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February 29, 2012

Egyptian Parliamentarian Calls For Breaking Relations With US Over Quran Burning

Please do so -- we'll use the foreign aid allocated to your Islamist cesspool to cut the budget and pay down the national debt.

A senior Egyptian legislator called on the Arab countries to voice their protest at the desecration of the Holy Quran at a US base in Afghanistan by cutting relations with Washington.

“The US militaries’ burning of Quran is an insult to Islam and Muslims and a new position should be adopted against the US administration which has done nothing but apologizing,” Ahmad Abdul-Al told FNA on Tuesday.

He called on all parliaments of the Arab states to cut relations with Washington until the culprits of this action are tried and Muslims’ rights are restored.

Three points.

1) It was an accident.

2) It has been apologized for.

3) You need to condemn your fellow Islamists who desecrated the Qurans first by writing extremist messages in them.





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An Observation On The Finances Of The Law Student Who Wants To Make Catholics Buy Her Birth Control

I've got no problem with birth control being legal.

I've got no problem with a woman (or a man) choosing to make use of birth control.

Ultimately, that is a liberty issue and the individual decision to use or not use birth control is exactly that - an individual's choice.

Which brings us to this student from Georgetown Law, Sandra Fluke.

“Forty percent of the female students at Georgetown Law reported to us that they struggled financially as a result of this policy (Georgetown student insurance not covering contraception),” Fluke reported.

It costs a female student $3,000 to have protected sex over the course of her three-year stint in law school, according to her calculations.

“Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school,” Fluke told the hearing.

What Ms. Fluke has to realize is that while she has a right to use birth control, she does not have a right to have someone else pay for that birth control -- especially if it is against the religious beliefs of the one she is attempting to extort birth control from.

And besides -- if Ms. Fluke truly cannot afford the cost of her birth control over the course of those three years of law school, might I suggest abstinence?

Not based upon my desire to impose a traditional moral value upon her -- based upon the reality that every method of artificial birth control has a failure rate, and that sometimes you get situations like this one, where the medication itself is defective.

If Ms. Fluke can't afford $3000 dollars in birth control over the course of three years (a figure I find laughable, given the availability of reduced-cost birth control pills at both Planned Parenthood AND Walmart), how on earth is she going to be able to afford the cost of carrying a child to term and raising it after the birth control fails? Or is the next demand -- the logical progression of the slippery slope that Ms. Fluke's demand creates -- that Georgetown and other pro-life institutions be forced to provide Ms. Fluke with free abortions as well?





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February 28, 2012

A Reminder Of What America Fought For Two Decades Ago

Once again raising the question of whether American sacrifices on behalf of Muslims are worth it.

A Kuwaiti parliamentarian is set to submit a draft law banning the construction of churches and non-Islamic places of worship in the Gulf state, it was reported at the weekend.

Kuwaiti Member of Parliament (MP) Osama Al-Munawer announced on Twitter he plans to submit a draft law calling for the removal of all churches in the country. However, he later clarified that existing churches should remain but the construction of new non-Islamic places of worship should be banned.

Fellow MP, Mohammad Hayef supported the draft law. “Kuwait already has an excessive number of churches compared to the country’s Christian minority”, he was quoted as saying by the Kuwait Times newspaper.

The country’s Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs recently granted a licence for the construction of a new church, which Hayef described as “an error”.

Somehow there wasn’t this sort of concern when it was Christians fighting and dying over this pathetic piece of sand.





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But Wouldn’t This Be Racist

After all, we’ve got a white man moving into a traditionally African-American congressional district to challenge the African-American incumbent because he doesn’t believe he can beat a white candidate in a mostly white district.

Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) has filed to run in the Democratic primary against Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) in a heavily-Democratic, St. Louis-based district.

The decision comes after months of waiting on Carnahan to decide whether he would challenge Clay or choose to run in a Republican-leaning district that includes much of his old territory.

Carnahan's move is a loss for national Democrats: he would have likely been their strongest option to run in the new suburban district.

Now I’ll concede some bias here – I knew Lacy Clay some years ago when I was a grad student in St. Louis. I disagreed with his politics and still do, but thought he was a nice guy. He even bought my classmates and me a couple of meals along the way. But that isn’t why I’m making this post. It is because Democrats always scream bloody murder about whites trying to decrease black representation in Congress – and wouldn’t that be the effect of a Carnahan victory?

And Russ Carnahan is not alone – he’s one of four white Democrats trying to take seats away from their African-American Democrat colleagues. But then again, aren't race-based congressional seats themselves an exercise in racism? Oh dear!

RAAAACISTS!!!!!!!





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Three Views On The Chardon School Shooting

As of a a short time ago, the death toll is two students dead, at least one still critical after yesterday's Ohio school shooting.

And the reality is that there are folks trying to make a political point using the story.

And interestingly enough, I have examples coming out of the Austin, Texas area.

One law professor from the University of Texas had this to say.

A University of Texas at Austin (UT) law professor called Monday’s school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, a “typical exercise” of the Second Amendment in an Internet post today.

UT professor Calvin Johnson wrote on an email listserv for constitutional law professors, “Another typical exercise of 2d [sic] Amendment rights today.” The statement was followed by a link to a New York Times story on Monday’s school shooting in Ohio, which at this time has left a reported four wounded and one dead.

Asked for comment, Johnson further expounded on Second Amendment interpretations:

“The original meaning of the second amendment was to form a better militia,” Johnson wrote in an email to the Washington Free Beacon. “Under original meaning, guns fit into miliitias, [sic] and militias are subject to Presidential orders. Disobey the order and you can be shot. That is the real second amendment. The fake one allows high school adolescents to have easy access to the opportunity to work out their fantasies. That is bad originalism.”

Johnson has also defended the city of Chicago’s handgun ban, arguing against the Second Amendment as an individual right. The ban was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Johnson has also argued that it was “quite reasonable” to disregard James Madison’s idea of the right to bear arms as “historical trivia.”

I won't tear apart Johnson's vile argument piece by piece because that is not my purpose here. I'll just note that the US Supreme Court and the bulk of historical research -- as well as the founding fathers -- stand against his position.

Which doesn't mean that politicization is limited to only one side. It didn't take long for one Austin-area blogger -- who I count as a friend -- to post this.

Kudos to that brave teacher who tried to catch the shooter. But it would have been nice if that teacher was legally carrying his own handgun, and was able to shoot the thug dead.

But, alas, gun-free zones do nothing but afford a target rich environment for would-be-killers without the risk of being shot back.

Now like I said, this blogger is a friend. He's also a gun enthusiast, posts many great posts regarding the Second Amendment, and is a trusted shooting companion to our governor. I generally agree with his observations on this shocking crime.

But here's the problem -- not only are the dead students not yet buried, but the wounded weren't even out of surgery when these comments were made by these two individuals. When these horrors happen, can we not wait before we use them to make political points? Isn't there a decent interval? or has the immediacy of the internet led us to speak first and reflect later?

And before you ask -- this teacher has some opinions on this sad situation in Ohio.

Surely somebody knew what this kid was planning.

The shooter surely knew that the student had a gun and planned to use it.

What can we do to make it easier for our students to come forward in such situations without being labeled as snitches and ostracized?

What can we do to make schools safer? My campus has armed officers present in public areas at all times. Is that the answer everywhere? Or do we need faculty members armed -- either with lethal or non-lethal weaponry?

I don't know -- and I really don't want to discuss the matter until we've cared for the victims and gathered a bit more data on what actually happened.





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February 27, 2012

Santorum Partly Right, Partly Wrong On JFK Speech On Religious Liberty

Once again I find myself defending Rick Santorum, a guy who graduated from the same high school with me and with whom I share a number of teachers – even though I am not endorsing him and don’t believe he should be my party’s nominee for President.

Over the weekend, the former senator made extended remarks on John F. Kennedy’s Houston speech on religion and politics. Unfortunately, what we are often seeing quoted is just this little snippet.

I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country.

Hose words would be pretty damning if that was the sum and substance of what Rick Santorum said about the Kennedy speech – but it isn’t.

Let’s look at the transcript of the full interview where he discusses the issue.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You have also spoken out about the issue of religion in politics, and early in the campaign, you talked about John F. Kennedy's famous speech to the Baptist ministers in Houston back in 1960. Here is what you had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: Earlier (ph) in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up. You should read the speech
.
(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: That speech has been read, as you know, by millions of Americans. Its themes were echoed in part by Mitt Romney in the last campaign. Why did it make you throw up?

SANTORUM: Because the first line, first substantive line in the speech says, "I believe in America where the separation of church and state is absolute." I don't believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country.
This is the First Amendment. The First Amendment says the free exercise of religion. That means bringing everybody, people of faith and no faith, into the public square. Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate. Go on and read the speech. I will have nothing to do with faith. I won't consult with people of faith. It was an absolutist doctrine that was abhorrent (ph) at the time of 1960. And I went down to Houston, Texas 50 years almost to the day, and gave a speech and talked about how important it is for everybody to feel welcome in the public square. People of faith, people of no faith, and be able to bring their ideas, to bring their passions into the public square and have it out. James Madison—

STEPHANOPOULOS: You think you wanted to throw up?

(CROSSTALK)

SANTORUM: -- the perfect remedy. Well, yes, absolutely, to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case? That makes me throw up and it should make every American who is seen from the president, someone who is now trying to tell people of faith that you will do what the government says, we are going to impose our values on you, not that you can't come to the public square and argue against it, but now we're going to turn around and say we're going to impose our values from the government on people of faith, which of course is the next logical step when people of faith, at least according to John Kennedy, have no role in the public square.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We got a lot of questions on this on Facebook and Twitter, and I want to play one of them to you from Doc Seuss (ph), Chris Doc Seuss (ph). What should we do with all the non-Christians in this country? If I do not hold this belief, which I do not, how does he plan on representing me?

