwork documenting the suicides of these human speed-bumps.
After all, no one has a right to lie down in the middle of the road to stop people from getting to work or engaging in legal business and as such, no one has an obligation to stop for them when they do.
On the occasion of Denver's rookie QB pulling another win out of nowhere, I'd like to point to this fine commentary piece that appeared last week.
Imagine for a second, the Denver Broncos quarterback is a devout follower of Islam, sincere and principled in his beliefs and thus bowed toward Mecca to celebrate touchdowns. Now imagine if Detroit Lions player Stephen Tulluch and Tony Scheffler mockingly bowed toward Mecca, too, after tackling him for a loss or scoring a touchdown, just like what happened in October.
I know what would happen. All hell would break loose.
Stinging indictments issued by sports columnists. At least a few outraged religious leaders chiming in on his behalf. Depending on what else had happened that day, they might have a chance at becoming Keith Olbermann's Worst Person In The World.
And there would be apologies. Oh, Lord, would there be apologies -- by players, by coaches, possibly by ownership with a tiny chance of a statement by NFL commish Roger Goodell.
Frankly, Jen Engel has a great point here. And she goes even further about what the controversy over Tebow's explicit religiosity has to say about us as Americans -- and it isn't pretty. She is, however, exactly right.
By the way, I can't help but note that nobody is mocking another young man for his explicit adoption of a religious practice on the field. Have you ever noticed the Houston Texans' Arian Foster when he does this?
It is called a namaste, and it is a Buddhist practice of showing respect. I don't know if Foster is Buddhist or not, but I cannot help but notice how Foster's way of marking a touchdown has been embraced by fans of the Houston Texans. I haven't encountered anyone blasting him for it. Why can't everyone grant Tim Tebow and his on-field thanksgiving the same sort of respect?
How much stupid can come out of one candidate? I don't know -- but my state's governor is rapidly dropping below Michelle Bachmann in my esteem. Much further and he'll be hovering down with Ron Paul and Barack Obama.
Now in this video clip, Chris Wallace makes the same sort of ill-informed statement about prayer in schools that Rick Perry's television commercial in Iowa made. That error may be common among those uninformed about the Supreme Court's First Amendment jurisprudence, but a top-flight television journalist should not be making it -- and anyone seeking to be President of the United States, and therefore having the authority to appoint judges to the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts, should definitely not be making his error.
Its not the Supreme Courts business telling Americans when and how they should pray.
The thing is, though, that students are not forbidden to pray in school -- and certainly not by Supreme Court edict. What is forbidden is the school actually sanctioning the prayers and taking time out of the academic schedule to impose prayer upon students. Nothing in any Supreme Court decision prevents a student from voluntarily praying during the school day, or from forming an religious student group.
And speaking as a teacher, I like the status quo just fine. The government has no business prescribing religious observances.
And consider the issues that may arise.
Just imagine the possibilities. If you are a Christian in Dearborn, Michigan, you would get to participate in daily Quran readings to satisfy the Muslim majority in the school. All the little Protestant kids may find themselves required to say a Hal Mary every morning in the Catholic majority school. And I know plenty of atheist teachers who would find themselves unable to lead a prayer in their classrooms -- and who would refuse to feign reverence as a condition of continued employment.
In other words, Rick Perry has made a proposal that is antithetical to the religious liberty of millions of Americans -- including the school kids he ostensibly is protecting. And the only word that I think fits such a proposal is "unAmerican" -- and as a result I do not believe any true conservative who believes in the values found in the Constitution can possibly support either Perry or his proposed amendment.
UPDATE -- A fine -- and much more detailed -- post by Doug Mataconis on why Perry is dead wrong on this one.
I understand that teams do have to keep the fans who buy season tickets happy, and that this may mean that the seats available for the friends and families of visiting players may not be the best -- but this is ridiculous.
The couple circled there? Those are the parents of Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates. Sitting in the second-from-the-top row in Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Notice the empty seats around them. That's because the Bengals only average 49,619 fans at their games -- and they only drew 41,202 today at Paul Brown Stadium, which seats 65,535. The game was not a sellout, which means there were surely plenty of better seats for the visiting family members.
To add insult to injury, the Yates and other Texans family members tried to move down a few (totally empty) rows to try to get a better view -- only to have security try to stop them. Seems like a whole lot of no-class to me, no matter how you slice it.
But revenge is sweet --as noted below, T.J. Yates threw a last-second touchdown to beat the Bengals and clinch the AFC South championship. And in the process, he and the Houston Texans more-or-less eliminated the Bengals from contention for a wildcard berth.
UPDATE: I loved how Marv Albert ragged on the Bengals over this during the game.
If you were to pitch a novel about a guy who was a rookie fifth-round draft choice suddenly thrust from the practice squad to starting quarterback during a playoff run, no publisher would want it. But that's what we have down here in Houston -- T.J. Yates, the NFL's most improbable starter. And after 2 1/2 games of play, this young man has shown himself to have great instincts and incredible poise under pressure -- and he has also performed in such a way that he has led the Houston Texans into the playoffs.
Rookie T.J. Yates threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Walter with two seconds left as the Texans rallied to beat Cincinnati 20-19 on Sunday and earn the first postseason berth in Texans history.
Im happy for our fans, happy for our city, because this is what I got into the NFL for, Texans owner Bob McNair said.
Tennessees loss to New Orleans clinched Houstons first playoff trip since the Oilers went in 1993.
The Texans improved to 10-3 with their franchise-record seventh straight victory.
After the game, Texans coach Gary Kubiak gave a game ball to injured receiver Andre Johnson, who has been with the Texans since 2003, their second season back.
Words really cant describe it, he said. Something Ive been waiting for for a long time.
The city of Houston deserves it, Johnson said. Weve had some great fans that have stuck it out with us. This is great for them. Were happy with this, but were not satisfied. We have bigger goals.
Yates, a fifth-round draft pick, got his chance when Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart suffered season-ending injuries in consecutive weeks. Making only his second start, Yates faced a daunting challenge 80 yards to cover, only 2 minutes, 33 seconds left and no timeouts to help.
The Bengals (7-6) couldnt stop him.
Yates scrambled 17 yards on third-and-15 to keep the drive going. A pass interference penalty on Adam Pacman Jones put the ball at the 6-yard line with 12 seconds left. After an incompletion, Walter lined up wide right, cut to the middle of the field and was uncovered at the goal line.
Offensive tackle Duane Brown ran to Yates and repeatedly slapped his helmet in celebration.
The kid had come through when it mattered most.
Now there are still three games to go in the season. There are also, presumably, two playoff games yet to be played. But is a Super Bowl appearance (what the heck -- a Super Bowl victory) too much to ask for -- just to complete this amazing story?
We'll be watching -- and praying -- in the back row of Section 541.
Less than one year out from Election Day 2012, voters remain overwhelmingly pessimistic about the economy, and their concerns are taking a toll on President Obamas re-election chances. Just 41 percent of Americans think Mr. Obama has performed his job well enough to be elected to a second term, whereas 54 percent dont think so.
The presidents overall approval rating remains in the mid-40′s, according to a CBS News poll lower than the approval ratings of Mr. Obamas four presidential predecessors at this point in their first terms. Mr. Obamas approval rating is dragged down by his poor marks for his handling of the economy which, at 33 percent, is the lowest rating of his presidency in CBS News polls.
Mr. Obama receives better marks on foreign policy and for his leadership skills. But when it comes to leading the economy in the right direction, voters are unimpressed: Just 28 percent think he has made progress on improving the economy. And most Americans say the president doesnt share the publics priorities, according to the poll, conducted December 5-7.
Face it, Obama must go.
Here are this weeks full results:
See you next week!
Was yesterday's Hollywood shooting another example of "Sudden Jihad Syndrome"?
A 26 year-old gunman opened fire on random drivers yesterday in Hollywood until he was shot dead by police.
He was screaming Allahu Akbar while he shot Hollywood drivers.
Thats what the witnesses said:
Now doesn't that detail bear reporting? Not if you are the American media and fear being accused of Islamophobia. Someone needs to remind them that it isn't paranoia if they are really out to get you -- and it isn't a "phobia" if fear or antipathy is not objectively unreasonable..