SANTORUM: Yes, I just said. I mean, that's the whole point that upset me about Kennedy's speech. Come into the public square. I want, you know, there are people I disagree with. Come to my town hall meetings, as people have done, and disagree with me and let's have a discussion. Let's air your ideas, let's bring them in, let's explain why you believe what you believe and what you think is best for the country. People of faith, people of no faith, people of different faith, that's what America is all about, it's bringing that diversity into and challenge of the different ideas that motivate people in our country. That's what makes America work. And what we're seeing, what we saw in Kennedy's speech is just the opposite, and that's what was upsetting about it.

Gee – you read that transcript and you get a whole different view of what the man is saying. Rick Santorum is objecting to extremist notion of separation of church and state that says that people of faith have no place bringing their beliefs and values into the public square, and that only “secular” values are to have any influence in the making of law and policy. Rick Santorum is correct in noting that it is fundamentally un-American to hold to the notion that people of faith (and their values) do not belong in politics, government, or the formulation of national policy. Just as the Constitution decrees that there can be no religious test for public office – or for voting – there is also no anti-religious that must be passed before participating in the public sphere of the American Republic.

Unfortunately, I think Santorum does JFK an injustice in his reading of the speech – though he is not the first. At the time, there were those on both the Right and the Left who understood him in the same way as Rick Santorum does, and who condemned him for it. But I’d like for Kennedy’s words to stand for themselves. I’ve put them in whole below the fold on this post, and will examine some of the more significant portions of the speech in the main body of this post.

Let’s start with the words that Rick Santorum seemed to most strongly object to.

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

Taken alone and out of context, the first part of this paragraph would seem rather troubling. Why should a bishop be any less free than any other American to express himself on the policy issues of the day – especially when those issues have direct impact upon both the church as institution and the people who are a part of the church? We have in recent weeks been dealing with federal demands that the Catholic Church (among others) go against its own teachings on sterilization, contraception, and abortion – it is critical that the leaders of the Catholic Church use their First Amendment right speak out and exercise their First Amendment right petition the government for a redress of their grievances so that their First Amendment right of the Church to freely exercise its religion is not infringed upon. Similarly, there is no legitimate reason that a Protestant minister (and I am married to one) ought not feel free to urge his or her parishioners to vote in a manner which is consistent with their faith in Christ, since one’s faith is supposed to influence one’s behavior for more than just a single hour on Sunday morning. And as I said recently, there is absolutely no reason that a church should not – and some very good reasons why a church should – impose some form of ecclesiastical sanction upon an officeholder whose policies are in fact an attack upon the faith and the faithful.

But when one gets to the second half of the paragraph, we can see that Kennedy is actually dealing with particular policy issues (one of which I happen to disagree with him about) and is actually defending the Constitution by making it clear that there can and should be no religious test for public office.

It is the next two paragraphs that make this very clear.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew— or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.

Let’s be clear – Kennedy is objecting to the notion that either the churches will control government or government will control the churches. He is objecting to religious intolerance every bit as much as he is to religious conformity. Indeed, many of us have echoed one of these sentences in recent weeks as we have discussed the Obama/Sebelius mandate – “. . . religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is. . . an act against all.” It seems our brethren on the Left have forgotten that part of Kennedy’s speech.

Now when Rick Santorum reacts strongly against the Kennedy speech, he probably finds this part objectionable.

I ask you tonight to follow in that tradition, to judge me on the basis of my record of 14 years in Congress, on my declared stands against an ambassador to the Vatican, against unconstitutional aid to parochial schools, and against any boycott of the public schools (which I have attended myself)— instead of judging me on the basis of these pamphlets and publications we all have seen that carefully select quotations out of context from the statements of Catholic church leaders, usually in other countries, frequently in other centuries, and always omitting, of course, the statement of the American Bishops in 1948, which strongly endorsed church-state separation, and which more nearly reflects the views of almost every American Catholic.

And frankly, I share the negative reaction of many regarding this particular paragraph. Kennedy bought into the bigots’ notion of what parts of the alleged “Catholic agenda” was and disclaimed it – by rejecting the notion that we would have an Ambassador to the Vatican (as we have now had for some three decades with no ill effect), aid for parochial schools (we now see that school choice programs are constitutional and beneficial) and the notion of a “boycott” of public schools (though parental choice in education is a principle affirmed by the Supreme Court in the 1920s) – rather than disputing the very notion that this agenda existed. But the reality is that those were issues in 1960 and Kennedy had to meet those issues head on – though I think he was dead wrong in how he did so.

Near the end of the speech, Kennedy also made the following observation – one that I believe that one would hope was true of every president, regardless of his or her religion.

Whatever issue may come before me as president — on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject — I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.

But if the time should ever come — and I do not concede any conflict to be even remotely possible — when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same.

One would hope that any president would say the same – that they would follow what they believe is right and in the national interest as they govern the country. That is why we must always look to the character of the candidate. And we must also hope that if a president were confronted with choice between acting in against the national interest to assuage his or her conscience that individual would make the honorable choice to resign from office rather act in a manner detrimental to the country. But as he notes, such a choice is one that is virtually impossible to conceive of – because would it ever be in America’s best interest to do that which is truly immoral or evil?

So do I disagree with Rick Santorum in his reaction to this half-century old speech? Yes, I do, in large part. In fact, I think Santorum would probably admit that he agrees with more than he disagrees in Kennedy’s speech. But I will not condemn him for his views on the speech, because they were shared in 1960 and continue to be shared by many today – and because his negative reaction to the speech is one that is in service not of theocracy, but rather is based upon his belief that every American can and should be welcome to participate in the great public debates of the day over the important issues that confront us as a society.

* * *

By the way, I would like to note that early in the Obama administration I cribbed an element from this speech. Kennedy said the following:

I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic.

I echoed the same sentiment when I repeatedly declared that Barack Obama is not (and should not be treated as ) the black President of the United States, but rather as the President of the United States who happens to be black. Since the speech has become relevant today, I would like to belatedly acknowledge my debt to JFK and express my fervent hope that Americans can recognize the wisdom of treating any president – regardless of race, ethnicity or religion – in precisely the same manner without ascribing criticism or opposition to bigotry (absent incontrovertible evidence for doing so).

Continue to be enlightened while reading "Santorum Partly Right, Partly Wrong On JFK Speech On Religious Liberty" »




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February 26, 2012

In Which I Defend Santorum For Taking One For The Team

Rick Santorum has sure been taking a lot of flack about this one -- and I believe that the criticism is unfair.

Well, you know what? I supported No Child Left Behind. I supported it. It was the principal priority of President Bush to try to take on a failing education system and try to impose some sort of testing regime that would be able to quantify how well we’re doing with respect to education.

I have to admit, I voted for that. It was against the principles I believed in, but, you know, when you’re part of the team, sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader, and I made a mistake.

(BOOING) You know, politics is a team sport, folks. And sometimes you’ve got to rally together and do something. And in this case, you know, I thought testing was — and finding out how bad the problem was wasn’t a bad idea.

What was a bad idea was all the money that was put out there, and that, in fact, was a huge problem. I admit the mistake and I will not make that mistake again. You have someone who is committed.

Let's look at NCLB. A lot of us initially thought it was a good idea. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be. Some of the goals -- like setting goals of 100% passing rates for schools -- were flawed. But it was a sincere attempt to address a problem that we all recognized with education nationwide. And many of us were willing to give the new president we worked to elect the benefit of the doubt on the legislation and see if it worked.

Along the way -- because I am someone working in a public school classroom every day -- I came to recognize the law wasn't doing everything it was supposed to do. Indeed, it reaffirmed my position prior to the law's passage, namely that we need to keep the federal government out of education to the greatest extent possible.

But I'm not going to criticize Rick Santorum for his "take one for the team" comment -- because that is sometimes what you do as a member of a party. You accept that compromise is necessary, and sometimes accept a piece of legislation that you don't like because it is what your president and fellow party members support it. That isn't unprincipled -- it is realistic.





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Humorous Post From The Glittering Eye

Ripped of shamelessly from my buddy Dave's blog.

What’s your immediate reaction when you read this caption: “Santorum comes from behind in Alabama three-way”?

I don’t suppose it speaks well of me but mine was “I think you have to pay extra for that”.

I have to admit -- my thought was pretty close to Dave's.





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Watcher's Council Results

Here are this week’s full results.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!





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February 25, 2012

A Republican We Need To Clean Out Of The House

I'm a Republican. I love my party and I want to see it control both houses of Congress and the presidency after the November elections. But I would prefer that we lose our majority in the House of representatives than have it defiled by the continued presence of this unworthy individual in that body.

sullivan_t960[1].jpg

Why do I take such a firm stance against Oklahoma Congressman John Sullivan? Because of this despicable comment that shows him morally unworthy of any office.

“I’d love to get them to vote for it,” Sullivan said at the event. “Boy, I’d love that, you know. But other than me going over there with a gun and pointing it to their head and maybe killing a couple of `em, I don’t think they’re going to listen unless they get beat.”

Sorry -- there is no context in which it is appropriate to suggest that the assassination of one's political opponents is a necessary or proper part of American government, no matter how worthy the goal one is seeking to achieve. If there is still time to run one, Sullivan needs to have a primary opponent run against him, and every republican has a moral obligation to vote for that opponent. If that is not possible, then an independent/third party conservative needs to run against Sullivan, and it is morally obligatory to vote for that conservative to replace Sullivan. And if neither of the first two options is available, it is obligatory to withhold one's vote from Sullivan -- even at the risk of having the seat go to the Democrat.