It isnt merely that she is making false claims that the GOP is trying to disenfranchise people based upon race its that shes making such this incredibly stupid claim in support of her false claim.
Its no coincidence that a disproportionate number of these affected voters come from communities of color as well as the poor, the elderly and students, said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), a former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Having been born and raised in Texas, this certainly looks like a poll tax to me, which those of us remember as a way to prevent African Americans from voting. These voter ID laws have a partisan agenda: seeking to disenfranchise and deny specific populations of voters before they have the opportunity to elect their representatives in government.
So hold on a moment. The voter ID requirements include the state providing, free of charge, a photo identification card that meets the requirement of the law. The poll tax, on the other hand, required that someone pay a fee to vote. In other words, the two are in no way shape or form even remotely similar.
Whats more, the Supreme Court has already upheld the voter ID requirement and held that it is not in any way, shape, or form a poll tax (the imposition of which would violate the Twenty-Fourth Amendment to the Constitution).
In other words, not only is she wrong, but she is wrong in a manner that tells us that she is intellectually deficient or is intentionally seeking to deceive Americans (and minority Americans in particular) for partisan advantage.
At the Republican Jewish Coalition conference a few minutes ago Newt Gingrich announcedIf he will accept it, I will appoint John Bolton as Secretary of State.
Now if only the rest of the GOP field would make the same commitment and if Bolton would make it clear that he would accept the appointment.
Nasa's Voyager 1 in 'cosmic purgatory' on verge of entering Milky Way
Last time I checked, our solar system is located in the Milky Way, meaning that the Voyager I probe has ALWAYS been in the Milky Way. On the other hand, Voyager I is about to become the first man-made object to leave the solar system and enter the interstellar region within the Milky Way.
Probably not but then again, they are liberals.
At a packed City Council meeting that included remarks from a man in a top hat with fake money tucked in the pocket of his suit, Los Angeles lawmakers Tuesday called for more regulations on how much corporations can spend on political campaigns.
The vote in support of state and federal legislation that would end so-called "corporate personhood is largely symbolic. But anti-corporate activist Mary Beth Fielder, who spoke in favor of the resolution, called it a symbol thats going to be heard around the world.
The council resolution includes support for a constitutional amendment that would assert that corporations are not entitled to constitutional rights, and that spending money is not a form of free speech.
Now lets look at what this means because it does not mean what they think it does.
Yeah, it would mean that there would be no more political speech by corporations but that isnt all.
Consider the Eighth Amendment corporations would not be protected from excessive fines, opening them up to having trivial violations of regulations used to milk them dry of assets.
Or the Seventh Amendment jury trials would no longer be required for criminal trials involving corporations.
For that matter, consider the protections this would strip from corporations under the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments the whole gamut of due process rights would be done away with as applied to corporations. Not only that, corporate assets could be seized by government without compensation being paid.
And then there is the First Amendment corporations could not avail themselves of freedom of the press. No corporation would be permitted to seek a redress of grievances from the government. There would also be no religious rights for corporations.
Now you may look at this and say that this isnt a big deal these are only corporations. But lets consider that much more closely.
We are not just talking about banks and car companies.
We are talking about newspapers and broadcast companies all of which would lose the protections of the First Amendment to speak and publish free of government regulation, restriction and censorship.
We are talking about churches losing the protection of the First Amendment, because virtually every congregation and religious denomination is incorporated.
Any number of organizations that exist to communicate a point of view on behalf of members and donors would be deemed to have no rights under the Constitution to fulfill the purpose for which they were created and for which individual American citizens used their First Amendment rights to freely associate.
In other words, what these folks are demanding is nothing less than a massive increase in government power at the expense of the freedom of individuals because after all, every corporation is composed of individuals who are stockholders or members, and the rights that they are being denied are their individual rights that they are exercising in a coordinated corporate fashion.
Some billionaires have a tax rate as low as 1 percent1 percent. That is the height of unfairness.
When asked for details, an administration official told us the truth sort of.
An administration official conceded the White House had no actual data to back up the presidents assertion, but argued that other reports showed that some of the wealthy pay little in taxes.