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Obama Official Repudiates Fourteenth Amendment

This has been a part of the Constitution since 1868.

Amendment XIV Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

But or some reason, a member of Obama's cabinet has decided to repudiate the notion that one's American citizenship is a right -- which is enshrined in the Constitution -- is not operative, and that one's citizenship is a privilege. TurboTax Timmy Geithner, who couldn't be troubled to pay his legally required taxes until he wanted the privilege of being a member of the Obama Cabinet, has declared that American citizenship is a privilege that requires some to pay higher taxes.

The Blog Geithner: 'Privilege of Being an American' Is Why Rich Need Higher Taxes 11:00 AM, Feb 24, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, speaking this morning on CNBC:

"That’s the kind of balance you need," said Geithner. "Why is that the case? Because if you don't try to generate more revenues through tax reform, if you don't ask, you know, the most fortunate Americans to bear a slightly larger burden of the privilege of being an American, then you have to -- the only way to achieve fiscal sustainability is through unacceptably deep cuts in benefits for middle class seniors, or unacceptably deep cuts in national security."

Of course, privileges can be revoked by government whim, whereas rights are something that are vested in each individual. And given that the same clause that makes our citizenship a right also contains due process and equal protection guarantees, it should come as no surprise that he advocates a class warfare position that treats some folks unequally based upon wealth, and takes their property for the benefit of others on the basis that even their very citizenship is a privilege that can be revoked.





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February 23, 2012

A Story That Shouldn’t Be A Story

The guy has every right to act as he did in a free society.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez needs a new hairdresser — or a new stance on gay marriage.

Martinez was recently dropped by her hair stylist, Antonio Darden, who is gay.
Darden told a local news station that he cut the governor’s hair three times, but won’t do it again as long as she continues to oppose gay marriage.

“The governor’s aides called not too long ago, wanting another appointment to come in,” he told KOB-TV. “Because of her stances and her views on this, I told her aides no. They called the next day, asking if I’d changed my mind about taking the governor in and I said no.”

Martinez has said she believes marriage should be between a man and woman.

Unfortunately, if the situation were reversed, there would be a much louder outcry. If Martinez supported same sex marriage and Darden opposed it, there would be pickets twelve deep in front of his place of business. Oh, yeah -- and death threats that would likely go unprosecuted.

And if a hairdresser in the community were to say he/she opposed same sex marriage and therefore would not do the hair of participants in such a ceremony, there would be lawsuits and other legal repercussions over the refusal.

Apparently only one side of the issue has rights – and our so-called “civil rights laws” are non-neutral statutes that are used to impose the political agenda of one side of the political spectrum. Indeed, one could argue that the disparity shows the fundamental flaw in the well-intentioned application of civil rights law to private entities. After all, government has no legitimate right to discriminate against any citizen – but private individuals like Mr. Darden certainly do. After all, owning a business entitles you to some rights, too. And lest you think that is a statement in support of discrimination – consider that if the Supreme Court strikes down affirmative action in Fisher v. Texas, having laws that recognized a right of private entities to discriminate would allow private schools and businesses continue using it.

UPDATE: My fellow Watcher's Council member Dan over at Gay Patriot notes that the guy also lost a chance to engage the governor on the issue upon which they disagree.





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On The Media’s Religion Double Standard

Reports have now emerged that briefly – before he was even a teenager – Marco Rubio may have been baptized as a Mormon and active in a Mormon youth group. Already there is speculation about how this may impact Rubio as a potential VP candidate with Mitt Romney and as a presidential candidate in 2016.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a rising Republican star frequently mentioned as the party's likely choice for the vice presidential nominee, was baptized into the Mormon Church as a child and was active in the faith for a number of years during his youth.

Rubio was baptized into the church while his family was living in Las Vegas, around the time that he was 8 years old, according to his Senate office. He was active in the Mormon Church for around 3 years.

I can’t help but be struck by how interested the media is in the religious history of a non-candidate during his pre-teen years.

You know, especially since the press never really pressed Obama about the racial separatist church he attended and the extremist pastor he credited as a mentor (and his inspiration for becoming a Christian) for so many years. [In the interest of full disclosure, my wife was at one time the pastor of a church in the same denomination] And while the media is interested in Marco Rubio’s baptism as a Mormon at age 8, the press is significantly less interested in Obama’s being registered as a Muslim in a religious school in Indonesia at around the same age, and never really pursued the real possibility that the president was at some point a practicing Muslim as a child. Indeed, raising these questions subjects one to all sorts of abuse for daring to question Obama’s honesty and his professed religious faith as a Chrsitian.

Of couRse, the Reason for the DiffeRence in how the stoRies aRe coveReD is not Difficult to DisceRn if one thinks about it.





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To Quote Instapundit – They Told Me If I Voted For Republican…

The IRS would be turned loose upon anti-war activists!

The federal government has filed a lawsuit to force anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan to provide her financial records to the Internal Revenue Service.

An IRS revenue officer said Sheehan refused to answer any questions about her finances after receiving a summons at her Vacaville home.

The U.S. Attorney's office on Tuesday filed a petition to enforce the IRS summons.

The summons ordered Sheehan to produce bank account statements for the period from August through early November 2011.

According to IRS revenue officer Jose Arteaga, the financial information may be relevant to the collection of Sheehan's federal income tax liabilities for tax years 2005 and 2006.

Cindy's days as a useful idiot for the Left ended the day Obama won the 2008 election. I suspect it won't be long until the Obama Regime indicts her – after all, Cindy Sheehan has made it clear where she stands on following the law.

Sheehan said she's always been up front with the IRS and has no intention of paying her taxes. She says the government has already taken enough from her.

"If they (federal government), can give me my son back, I'll pay my taxes, but that's not going to happen," Sheehan said.

It is rather pathetic, in a way. First she turned her son the dead soldier into a celebrity cult of personality, then into a business venture, and now into a tax dodge. She does need to be locked up -- until her mental health is restored.





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Obama/DNC Spokesdrone Says Something That Catches My Eye

About last night’s GOP debate.

Obama adviser and former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted the GOP presidential candidates as out-of-touch with the concerns of voters after last night’s GOP debate in Arizona. “I don’t think there’s any doubt we got more out of ‘Downton Abbey’ than we have out of these twenty debates,” said Gibbs on CBS This Morning, in reference to the popular British television drama.

Interestingly enough, I just bought Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey (Season 1) and Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey Season 2 (Original U.K. Unedited Edition) -- and they arrived in yesterday’s mail. If my darling wife hadn’t had been recovering from a trip to the dentist, I probably would have been watching the new acquisition last night – and enjoying it more. Why don’t you join me in some good television? After all, the debates are a farce and the Obama Administration is a horror film.






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An Observation On Democrat Energy Policy

From today’s Houston Chronicle (H/T Prairie Pundit).

Refiners right now have to pay $3 — roughly 84 percent of the current gallon of gas price — just to cover the cost of crude on global markets and gasoline taxes, said John Felmy, chief economist with the American Petroleum Institute, the main oil lobbying group.

While more refinery output could cause a drop in the price in the short term, the long-term solution is to boost U.S. oil production, Felmy said.

“More U.S. barrels on crude markets would help drive down crude costs,” Felmy said.

The industry group has criticized the Obama administration’s energy policies that the API claims limits companies’ ability to lease and drill in offshore areas and on federal lands.

Felmy reaffirmed the group’s position on those issues and also restated API’s support of the Keystone XL pipeline, which could bring 700,000 barrels of crude a day from Canada to the U.S.

“The administration has not stepped up to the plate on any of this,” Felmy said.

Last week, the House passed a bill aimed at approving the 1,700-mile pipeline, expanding oil and gas production in new offshore areas and opening a small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has called the bill “an action plan” to cut gasoline prices in the face of what he views as counterproductive Obama administration policies.

Democrats have panned that bill as an environmentally destructive measure that likely wouldn’t have any near-term impact on gasoline prices.

Notice a few things here.

The United States, if it developed its resources, would have the ability to be independent of the rest of the world as far as petroleum is concerned – or could at least rely only on friendly nations (Canada and Mexico, for example) for its oil needs.

Second, the oil industry and the GOP are actively trying to achieve that energy independence. Democrats – from Obama on down – are thwarting that goal.

Third, and most important – Democrats have done precisely this for years and then complain that the plans put forth by the GOP won’t solve problems in the “near term”. And they keep making that same complaint year after year after year – when getting out of the way would have meant that the problem would have been solved and they would have had nothing to complain about or criticize. For example, John Kerry complained that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was a bad idea because it might not bring any oil to market for a decade – back when the GOP proposed such drilling in 2001. He and his fellow Democrats still use that excuse today, in 20012 – despite the fact that it is now clear that drilling back in 2001 would have meant we would have access to that oil today as gasoline prices skyrocket. They refuse to act with a view towards the long term – and that is bad for America.

And that last point leads me to ask a question about Democrat politicians – do they ever get hungry? When they do, do they make themselves something to eat (or more likely their cooks – you can’t expect powerful Democrats to cook for themselves)? Or do they recognize that it will take time to prepare something to eat and therefore do nothing – after all, cooking a meal that won’t be ready for an hour does nothing to solve the problem of being hungry in the “near term”? Of course not, because they aren’t stupid enough to starve themselves to death (what a pity!) – merely to starve this nation of its needed and available energy resources.