In other words, the man is just making crap up, pulling it out of his butt, and trying to pass it off to the American people as the truth so much so that even the folks who work for him cannot cover for his lies.
Former VP Dan Quayle offers these four considerations for choosing our candidate in 2012.
Leadership. We must have a president who has the ability and strength to lead. Our current president has proven over and over again that he neither has the willingness nor the ability to lead. He has been absent when our country most needed him to lead us to sound fiscal footing. We need a person who has a vision for the nation and the leadership qualities to implement this vision.
Character. This is profoundly important. Our president needs to have the temperament and principled character to lead. He must be a person of integrity. He must have demonstrated the he can be trusted. Trust is something that is earned.
Conservative Philosophy. We must have a president who understands the importance of getting our country on a sound fiscal track. We need a person who knows that government is best that governs least. And, we need a president who will always put America and Americans first.
Electability. We need a candidate who can defeat Obama. Our country will be economically bereft and internationally enfeebled if he is reelected. Our candidate must attract independents, moderates and conservatives. We need to reach out to Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans. We need the conservative who can get elected.
Notice a couple of things in this.
First, ideological purity is not a criterion, though conservative philosophy is. Thus, the ideal candidate is not necessarily the most conservative candidate or one who has never wavered from conservatism, provided the candidate does articulate a conservative point of view that will lead to smaller, more fiscally responsible government that put[s] America and Americans first.
Second, the candidate we nominate must be one who can be elected, and who draws the support of a wide spectrum of Americans. I would contend that we have not had a president who has done that since Ronald Reagan.
I note that Reagan would have met all of those criteria but not some of the criteria that others espouse, such as ideological purity and a life-long steadfastness. One of the things a leader must be able to do is admit that he has been wrong and to change his mind. He also needs to be prepared to compromise when appropriate. Indeed, those are the lessons Ive drawn from the last great president of the United States Ronald Reagan, who was willing to admit he was wrong on abortion and flip-flop on the issue and who was willing to compromise with opponents in Congress in order to achieve many of his greatest legislative accomplishments.
Am I saying we must find another Reagan? No because we are bound to be disappointed if we do. On the other hand, we need to find the Reagan of 2012 and back that man or woman for the good of America. If we do not, we are bound to fail in our goal of bringing America back on the right course.
I expect to hear my students complain when they get to school this morning -- and this is unusual for Houston.
So I'll agree with the first kid who comes into class and says "Mister -- its freezing out there!"
You know, a year or so ago when the LaRouchies showed up at Tea party events with signs doing it, and it was used to tar the Tea Party as racist -- and unAmerican by the Obama-fellating media.
Well, there has been a strange silence over this incident where something equally offensive happened.
Apparently the Left doing the same thing to a Republican elected official because of a policy disagreement is not news -- and presumably legitimate commentary -- because the media agrees that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is a bad man because he is working to enact conservative policies in government.
The postal service has long been a joke to most Americans about the inefficiency of government. But it is about to get worse.
Already mocked by some as "snail mail," first-class U.S. mail will slow even more by next spring under plans by the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service to eliminate more than 250 processing centers. Nearly 30,000 workers would be laid off, too, as the post office struggles to respond to a shift to online communication and bill payments.
The cuts are part of $3 billion in reductions aimed at helping the agency avert bankruptcy next year. They would virtually eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day, a change in first-class delivery standards that have been in place since 1971.
The plan technically must await an advisory opinion from the independent Postal Regulatory Commission, slated for next March. But that opinion is nonbinding, and only substantial pressure from Congress, businesses or the public might deter far-reaching cuts.
The change will go into effect not long after the rates increase in January.
And through it all, the USPS will still be charging the junk mail folks less than they charge you and me to mail a letter.
Strikes me that the time has come to either privatize the USPS or open it up to true, unsubsidized competition.
Let's face it -- most of us are not happy with this crop of candidates. I know which one I've settled on after several brighter prospects decided not to run. But as a Republican since birth, I've already made this commitment.
When people ask me who I am backing, I say I dont care. I am backing the Republican Party candidate because Obama is so terrifically bad. He is the worst President in a generation, and may be the worst President since 1900.