By the way – Obama’s hand-picked DNC leader demonstrates the cluelessness of the no-drill Democrats when she COMPLAINS that the GOP wants to pursue proven energy resources rather than stake our future on speculative ones that have not been proved technologically or commercially viable. But then again, Obama is taking the same tack as he campaigns for reelection. They are, of course wrong – since nobody on either side of the partisan divide is talking about drilling only and not looking to the development of alternative fuel sources.





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For Those Who Say The GOP Loses With Moderates

This from over at Jawa Report is mostly accurate.

We didn't lose in 1996 and 2008 because we ran moderate candidates. That's historical fiction. We lost those two elections because of a) economic conditions (good in 1996 favoring the incumbent, and bad in 2008 favoring the out-party candidate); b) because of a third party candidate in 1996 (remember, Clinton never got a majority of the vote in either 1992 or 1996, Ross Perot eroded the Reagan independent vote); c) because of weak candidates (the weakness of their personal candidacy having nothing to do with their alleged moderation).

The other problem with the two examples Rush uses is something called selection bias. His chooses cases where moderates lose, and ignores when a moderate wins.

How about 1988? Did a moderate Republican win or not? Um, yes he did.

Remember, George H.W. Bush ran against Reagan as a moderate and famously called Reagan's economic plans "voodoo economics".

My one observation is that Bob Dole was historically a pretty conservative politician. The problem with Dole, of course, was that he (rather like McCain) had two modes of operating -- flat and cranky. He was Gerald Ford's vice presidential choice in 1976 because he was seen a conservative favorite who would help draw Reagan supporters. Indeed, the 1996 ticket was arguably the most conservative GOP ticket ever, given that it also included Jack Kemp.

The problem with the "Dole was a moderate" analysis has to do with the reality of American politics -- the GOP has moved right in my lifetime. In 1964, Barry Goldwater as viewed as hard right -- a candidate with his positions today would likely be viewed as a moderate by some of today's folks demanding some latter day version of conservative purity.

UPDATE: Got an email from a reader shortly after posting this.

you [REDACTED] Rino mother [REDACTED]!! It is people like you who are the problem with the Republicans today!!!! You are no conservative -- go vote for that Kenyan mother [REDACTED]ing son of a [REDACTED] Obama!!!!!!!

Sorry, dude -- you read me all wrong. I want a conservative -- and view ALL of the candidates running (with the possible exception of Ron Paul) as conservatives. Indeed, Mitt Romney would have been viewed as a very conservative candidate in any other election year -- as he was in 2008. I'm arguing that the definition of conservative has changed -- and not necessarily for the better. Plus, I stand with Ronald Reagan on the following point.

But then again, you would probably declare Ronald Reagan to be a [REDACTED] Rino mother [REDACTED] if he were running today, and damn him as a part of the Establishment.





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Chris Christie Joins My Call For Unpatriotic Hypocrite Warren Buffett To "Write A Check And Shut Up"

I've been saying this for a long time -- it's about time that a leading political figure in this country takes up my call.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who called for the nation’s wealthiest people to pay more taxes, should “just write a check and shut up.”

“I’m tired of hearing about it,” Christie told CNN’s Piers Morgan in an interview that aired last night. “If he wants to give the government more money, he’s got the ability to write a check. Go ahead and write it.”

Here's hoping more join Christie on this one -- and that Buffett heeds that call.





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

Congressional Disgrace Gets Unusual Opponent

cornbreadd-MaintainFame[1].jpg

If nothing else, it promises to be entertaining.

Nine-term Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who easily won reelection in 2010 with 70 percent of the vote, will face a challenge this November from Maurice Duhon Jr., who writes a political blog and is also a Houston-area rapper who goes by the name Cornbreadd.

Duhon announced his candidacy on Tuesday, and told the Houston Press that he's running because "I believe we can do better.

The sad thing is that Mr. Duhon is correct -- but that isn't setting the bar particularly high, given Queen Sheila's history of camera-hogging, buffoonish statements, and abuse of both staff and citizens. And let's be honest -- she doesn't have any real signature accomplishments after nearly two decades in Congress.

By the way -- here's the "Cornbreadd Epistle" announcing Duhon's candidacy.

Dear fellow Americans,

It has been my recent honor to announce my candidacy for elected office in your United States Congress representing the great 18th District of Texas-Houston. Being a native Houstonian, raised and educated in the 18th district, I have grown to respect and admire the honor and valuable history that resides within this district and our city of Houston as a whole. Although I am fervently proud of both our district and our city, I believe we can do better. The current instability of our financial markets, a rising rate of poverty, and a massive national debt are just a few of the reasons why we must do better.

I plan to introduce and participate in an evolved and updated political conversation with the residents and business owners of the 18th district and her surrounding areas. I believe this conversation will create the potential needed to maneuver the 18th Congressional District into her rightful position of extreme political relevancy concerning our nation’s federal policies and decision making process.

I believe it is your voice that needs to be heard in our nation’s capital. I also believe the issues and solutions this campaign offers for review will lead to an attainable and realistic path of financial and social growth for this grand district, her residents, and the awesome city and country in which we reside.

I hope within the coming months you have the opportunity to become more familiar with myself and the Maurice Duhon for Congress Campaign. Together, we can move the American taxpayer back into the driver’s seat of our nation’s economy. Together, we can bring your issues to your nation’s capital. Together we can work to elect a New Voice and a New Choice to represent the illustrious 18th District in your United States Congress. Thank you for taking the time to read this message. I am grateful for the opportunity to run as a candidate in our 2012 elections. I am also humbled by the task at hand.

Many Thanks,

Maurice E. Duhon, Jr.

Sounds intriguing.

And here's the flyer for Duhon's first campaign fundraiser.

395283_146981102090190_100003349033243_180177_966607447_n[1].jpg

Hmmm -- maybe more than entertaining. Maybe more than intriguing. Maybe quite enlightening.





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It Happens Again -- And What Is The Commonality

I'm not saying that there aren't people of every faith who cause disruptions on planes -- but it does seem that when someone starts invoking religion in such situations there is a common thread with the one yesterday.

Passengers aboard a Continental Airlines flight bound for Houston Tuesday sprang into action to help a flight attendant having trouble with an unruly passenger. Twenty minutes after the plane departed Portland, pilots returned to the city where the FBI was waiting.

Passengers said the unruly man was a problem from the beginning. After boarding Flight 1113, the man became upset because he was not seated next to his friend.

Then after the flight took off, he ignored the “No Smoking” sign and tried to light an electronic cigarette.

A flight attendant asked the passenger to turn off the cigarette, but he refused. The Middle Eastern man started screaming at the smaller woman.

“He was screaming, ‘Allah is great, Allah is great,’” said Nancy Haywood, passenger. “And it kind of worries you when that happens, but believe me, there were enough men to hold him down.”

Which leads to an obvious line of questioning.

Is it something about Islam that leads to such behavior on airplanes?

Does Islam make people feel especially entitled to cause such disruptions?

Does Islam attract proportionally more mentally ill people who engage in anti-social behavior related to their faith on airplanes?

Or is there something about Islam that makes its adherents try to cause aircraft to crash because of their real or perceived grievances?

You know -- since we have over a decade of data showing this trend.





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

February 21, 2012

Two Observations On A Surberism

Columnist Don Surber noted this in a column on the meaningfulness (or lack thereof) of early polls.

A couple could copulate today and still have a baby by Election Day.

Observation 1: Things can change in a dramatic fashion over the course of the next several months – as they usually do in presidential races.

Observation 2: Shhhhhhh!!!!! Don’t give Barry and Michelle any ideas on how to boost their popularity and his reelectability. America doesn’t need to be punished with their baby.





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Dumbstruck By Obama’s Audacity

I can’t believe that he would actually say this.

Basking in the glory of his recent payroll tax cut victory, President Obama urged Congress on Tuesday to move ahead on other policies he has put forward that will help improve the economy and benefit middle-class Americans.

* * *

For the typical family, he said the tax cut was "a big deal."

"It means $40 extra in their paycheck, and that $40 helps to pay the rent, the groceries, the rising cost of gas — which is on a lot of people's minds right now," he said.

Given what gas prices have done during the Obama Error, $40 doesn’t even fill the gas tank of most of our cars a single time. Given here gas prices are expected to be when this school year ends, $40 is only half a tank of gas – and I burn through a whole tank just driving to and from work each week.

And don’t forget – this is the president who said as a candidate that he wanted Americans paying more for gas. And his energy secretary has said that he wants to see us paying European level gas prices – around $8.00 a gallon or more – in the future. The time has come for Americans to say “Hell No!” to the Obama Administration’s economically devastating energy policy,





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A Warped, Sick, And Twisted Argument Against The Death Penalty For A Cop Killer

Over two decades ago, Carl Buntion murdered a Houston Cop, Officer James Irby, during a traffic stop. He was sentenced to death, but after two decades on death row managed to finagle a new sentencing hearing. His lawyers argue he doesn’t qualify for the death penalty – something I understand – but for a reason that turns my stomach.

Buntion's lawyers say he should stay in jail for the rest of his life since he's been a model prisoner and is not a continuing threat to society.

Got that – because he’s been on death row for two decades and has therefore had limited opportunity to again violate society’s standards, he should get a pass on the only legitimate penalty for his crime. That’s an argument that is wrong from any moral point of view.





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

A Sad Commentary On Barack Obama

It is a story about Rick Santorum – but what it says about Obama is quite damning. The Left doesn’t get worked up when Obama takes a position for which it damns conservatives – because they know Obama is full of crap when he does so.

When Barack Obama was campaigning for president in 2008, he declared that marriage is between a man and a woman. For the most part, his position was treated as a nonissue.

Now Rick Santorum is campaigning for president. He too says that marriage is between a man and a woman. What a different reaction he gets.

There's no mystery why. Mr. Santorum is attacked because everyone understands that he means what he says.

President Obama, by contrast, gets a pass because everyone understands—nudge nudge, wink wink—that he's not telling the truth. The press understands that this is just one of those things a Democratic candidate has to say so he doesn't rile up the great unwashed.

Isn’t it sad – Barack Obama can get away with saying anything because we know he is probably lying?





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

February 19, 2012

Watcher's Council Results

Here are this week’s full results

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!





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February 18, 2012

How Things Ought To Be

Some of the stuff that Andrew Sullivan says -- especially his Trig Trutherism -- is utterly absurd. And some of the things that Pat Buchanan says teeters on the edge of "beyond the pale". But that said, i don't want either of them silenced.

And in a defense of Buchanan's right to speak, Sullivan makes it clear that disagreement on ideas does not equal personal animus.

Sixteen years ago, when I came out as HIV-positive and quit TNR's editorship, Buchanan, who had sparred relentlessly in public with me over gay equality, wrote me a personal hand-written note. He wrote he was saddened by what he heard - which was then regarded as an imminent death sentence - and wanted to say how he would pray that I would survive, if only so we could continue to argue and fight and debate for many more years. He was one of only two Washingtonians who did such a thing. I was moved beyond words. But he knew I loved a good argument as well. Over a gulf of ideological and philosophical difference, we could debate reasonably.

He's a complicated man and I will not defend for a second his views on many things. But he is also a compassionate and decent man in private and an honest intellectual in public. It says everything about the polarization of our discourse and the evolution of cable news into rival sources of propaganda that this ornery figure, still churning out ideas and books while others his age are well in retirement, is now banished.

Sullivan is right on this one. There is a real loss to public dialogue when contrary views are silenced by various media outlets -- or in life in general.





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February 17, 2012

At What Point Do Democrats Have Any Legitimacy?

How finely must they shred the Constitution before they become the sort of government that the Declaration of Independence indicates should be altered or abolished?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) threatened on Friday that he would recommend the White House make recess appointments of all 90 outstanding executive nominees if he did not receive cooperation from the GOP for confirmation through the Senate’s advise and consent function.

“If something doesn’t break here I am going to recommend to the president that he recess-appoint all of these nominees,” said Reid. “[E]very single one. It’s not as if there isn’t some way to respond to this.”

Most Republicans in the Senate remain furious with President Obama for his January recess appointments of several executive nominations — a move they say was a gross violation of the U.S. Construction.

Republicans are exercising their rights under the Constitution and the rules of the Senate, so Obama will just pencil-whip his nominees through without abiding by the Constitutional niceties like "advice and consent".





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February 16, 2012

WaPo Columnist Who Insulted Santorum Over Dead Child – “Faithful Catholics Are Crazy”

That is the only way of interpreting religious bigot Eugene Robinson’s statement.

So, I mean, the only thing I can figure out, Rachel, is that’s based on a wrong and frankly insane belief that a fertilized egg is a fully formed person and has personhood and that, you know, preventing the implantation of that egg is some-, is murder. I don’t, you know, it baffles me as to what other explanation there could be. They can be sincerely mad on this, on this subject, I think, and maybe they are.

If Eugene Robinson would like to tell us where human life actually begins, then we’re all ears. Hopefully he can find as clear-cut a milestone as the point when the distinct genetic code of the individual comes into being to mark the beginning of human life. Otherwise he’s merely spouting off an opinion that is at least as “insane” as the bright-line one that he declares to be “mad”.

Please note – I’m not getting into the question of ensoulment. We cannot prove anything one way or another there. But if we start excluding members of the species homo sapiens sapiens from the definition of human, I cannot help but recognize that this puts us on the slippery slope to Auschwitz.

And as for the “fully formed person” part of his argument – pro-lifers recognize that human beings go through an entire process of development. When does Robinson believe a person is “fully formed” and therefore worthy of rights and protection? Watching my ninth grade students struggle their way through puberty, I could make an argument that they are not yet “fully formed” – does that mean they are not persons under Mr. Robinson’s criteria?

And we won’t get into the question of those born with birth defects – though Robinson’s “fully formed” argument does lend itself well to arguments for the return of the Third Reich’s Aktion T4 program.





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No, Senator Reid – Senator Rubio Was Elected To Represent AMERICAN Interests

More proof that the Democrats believe that minorities are supposed to thing with their skin rather than their brains, and that they are to put loyalty to their race above the interests of all Americans.

“In Nevada, this woman [Aponte] is seen by the Puerto Rican community, the Hispanic community, as really somebody who is an up-and-rising star. … I just think it’s a mistake for someone who is supposedly representing Hispanic issues to do what [Rubio] has done,” added Reid, who said Rubio hasn’t delivered the votes on Aponte that he promised.

Now I take no position on the nomination of Mari Carmen Aponte to be ambassador to El Salvador. I don’t know enough about her to make a determination whether she is an appropriate choice, nor do I know if the two procedural votes that delayed her confirmation were the right call by Marco Rubio and other Republicans. But that is all irrelevant to the fact that Reid would never argue that a white Senator was supposed to be representing white interests – and would be properly condemned as a racist if he did. Honest men and women of good will should condemn him for this statement that is no less racist.





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Student Sticks To Principles, Quits HS Choir Over Religious Song

And let me say that I respect him for doing so – even though I believe that he and his supporters are dead wrong on this one.

A Colorado high school student quit the school choir after an Islamic song containing the lyric “there is no other truth except Allah” found its way into the chorus.

James Harper, a senior at Grand Junction High School in Grand Junction, put his objection to singing “Zikr,” a song written by Indian composer A.R. Rahman, in an email to Mesa County School District 51 officials.

“I don’t want to come across as a bigot or a racist, but I really don’t feel it is appropriate for students in a public high school to be singing an Islamic worship song,” Harper told KREX-TV. “This is worshipping another God, and even worshipping another prophet … I think there would be a lot of outrage if we made a Muslim choir say Jesus Christ is the only truth.”

Now I had a wahoo block me on Twitter over this one last night, and now I find my very good friend and fellow Watcher’s Council member Hube taking the other side on this one.

Hey, I agree with the district that a religious theme in songs is perfectly fine (the Christmas and Hanukkah season, for example); however, lyrics that promote the supposed truth of one religion over another certainly appears to be crossing the line. And, as noted, it should be something so-called "progressive" organizations should be all over like flies on you-know-what. So ... why aren't they?

I know. It's the 'ol "What the hell do we do when two competing politically correct ideologies conflict?" scenario. First , there's the obvious church vs. state issue, but then there's the PC promotion/protection of an "aggrieved" minority ingrained in their dogma which is combating the first "progressive" tenet. What to do??

Yeah, it is fun to tweak the ACLU and other Christianity-phobic liberals over their seeming hypocrisy – but doing so misses the entire problem with this controversy and the position taken by the student and his family.

The thing is, high school choirs do religious music all the time. Having been a high school teacher for over 15 years, I know this from experience. Choirs where I have taught has at various times performed Amazing Grace, Ave Maria, choral settings of various Psalms, and at least Jewish piece (and at that school there were ZERO Jews enrolled), among other things. Heck, a few years back I was talking about Gregorian Chant during my class and intoned the beginning of Salve Regina – only to have the four choir students in class join in because they were going to be singing it in a concert the next week. Courts have repeatedly upheld the use of such music in a high school programs based upon the musical quality of the works (see this case for an example) – and if the piece in question here is of similar quality (and nobody is disputing that point), then there is absolutely no reason to exclude it simply because it is Islamic rather than Christian or Jewish. After all, what is the difference between a song praising Allah and songs that are actual prayers or parts of Jewish/Christian Scripture? Nothing as far as I can see – at least not as regards the legal principles and pedagogical purposes involved.

Oh, and another couple of points folks overlook on this one. The students in the choir were told that they were not required to sing the song if they objected to it and that they would suffer no penalty for refusing to sing it. Apparently what this boy, his parents, and some of his supporters want is for NOBODY to be allowed to sing it – or hear it. So much for the notion that the kid is standing up for freedom – he wants nothing less than jack-booted censorship.

And a quick note to those who believe this song should be banned merely because it is Islamic – please realize that Handel’s Messiah, all Gregorian Chant, and the vast majority of European and American choral music composed over the last 1500 years will be joining the Muslim works in your bonfire of religious music. This is nothing less than sincere Christians doing the work of the atheists for them by making the case for banning religious works from the curriculum, even when used in a non proselytizing way.





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February 15, 2012

About iPads In The Classroom

I woke up this morning to a local blogger I respect getting all hot and heavy about this decision by a local school district.

Fort Bend ISD is going high-tech. The school board approved an $18 million plan to replace textbooks with iPads.

Supporters say the move will help boost students’ science scores. It will also make grading papers and handing out assignments easier for teachers.

The iPads will put in second through eighth grade classrooms over the next two and a half years.

My fellow blogger offered the following objections.

As far as I know, there are no scientific studies proving that the use of iPads over textbooks lead to higher student test scores. So basically this is just the case of a school district deciding to spend some money on a piece of technology because someone, somewhere has decided it would be cool.