There's one candidate who makes me cringe at the thought of her as the nominee. There's another who I think would need to be reined in by Congress lest he weaken our national defense and strategic relations with our allies. But taken as a whole, I do not believe that any of the potential GOP nominees would be worse for America than Barack Hussein Obama. And as B. Daniel Blatt notes at Gay Patriot,
Not all the Republican candidates have signaled an understanding of the tasks facing our next president, but there are leaders, with powerful positions in both houses of Congress, who know whats at stake. And they will have far more influence in Washington with a Republican chief executive.
And that influence is what will make the difference in a Republican administration -- no matter who the GOP president is.
You know, like it has tried to do with states that seek to enforce our nation's immigration laws? Or does the lawless Obama Regime support the effort to create a sanctuary state for illegal aliens?
Nearly 1 million undocumented immigrants could live and work openly in California with little or no fear of deportation under an initiative unveiled Friday by a state legislator and others.
Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, a Democrat, is helping spearhead the measure, called the California Opportunity and Prosperity Act.
The proposal was filed Friday with the state Attorney General's Office, marking a first step toward a drive to collect the 504,760 voter signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.
Fuentes called the measure a "moderate, common-sense approach" necessitated by the federal government's inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
"I hope this shows Washington, D.C., that if they fail to act, California will take the lead on this critical issue," Fuentes said in a written statement.
Now please notice that Fuentes is making the same argument made by legislators in Arizona, Georgia and Alabama -- that Washington's failure to act on immigration necessitates state leadership on the matter. But the Obamunists have sued to stop other state efforts to lead in this matter, so consistency would require a suit in this case.
Except that Barack Obama and the Democrats want amnesty for illegals -- the sort of scheme that California is setting up. So a policy of failing to enforce federal law will be just fine with Obama and his cronies -- and so don't expect to see the corrupt Holder Justice Department filing suit any time soon.
Here are this weeks full results:
See you next week!
How any decent human being can continue to give Barack Obama any amount of respect -- much less support -- is beyond me. As his Secretary of Defense seeks to coerce Israel into making further concessions to those who would exterminate the Jewish people, a US Ambassador declared that increasing Muslim hatred of Jews is the fault of Israel and its failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians.
BRUSSELS Growing global anti-Semitism is linked to Israels policy towards the Palestinians, the American ambassador to Belgium told stunned Jewish conference attendants in Brussels earlier this week.
Speaking Wednesday at a Jewish conference on anti-Semitism organized by the European Jewish Union (EJU,) Howard Gutman told participants he was apologizing in advance if his words are not to their liking. He then proceeded to make controversial statements about his views on Muslim anti-Semitism, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.
A distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Gutman said. He also argued that an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty will significantly diminish Muslim anti-Semitism.
The American envoy, a lawyer by training, is Jewish and played a major role in fundraising for the Democratic Party. He was appointed to the post by President Barack Obama.
Gutman has it wrong. Anti-Semitism is rising in the Arab world because of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism that takes the words of the Quran at face value. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is merely an excuse designed to legitimize the vile hatred of Jews that is found in Islamic teaching back to the days of Muhammad. Sadly, our nation's government has now embraced this falsehood and made it American official policy.
I didn't write about the suicide of Joaquin Luna on my blog. Anything I would have said about his death and the failure to pass the so-called "DREAM Act" would have been construed as insensitive -- because even if there were thousands of illegal alien teens killing themselves because they can't get into college or can't get legal status, that still isn't a valid reason to modify our nation's immigration laws on their behalf (we can argue the proposal on policy grounds, but emotional blackmail is insufficient reason to pass it). But to have said so in the wake of the young man's death would have been misconstrued as uncaring or even celebratory -- and there is nothing to celebrate about Joaquin's death, which I find incredibly sad.
But I've changed my mind about writing about Joaquin and his death -- because there is something that is truly outrageous about this case. But it isn't the alleged "fact" that Joaquin Luna killed himself over the failure of Congress to pass a piece of legislation that would have immeasurably improved his life -- it is that the story that has raced around the nation and the world appears to be a LIE.