If Texas school districts have $18 Million to blow on "cool" then possibly it's time to re-examine their cries of poor? Or maybe it's just time to tune out Texas lockstep political media and the InterLeft when they band together and tell obvious whoppers. In fact, school funding INCREASED over the last biennium. Just at a slower rate than it would have under the old formula. That's a reduction in growth, NOT a cut. Obviously some ISDs could have used a cut if they're wasting money on items such as this.

I beg to differ. Maybe that’s because I am a teacher and I understand WHY FBISD is doing this.

Our state standards (the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills – TEKS) include technology standards for every course that I am familiar with. The problem is that the technology is often in short supply on a lot of campuses, and so those standards often get short shrift. Most classrooms have only a couple of computers, and school computer labs have to be booked by teachers in advance because so many classes need them. Assignments involving technology can’t be given as homework because we teachers cannot assume that our students have access away from school – especially if we teach in districts with high rates of poverty.

The state has traditionally separated funds for textbooks and technology, but that changed in a recent legislative session. Recognizing that many of our books are available in electronic form – either as programs or online – the legislature authorized districts to start combining technology and textbook funds to purchase electronic textbooks and the means of giving students access to them. And as a side benefit, the sort of technology purchased can also be used to help meet the requirements of the technology TEKS. In other words, we’re looking at a two-fer, not a waste of cash on what’s “cool”. And that, my friends, is both fiscally and educationally responsible.





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When It Comes To Civil Liberties And Rights, Poll Results Don’t Matter

One of the great things about the United States is that the Constitution guarantees rights for all Americans, not just those who a majority like or agree with. That’s why the poll results here are essentially meaningless.

A strong majority of Americans support the Obama administration’s requirement that health insurance plans cover the cost of contraceptives for religiously affiliated employers, according to a new survey Wednesday.

Sixty-five percent of registered voters said that they supported the Obama administration’s birth control mandate, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

If you go a little bit further on, you discover that 59% believe that the government should force religiously affiliated employers – including those with explicit teachings against birth control – to fund birth control.

But you know, those numbers do not matter. What matters is the law and the Constitution.

First, there is the small issue of the First Amendment and the conflict between the mandate and both the religious freedom clauses found in that portion of the Bill of Rights.

Second, there is the issue of federal law –namely the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed some two decades ago – that makes it unlikely that the ObamaCare regulation even meets the statutory requirement for burdening the free exercise of religion.

In other words, it doesn’t matter what a majority of Americans think is a good idea – the regulation falls because of the fundamental value of protecting religious freedom, a value that is at the heart of what makes America America.

Besides, a majority can be morally wrong. I’m sure that in 1950 we would have found a large majority of Americans supported segregating schools and other public places by law. The Supreme Court had the courage to overlook that consensus and instead do what was right, both morally and constitutionally.

And so, as in Roman times, it matters not if a majority believes it is appropriate that Christians be required to burn a little incense before the altar of Caesar – it is still appropriate for Christians to refuse to obey a decree that is contrary to the Christian faith. If that means that we return to the days of persecution and martyrdom, so be it.

Jean-Leon-Gerome-The-Christian-Martyrs-Last-Prayer[1].jpg





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One Of The Best Satirical Pieces I’ve Read In A While

From Tim Stanley’s excellent essay Sean Penn should return his Malibu estate to the Mexicans.

His continued occupation of Malibu is an unacceptable mockery of national self-determination. The Mexicans owned that stretch of real estate well into the early 19th century and it was stolen by the Americans in a naked act of imperialist aggression. America’s claim over Malibu is tenuous and rooted in patriarchy. Sean Penn’s house is a mocking reminder of that brute chauvinism, with its high white walls and spacious interiors. Its swimming pool is an insult to the honour of the Mexican people.

Now, I know that some will say that the Mexicans never actually lived on Sean Penn’s estate. But how many of them have worked there? Think of the maids, the cleaners, the butlers, the pool boys, the cooks, the gardeners. Think of the sweat that has dripped pouring Martinis, or the blood that was spilt pruning the roses. Truly, Sean Penn’s estate is part of Aztlan.

As Dr. Stanley points out, every left-wing platitude that has dripped from the lips of Sean Penn regarding the Falkland Islands, Palestine, and US imperialism abroad applies to his own Malibu estate. Time for the semi-talented hack to put up or shut up.





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In Which I Sort Of Agree With Paul Krigman

Regarding high school dropouts.

David Brooks is unhappy with the turn the conversation over the white working class has taken; that’s his right, although I think he’s caricaturing my position. But I do want to make a point about the nature of social explanation.

David says,

I don’t care how many factory jobs have been lost, it still doesn’t make sense to drop out of high school.

* * *

Nobody — not William Julius Wilson, not Larry Mishel, not yours truly — denies that the bad effects of reduced opportunity would be much less if people always did what was in their best long-term interests. But people often don’t, which is why loss of economic opportunity can be socially as well as economically destructive. That’s not crude materialism, it’s saying that people are human.

Reality check, folks -- the exercise of human freedom means that some folks will inevitably make bad choices for which there will be consequences. Which would we prefer to have -- a society in which there are people who pay the cost of their bad choices, or one in which none of us have any freedom?

By the way, I sometimes think it does make economic sense to cut one's education short. Maybe not drop out of high school, but certainly not continue on to college. Not everyone needs a college degree -- and in fact, the proliferation of college graduates has made that achievement less meaningful and less valuable to all.





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You Don't See Headlines Like This Every Day

From the Houston Chronicle.

Naked cowgirl leads Corpus police on slow-speed chase

The article IS safe for work.





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February 14, 2012

Keith Olbermann Makes Bigoted Tweet

After getting called out by Washington Times columnist Henry D'Andrea regarding his dismissal of Occupy movement women who filed rape charges against their fellow Occupiers, Keith Olbermann offered the following tweet in reply.

BigotryByOlby.jpg

Whoa!

Not only does he double-down on calling rape victims liars, but he engages in rank religious bigotry by referring to the Washington Times as a Moonie-owned "newspaper". Apparently the religion of the paper's owner is a legitimate basis to dismiss it as a source.

Seems to me that ÜberDouche may qualify for his own "Worst Person In The World" award for his own flight into religious bigotry. After all, if Bill O'Reilly, Shep Smith, or any other conservative media figure dismissed the New York Times as a Jew-owned "newspaper", they would certainly receive that "honor" -- and quickly be on the receiving end of a Media Matters orchestrated campaign demanding that they be fired.

But then again, when you are an Al Gore employed liberal with a history of mental instability, violent outbursts, and verbal abuse of women, calling rape victims liars and engaging in religious hate speech isn't a glitch -- its a feature.

And about those rapes that Bathtub Boy denies, let me offer some highlights.

So, Keith -- ready to make that retraction yet?

And is Current TV ready to suspend or fire their sexist, rape-denying religious bigot?





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Clueless Celebrity Becomes A Muslim

Now that headline may appear harsh and insensitive, but read this excerpt and you will see why I make that judgement.

US filmmaker Sean Stone, the son of Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone, said Tuesday that he converted to Islam in Iran, where he is making a documentary.

"The conversion to Islam is not abandoning Christianity or Judaism, which I was born with. It means I have accepted Muhammad and other prophets," he said in a brief telephone call from the central Iranian city of Isfahan, where he underwent the ceremony.

Sean Stone's famous father is Jewish, while his mother is Christian.

Sorry, but becoming a Muslim does constitutes the abandonment of Judaism and Christianity. Setting aside the Jew-hatred that is implicit in much of Muslim theology (pigs and apes, anyone?), there is the minor issue of Islam denying the essential Christian truths that Jesus is the Son of God and that he rose from the dead. Adopting that stance is by definition an abandonment of Christianity -- and that Sean Stone does not understand that indicates his theological cluelessness.

Do I object to his becoming a Muslim? Not in particular -- religious freedom is a great thing. Let's just hope he doesn't change his mind later -- after all, it is an essential Muslim teaching that "apostasy = death".





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Proof We Have Too Much Government

That there would be a government regulation -- and a bureaucrat doing inspections -- regarding this is proof that we need to start slashing government regulations, spending, and employees.

A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because a state employee told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs — including in-home day care centers — to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.

First, it really isn't the place of government to be policing lunches brought from home. And in instances where the meals are truly inadequate -- a kid being sent to school on a daily basis with a bag of chips and a soda pop -- then the matter needs to be dealt with as a case of child neglect. But the notion of a state lunchbox inspector? You have to be kidding me.

Especially since, in this case, the jackbooted food Nazi got it wrong -- the kid's lunch met every requirement of the regulation in question.





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Peyton Manning To Houston Texans?

Wow.

And as a Texas season ticket holder since Day 1, let me say it again -- WOW!

Sports reporter Bob Allen of Houston television station KTRK has this report for us.

Someone I know who is close friends with the Manning family says Peyton is definitely interested in possibly coming to the Texans. Peyton will be released by the Colts early next month and will be a free agent. The person who knows the Mannings says Peyton wants to play on a team that has a chance of going to a Super Bowl, and the Texans fit that description.

Another big plus is that the Texans are in the Colts division. Manning not only knows the division, but I'm told the relationship between him and Colts owner Robert Irsay now is strictly business. And don't underplay the competitiveness between Peyton and Eli -- it "does" matter that Eli has two Super Bowl rings to his one.

Now that does raise the question of what happens with Matt Schaub and last season's rookie phenom T.J. Yates. But you know -- it could work out very well for a team that was just a heartbeat away from the AFC Championship game in the season that just ended -- and which needs just a bit of tweaking to take it all the way in the season to come.





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February 13, 2012

Scandal? Romney Bused In College Students

Oh, the horror!

Mr. Romney has struggled to win the allegiance of the most conservative Republicans, and made his strongest appeal yet to them in his speech to the conference on Friday. The Romney campaign also worked aggressively behind the scenes for a strong showing, including busing students from colleges along the Eastern Seaboard to show their support.

Two observations.

1) This is the problem with straw polls -- whether at CPAC, in Iowa, or anywhere else. The numbers don't mean anything, as the small, self-selected sample is not representative of the population at large and can be manipulated by a candidate with a big bankroll or a strong GOTV effort.

2) This is how Ron Paul has done so well in so many straw polls over the last couple of years, and why I disregard the outcome of such votes. For that matter, this is the same sort of problem that we see with the caucus system for selecting delegates.

But as for this being some sort of scandal, I don't think so. After all, Romney is neither the first not the last to bring in supporters for a straw poll -- and so the results of such votes should be given all the credence merited by the results of an internet poll on a newspaper website.





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February 12, 2012

Watcher's Council Results

​​​Here are this week’s full results. New Zeal was unable to vote this week, and was affected by the mandatory 2/3 vote penalty:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!





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A Time For Choosing

Yes, we Republicans are faced with a choice of candidates. But the candidates are faced with a choice as well -- one that my esteemed Watcher's Council colleague over at The Political Commentator states quite well.

Will we have decorum amongst themselves while taking aim at the record of President Obama and his administration?

Or instead will there be more of the same politics of self-destruction making what should have been a relatively easy win come November instead four more years of a failed incumbent administration?

It's the candidates choice to make and hopefully they choose "right"!

We are likely to have one of these four men as our nominee in the fall -- unless the GOP follows the advice proffered by folks like this blogger and Sarah Palin. In light of that, it is important that the party destroying rhetoric stop and there be a new focus on that which is important in this race -- finding the candidate who is the best one to beat Barack Obama and implement a conservative vision for America.





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February 11, 2012

On Obama's Disingenuous Statement On Health Care

I heard this yesterday on the radio and nearly drove off the road.

Whether you’re a teacher, or a small businesswoman, or a nurse, or a janitor, no woman’s health should depend on who she is or where she works or how much money she makes. Every woman should be in control of the decisions that affect her own health. Period. This basic principle is already the law in 28 states across the country.

Why limit that to women, Barack? Why not expand that to all people?

And why are you making it appear that you are about making sure that women (or even people in general) get access t basic, life-saving health care instead of crushing those opposed to birth control and abortion?

After all, this male teacher is a diabetic. Even with my insurance, I shovel out more per year than the average woman who has to pay the full cost of birth control has to pay. I've had to change my medication in order to make my out-of-pocket costs more manageable. Why shouldn't my medication be free? After all, I need it to stay healthy and alive, and to prevent a whole host of complications that raise health care costs.

And what about those with cancer? The young grandson of a family friend was recently diagnosed with cancer. I can only imagine the financial strain his treatment will put on his parents. Why are you more concerned that women get birth control for nothing than with providing life-saving radiation treatment and chemotherapy at no cost?

SO get it done, Barry -- whip out your pen and promulgate a regulation that makes the treatment of diabetes and cancer completely free. After all, you've made it really clear that cost should be no object when it comes to health care decisions. Or is that just rhetoric designed to obscure your policy payoff to the professional feminists and the abortion industry? America is waiting.





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Palin Gets It Right on Brokered/Open/Deadlocked Convention

It is a possibility and we should embrace it -- and those opposed to one have an agenda other than getting the best candidate.

Sarah Palin said Saturday that Republicans should be in no hurry to wrap up the presidential nominating contest, declaring that a competitive campaign until the August convention in Tampa would not complicate the party’s efforts to defeat President Obama.

“People who start screaming that a brokered convention is the worst thing that could happen to the G.O.P., they have an agenda,” Ms. Palin said in an interview. “They have their own personal or political reasons, their own candidate who they would like to see protected away from a brokered convention.”

She added: “That’s part of competition, part of the process and it may happen.”

Of course, i suspect that Sarah has her own agenda as well. She would be one of the potential beneficiaries of no candidate got the nomination on the first ballot and delegates then became free to pick anybody as the nominee.

Now I don't think that Sarah Palin is the best person available to be the GOP candidate this fall -- I rank her immediately after "You Must Be Kidding" and immediately before Newt Gingrich -- but she is absolutely right when she says that we must not "let the political experts in the party say that we need to sew this thing up now." But I will also say that we must not let the big-name bloggers, talk radio hosts, or television talking heads rush us into a choice either -- especially if their goal is denying a particular candidate the nomination without being truly focused on the ultimate goal in November, which is defeating Barack Obama. And Palin, for all her faults and foibles, at least remembers that goal is the important one.





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Whitney Houston Dies

Just imagine -- drug abuse kills another pop star. Why are we surprised?

LOS ANGELES - Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died. She was 48.

Houston's publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.

Even if the drugs weren't the direct cause of death, it is undeniable that they hastened it. It is too bad.





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Should The Catholic Church Go Medieval Over ObamaCare Regulations?

I've debated whether or not to write and publish this post. I've done so for two reasons. First, I parted company with the Catholic Church some years ago over my personal struggles with a church that I still deeply love and respect. Secondly, what I am about to write may strike some as profoundly anti-American, at odds with the notion of separation church and state, and even as hearkening back to a time prior to the election of John F. Kennedy when bigots would suggest that a Catholic president would be under the thumb of the Pope in Rome. Yet in the end, I find myself compelled to write and publish this post because of the critical nature of the attack on religious freedom that has been launched by President Barack Hussein Obama and his administration. As a student of history and political science who also has four years of training in Catholic theology, I believe that what I set forth below is in keeping with the best of American values, Catholic theology, and the obligation of Christians to resist government actions and policies that cannot be reconciled with the Gospel.

* * *

On January 20, 2012, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius issued a regulation which required religiously affiliated employers to provide their employees with free sterilization and contraceptives(including abortifacients) even if doing so violated the religious tenets of the organization. While there was a small carve-out that would allow actual houses of worship to refrain from offering such coverage, the regulation would require Catholic schools, hospitals, and charities to pay for such insurance coverage if they employed or served a significant number of non-Catholic employees. While the regulation is not aimed directly at the Catholic Church – it applies equally to other faith groups with teachings against sterilization, birth control, and abortion – it is clear that the biggest impact will be upon Catholic groups.

The uproar was immediate and loud. On February 10, President Obama himself seemed to offer a compromise option, but reality is that the changed wording and presentation did not constitute a substantive change of law or policy. What’s more, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blocked efforts to introduce and vote on legislation that would have blocked any regulation of this sort, ensuring that President Obama’s allies would ensure that there was no chance to undo the “compromise” – which the President has indicated will be implemented this August. This means that the American people will not have the ability to install new leaders before religious organizations are forced to surrender their principles, pay crippling fines, or shut down.

As I’ve examined the current situation, it strikes me that this attack on religion is unprecedented in American history and that it flies in the face of the guarantees found in the Bill of Rights. But attacks upon the faith are not unprecedented in the history of the Catholic Church. From Apostolic times through the Middle Ages and Reformation and up to the present, there have been political leaders whose lust for power and personal glorification have led them to seek to undercut the teachings of the Church and its spiritual prerogatives. The faithful died in the arenas of the Roman Empire rather than burn incense at the altars of the emperors, popes engaged in political and military conflict with enemies through the ages, and courageous bishops and priests spread the great encyclical letter Mit Brennender Sorge in the face of the Nazi regime in 1938. And if Pope John Paul II had the ability to undermine Communism in Poland and the other nations behind the Iron Curtain, what might his friend, co-worker, and successor Pope Benedict XVI be able to do regarding this effort by Barack Obama to force the Catholic Church to act contrary to its teachings?

Some might ask Josef Stalin’s question – how many divisions does the pope have? But one need only remember that the Church has survived conflicts with greater men than the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and that Christ himself promised Simon Peter that the gates of Hell will not prevail against him and his successors – a promise kept for some two millennia. All that is necessary is for Benedict to deploy the full force of the spiritual weapons in his arsenal. It would not be unreasonable for him to follow some of the historical precedents for their use in this case. Indeed, I'd argue that the Pope might consider taking a course that has both modern precedent and roots in the medieval period.

To this end, I believe that an encyclical letter, with its definitive version written in English, ought to be issued. In doing this, Pope Benedict would be following the precedent of Pope Pius XI in issuing Mit Brennender Sorge in 1938. The young Joseph Ratzinger would have heard as this denunciation of Nazism was read from the pulpit of his church on Palm Sunday, 1938, as it was in virtually every German church. Benedict should act in kind now, speaking as pastor to his flock and as head of state challenging the misdeeds of the American government -- and require that the encyclical be read in every Catholic church on the same Sunday.

What should be included in this encyclical? I would suggest several elements. The first part would be a restatement of the teachings of Vatican II on the proper relationship of church and state, and an analysis as to how the Obama Regime mandate is incompatible with that relationship. It should be made clear that this is not a claim of special privilege, but a function of natural law that applies to all who claim the title of Christian and to non-Christians as well. No government, whether democracy, monarchy, or dictatorship, has within the scope of its authority to direct a faith community to commit actions that are at odds with its fundamental teachings.