The recent suicide of an illegal immigrant fanned the flames of a controversial measure to legalize certain students who were sneaked into the country as children, prompting, among other things, a Friday morning ceremony in Los Angeles and a proclamation on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
But in the 11 pages of suicide notes that Hidalgo County investigators released to the family of Joaquin Luna on Friday, there's not a single mention of immigration or of the failed federal Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, as was mistakenly reported by various news outlets.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño said he could not release the notes, which an investigator found in a Bible, until the investigation confirmed the case indeed was a suicide.
What really bothers me is that there's somebody out there attempting to exploit this poor young man's decision to commit suicide and try to politicize it with failure of the DREAM Act and immigration issues, Treviño said.
Frankly, the exploitation of this young man's death by cynical political activists is disgusting, and worthy of condemnation by folks on all sides of the immigration issue.
But worse is the fact that his own family members have actively contributed to the propagation of the lie. Their behavior is utterly shameful -- especially since it seems to be continuing even after they have had evidence to the contrary placed in their hands.
Enough -- quit exploiting the death of this young man's sad and tragic death to score cheap political points. Doing so shows him no respect -- and dishonors your cause as well. Have some respect for the dead.
I grew up in a military family, so I know how special these homecoming moments are -- especially during time of war. But as the brother of a cop, I find this one to be particularly moving.
Thursday night was a big night for a new crop of Houston Police Department officers, but for two joining the ranks of Houston's finest, it proved to be exceptional.
When it came time to pin HPD badges onto Marlon and Karla Mena, their father, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Carlos R. Mena, appeared on stage to do the honors.
Sgt. First Class Mena, a combat medic, was granted a special leave from his assignment in Afghanistan for the graduation, and surprised his son and daughter at the ceremony.
Officers Karla and Marlon Mena were two of the 72 men and women who graduated from the academy Thursday night. Their father will be returning to Afghanistan within the week.
Congratulations to Officers Karla and Marlon Mena -- and to their proud father. And to all three i offer my thanks for their service to us all.
If Newt Gingrich can avoid his historic fate of imploding at the pinnacle of success, Mitt Romney will stay the bridesmaid at Newt Gingrichs wedding in August in Tampa.
And theres the problem Newt always implodes at the pinnacle of success. If he does not screw up before getting the nomination (and I suspect he will), hell do it after the convention and lead the GOP to ignominious defeat at the hands of the worst president of my lifetime. Based upon Newts track record, we can expect nothing less.
Of course, there is the OTHER reason for opposing Newt Gingrich as the nominee -- the visceral dislike so many Americans feel for him. One woman I know, a Hillary supporter in 2008 who voted for Obama out of party loyalty, exemplifies this. In recent weeks she has made it clear how much she is fed up with Obama, indicating she might not vote in 2012 and has even hinted at being able to cast a vote for the right GOP candidate. But the recent rise of Newt Gingrich led to her declaration that his nomination would be reason for her to go to the polls and vote to reelect the president. There are millions more like her out there and the party cannot afford to push such potential swing voters into the presidents camp by nominating a candidate such voters cannot support.
If you really want fair legislative districts, heres the best principle to follow and the likely result.
If you want to be truly fair then you need to carve out districts where the voters will select someone who best represents their views, even if you dont like the results. That means cutting the lines into districts which are as compact as possible and evenly spaced along the landscape as may be managed. A good rule of thumb I once saw suggested was that there should be no two points in any district (except along the very edge of oddly shaped states) where you can draw a line which crosses the territory of another district. They cant all be square, of course, but they can all be compact and roughly square or circular in shape.
This may give us a lot of non-competitive districts by party line, but over the expanse of the entire nation it will still result in a diversity of members which reflects the total population. Cutting back room deals to hack out these nightmare shaped, gerrymandered monstrosities just to protect the interests of one party or the other decreases the confidence of voters in the government and drives off talented leaders who might otherwise run.
Does this need to be applied woodenly? Not necessarily. We all know that there are places where variances are appropriate perhaps due to political boundaries, perhaps due to geographic features, perhaps due to the presence of some distinct community of interest. But the principles of compactness, regularity, and evenness ought to be adhered to as the norm, and variations from them ought to be looked upon askance.
I am pro-life.
I find the practice of abortion to be horrific.
But Im troubled by the criminal charges this woman is facing.
Authorities are investigating whether a woman whose fetus was found among trash illegally ended her pregnancy by drinking an herbal concoction billed as an abortion-causing tea, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss details not made public. The woman, Yaribely Almonte, 20, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of self-abortion after police said her fetus was discovered in a yellow bucket near her Manhattan apartment building. She was released with an order to appear in court in January.
Isnt the mantra of the feminist movement her body, her choice?
Havent the courts of our nation, rightly or wrongly, declared that there exists a right to an abortion?
If thats the case, how can there be charges for a woman causing herself to abort? She is merely exercising her purported right to end her pregnancy.
We dont punish Americans for praying without the assistance of a member of clergy. We dont punish Americans for engaging in amateur efforts to write and speak in the exercise of their freedom of speech. How, then, can it be a crime for this woman to exercise her putative "constitutional right to an abortion" without the assistance of a medical practitioner?
Unless, of course, we all really recognize that the so-called right to an abortion is nothing of the sort and is completely unprotected by the fundamental law of America.
Is that we really do not have an 8.6% unemployment rate at least not if one looks at the number of folks who are unemployed.
U.S. employers, continuing a pattern of modest hiring, added 120,000 new jobs in November, the Labor Department said Friday.
The nation's unemployment rate, however, fell sharply to 8.6% from 9% in October. There was an unusually big drop in the number of people who reported being out of work. Many jobless people may have quit looking for jobs, and thus wouldn't have been counted as officially unemployed. Analysts expect the jobless figure to climb back up next month.
Yeah, theres your reality check. Job creation didnt lead to the drop citizen frustration did. Folks simply got fed up with being unable to find a job and so quit looking which means they no longer get counted as a part of the labor force. New hires were dwarfed by discouraged workers by a 3-to-1 margin. So the Obama economy really only saw a 0.1% down-tick in the unemployment rate, as the other three-quarters is from people just giving up on finding work at all in the face of the ongoing Dem-pression.
And that doesnt even get into the question of how many folks became discouraged in earlier months, or how many of the new jobs offer merely seasonal employment over the Christmas holidays. Expect the number to jump next month as those folks are laid off again and as formerly discouraged workers put themselves back in the labor market based upon the bogus dip in unemployment.
No, not their right to freely exercise their religion (though that is implicated in the regulation they want modified), but their right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) on Thursday described Americas Roman Catholic bishops as lobbyists in Washington, D.C. in their efforts to persuade the Department of Health and Human Service to rescind a proposed regulation under the new health-care law that would force Catholics to act against the teachings of their church by compelling them to purchase health-care plans that cover sterilizations and all-FDA approved contraceptives, including abortifacients.
The proposed regulation, scheduled to take effect on Aug. 1, 2012, would require every health-insurance plan in the United States to cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives (which include abortifacients) without charging any co-pay. The Catholic Church teaches that sterilization, artificial contraception and abortion are morally wrong and that Catholics cannot be involved in them.
CNSNews.com asked Pelosi at her press briefing on Thursday: In August, HHS issued a proposed regulation under the new health care law that would require that all health care plans cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives. The U.S. Catholic bishops have called the regulation an unprecedented attack on religious freedom and have asked HHS to drop it. Do you agree with the bishops?
Noting that she is a devout Catholic, Pelosi said she sometimes disagrees with the Catholic bishops when they act as lobbyists.
Now the word "lobbyist" has become an insult in recent years, as it is used to delegitimize those who act as paid representatives for businesses and so-called "special interest groups" (translation -- organized groups of citizens who disagree with the speaker). But to argue that religious leaders who are attempting to vindicate the right of their followers and their religious institutions to actually live out their faith free from government-mandated violations of their beliefs are somehow engaged in a shady and illegitimate practice is despicable. But then again, this is Nancy Pelosi we are talking about here.
Former New Mexico Governor and Clinton Administration official Bill Richardson is out to prove the old adage that where there's smoke there's fire.
Defense lawyers and others briefed on the investigation said one of the accusations is that Mr. Richardson raised $250,000 from supporters to quiet a woman who had threatened to file a sexual harassment suit against him.
Kenneth J. Gonzales, the United States attorney for New Mexico, said in a statement that he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of any grand jury investigation into alleged criminal conduct by Mr. Richardson.
But others close to the case said that several people with links to Mr. Richardson had testified before a grand jury in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
The Albuquerque Journal first reported on the existence of the investigation on Nov. 16, and The Wall Street Journal followed up Thursday with more details about money paid to a woman who had said she had an affair with the governor.
In interviews on Thursday, people with knowledge of the investigation said that a sexual harassment claim might be at the root of the inquiry.
Now where are all the folks who raised a stink about John Ensign, who used private funds to deal with such an issue? After all, misdirecting campaign funds for such purposes is a much bigger issue. But then again, maybe he just took legal advice from John Edwards about the matter.
Of course, after 3 years as President he still cannot acknowledge that he, not the Republicans, are responsible for how screwed up the country is right now.
President Obama believes that Republican leadership of the country would ruin the United States as a land of opportunity, but hes (justifiably) confident that his daughters will have plenty of opportunities, no matter what.
Our kids are going to be fine, Obama told supporters at a campaign event last night. And I always tell Malia and Sasha, look, you guys, I dont worry about you . . . theyre on a path that is going to be successful, even if the country as a whole is not successful. But thats not our vision of America. I dont want an America where my kids are living behind walls and gates, and cant feel a part of a country that is giving everybody a shot.
That's right -- President Barack Hussein 1%, First Lady Michelle 1% and their daughters, Malia 1% and Sasha 1%, have all the privileges of the 1% and will continue to do so for life. The 1% girls will certainly be successful -- after all, their daddy will be cashing in on all the opportunities provided by his fellow 1%-ers (you know -- the ones he bailed out), and will no doubt receive all sorts of opportunities as a result of Barack 1%'s connections after they finish their education at the 1%-er private school they attend and go on to mingle with the children of the 1% at some prestigious university that benefited from President 1%'s policy and which is staffed by a faculty that were active supporters of the 1%/Biden campaign in 2008. After all, that is what happens to the over-privileged offspring of Democrat presidents once their daddy leave office -- see Caroline Kennedy", John F. Kennedy, Jr.", "Amy Carter" and "Chelsea Clinton" for details.
H/T Gateway Pundit
Wouldn't you sort of assume the second bit of information from the first bit of information in the sentence?
Neighbors say the couple in their early 20's had three boys and a girl, all under the age of 18.
The story itself is horrific, and is a tragedy for these kids -- they and their mother are certainly in need of our prayers. Please lift them up as your tradition deems appropriate.
UPDATE: A few moments ago I heard a heart-breaking report that two of the little boys have died. Prayer is obviously even more needed for the surviving kids and their mom.
UPDATE II: It gets worse -- all four children are dead, and mom is still in critical condition in the hospital. Please pray for her, and for the souls of the innocent little ones whose lives were snuffed out so senselessly.
Not a conservative source -- a quintessentially liberal one.
What about at the lower end of the income distribution? Here too, some hard truths complicate matters for liberal supporters of the Occupy movement.
Consider immigration. There is little doubt that adding lots of unskilled immigrants to the labor pool depresses the wages of the native born at the low end of the income distribution.
Reasonable people can disagree about how many immigrants the country should welcome (I'm in the pro-immigration camp). But liberal supporters of Occupy Wall Street, many of whom have expressed solidarity with undocumented workers, must reconcile the fact that their embrace of large-scale immigration of unskilled workers is a driver of the inequality they denounce.
I recently spoke with a colleague who is wild for the Occupy movement because "we are developing a wealth distribution similar to Third World Countries". Well, if you import an unlimited number of unskilled Third World people into our nation;s economy, what do you expect? If you want to narrow the gap, bring in fewer and get rid of the ones who are here illegally -- which will raise employment, raise wages, and narrow the wealth gap as the so-called "1%" are forced to pay higher wages by the market.
Oh, and as an aside, I'm also "pro-immigration" I love immigrants and welcome them to this country. I just want them to follow the rules for coming here and staying here -- and for our country to adopt a rational policy for deciding which ones we admit.