The second part of the encyclical should lay out the consequences of the promulgation of this new regulation and its successor. This should begin with an announcement that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is immediately excommunicated, as are any other Catholics within the senior staff of the department. In addition, immediate excommunication should also fall upon any Catholic member of Congress who voted for ObamaCare. Lest there be any confusion on the matter, the individuals excommunicated should be listed by name. In addition, latae sententia will be incurred by any Catholic who directly enforces or causes to be enforced the requirements of the new regulations. Similar sanctions should be directed at state officials in the 28 state with similar provisions in state law. At least as regards the public officials, the lifting of the excommunication ought to be reserved to the Holy Father himself. The second consequence contained within the encyclical ought to include the imposition of interdict upon the United States if the regulation is not rescinded by a certain date, with the interdict to be lifted only upon the lifting of the regulation and the return of any and all property seized as a consequence of failure to comply with the regulation.

The third part of the encyclical ought to be a reminder to American Catholics of the importance of bringing their faith into the public square and voting booth. This section ought to note the right, long recognized by the Church, of a people to remove an unjust ruler when the opportunity arises -- and draw the parallel between this and the words of Thomas Jefferson, who in the Declaration of Independence declared that the people have a right to alter or abolish any government which becomes destructive of their rights. It should be made clear that this is not intended to be a new Regnans in Excelsis, but rather a reminder that it is within the power of every American to see to the removal of civil officials who implement and enforce violations of religious freedom via their responsible exercise of the franchise at the next election -- and that it is morally obligatory for them to do so.

And lest the encyclical be seen as a rejection of the whole idea of health care accessibility, there should be a fourth section reminding the faithful of the Church's continuing devotion to the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, and that it is for this reason that the many schools, hospitals, and agencies subject to the Obama regulation operate. Beyond that, it should be made clear that the Church finds it appropriate for government to be involved with assisting in the performance of the works of mercy, and that the faithful may legitimately support or oppose specific government programs and policies for doing so to the degree that they do not infringe upon the freedoms of individual or the prerogative of the Church itself to implement its own moral teachings.

Will such an encyclical cause an uproar among the secular elite of this country? Certainly. It will also expose those who claim to support policies based upon their interpretation of the teachings of Christ but who are in fact hostile to their fellow citizens who would follow the counter-cultural message of the Gospel. Yes, such an encyclical would separate the wheat from the chaff in American public life. And that, my friends, would be a very good thing.





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Definitely Something Freudian Going On

Frankly, I'm surprised that stuff like this doesn't happen more often.

Well, she was thinking about sausage.





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February 08, 2012

Santorum Wins Three

Of course, not one delegate was actually awarded last night -- but the fact that he has now won more contests than Romney or Gingrich -- and as many as the two of them combined -- is important.

Rick Santorum had a breakthrough night Tuesday, winning GOP presidential contests in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, all of which is expected to breathe life into his struggling campaign and slow Mitt Romney’s march to the Republican presidential nomination.

The Santorum triumphs promise to, at least temporarily, alter the face of the campaign going into the crucial “Super Tuesday” contests, as the caustic tone of the primaries is expected to continue and intensify. Romney and his allies have signaled that they will use their financial advantage to launch stepped-up attacks on Santorum and on former House speaker Newt Gingrich, the other main challenger.

Santorum solidly defeated Romney in Minnesota and Missouri, and he narrowly edged the former Massachusetts governor in Colorado, according to state GOP officials.

None of this negates Romney's financial advantages, nor does it eliminate the problem that Santorum has not even made the ballot in every state. And as pointed out by the Romney campaign, John McCain lost 19 contests in 2008. But this does serve to keep Santorum -- a candidate who I could gladly vote for -- in the mix for the next several weeks, probably until mid-March at the least. But it also means stepped-up attacks from his GOP rivals -- and from the Left. Expect the former Senator and part-time radio host (he was the fill-in for Bill Bennett for a while) to be the object of some real hits in the days to come.

And as the FiveThirtyEight blog points out, last night's showing also indicates that Romney is vulnerable in the Heartland -- something he must overcome if he gets the nomination and expects to beat an incumbent president from the Midwest.





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Jesse Jackson Jr. -- Having a Campaign Donor Buy Plane Tickets For My Mistress Not A "Personal Benefit"

I didn't think the congressman could be any more of a pathetic joke than his faux-minister daddy -- but I guess I was wrong.

The House Ethics Committee could be probing a second allegation that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) broke House rules, according to the Chicago lawmaker.

Jackson, speaking before the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board on Monday, vehemently denied any wrongdoing, saying that a campaign donor’s purchase of a plane ticket for a woman he had an extramarital affair with, though at his behest, did not break the chamber’s rules.

“[It was] not a personal benefit to me, I don't believe, under the House rules. A benefit to the person for whom he bought the ticket. He didn't buy tickets for me. Did I direct him? I did," said Jackson, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Now let me get this straight -- getting a big donor to fly a woman to you so you could get laid doesn't constitute a personal benefit? Are you freakin' kidding me? Apply the laugh test to this one to see if it passes muster.





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February 07, 2012

ACLU Indicates It Does Not Understand First Amendment

I’ve not written on the Obama Regime’s new regulation forcing the Catholic Church to pay for abortion and birth control for employees. I’m working on something about it, and will post on the topic soon. But this statement from the ACLU merits comment due to its fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment.

The American Civil Liberty Union announced today that President Obama's decision to mandate coverage for birth control does not violate religious liberty.

The ACLU's Alicia Gay warns that the "powerful lobbying arm of the Catholic Church" mistakenly claims that the HHS contraception mandate violates their religious liberty.

Individuals who choose not to pay for employees' contraceptives, the ACLU counters, are forcing their beliefs on their employees.

"The fundamental promise of religious liberty in this country doesn’t create a right to impose those views on others, including ignoring civil rights laws or denying critical health care," Gay insists.

Director of Washington Legislative Office Laura Murphy insisted on NBC's Today Show this morning that individuals could still "practice their religion as they see fit," by not using birth control.

Here’s the problem with tat argument – the First Amendment doesn’t say what the ACLU says it does. Here’s what the First Amendment does say.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now given that the rulemaking authority under which the Obama Regime is acting comes pursuant to a congressionally passed statute, the First Amendment applies here. And requiring that a religious organization act in a manner directly contrary to its religious teachings. In the case of the Catholic Church, its teachings are clear on birth control and sterilization – and abortion. Regarding abortion, the Catholic Church actually imposes the penalty of excommunication upon those who procure or directly participate in an abortion. Requiring that the Catholic institutions fund abortion therefore opens Catholics up to grave ecclesiastical penalties. Moreover, the new regulation creates the bizarre twist that Catholic hospitals may not be required to perform abortions or supply abortifacient contraceptives, but will be forced to fund them through their insurance plans.

Still, the absurd argument put forward by the ACLU here needs to be refuted. The ACLU seems to thinkt that if Catholic institutions are not forced to pay for the birth control, sterilization, and abortions of their employees that some substantive right is being violated. That is nonsensical – as nonsensical as arguing that a Jewish nursing home with a kosher kitchen failing to provide bacon and pork products to its non-Jewish employees is somehow an unlawful and illegitimate imposition of Judaism upon those employees.

The reality here is that the ACLU isn’t concerned about the First Amendment here. It is instead concerned about the perpetual extension of the abortion culture in America. As a result, they are willing to see the federal government require that those with moral scruples against abortion be forced to burn a little incense at the altar of Margaret Sanger – or be crushed by the instruments of the state in the same way that the ancient Romans sought to crush the early Christian community for refusing to make such sacrifices at the altar of the emperors.





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Politics Have No Place In Licensing Decisions

I’ll be honest – I think this man’s birther beliefs are absurd. But that does not mean he should not be permitted to practice medicine.

A Kansas board that denied a licensed doctor of osteopathic medicine a license was primarily concerned about the man's political views. The Kansas State Board of Healing Arts is a 15-member panel appointed by the governor and decides the fate of doctors in Kansas.

Terrence Lee Lakin rose to the ranks of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. He served on the front lines in Afghanistan and the war zone in Bosnia as well as a medical mission to Honduras. He saved lives around the world and received a Bronze Star for his service.

"I like helping people," said Lakin. "And I've been, since college wanting to be in medical field and help others."

But a dispute over whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States led to Lakin being forced from the military and apparently led to the Kansas board in October denying him a medical license to practice in the Sunflower State.

The board repeatedly refused comment on their decision, but a transcript of Lakin's shows board members didn't concern themselves with Lakin's 18-year spotless medical record.

"They hammered me for my political views," said Lakin.

It apparently took the board all of 18 minutes to conduct a political inquisition and determine that his having stood up for his political views made him unfit to practice medicine – on the theory that his refusal to deploy potentially endangered soldiers in the theater of war. But the same board apparently is willing to license physicians who present an active danger to patients – such as this one.

KCTV5's investigation reveals that in 2008, the KSBHA board approved the license of another doctor with a history of medical mistakes and malpractice payouts. One patient died after a drill mishap in the operating room. A surgical error caused repeated electrical shocks to a second patient. And a third patient wasn't even that doctor's patient. The physician didn't notice, ended up performing brain surgery on the wrong man and caused permanent damage.

Fine – Terrence Lakin is a political loon. So is Dr. Ron Paul. However, I know the latter to be a fine physician, and by all accounts Lakin is as well. I’d rather see either of them treating patients than the fellow who Kansas did see fit to license despite apparent incompetence.





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Is The Tea Party Dead?

I am not one who has been active in the Tea Party movement, despite my sympathy with many of its aims. I’ve never attended a Tea Party event, nor have I joined a Tea Party group. What’s more, I’ve at times found myself in conflict with some Tea Party activists. I note this because I want it recognized that I write as one outside the movement, rather than as an insider.

So do I believe the Tea Party is dead, as obituaries like this one indicate?

But after months of wondering how the Tea Party would change the primary game, leaders inside the movement admit they never came in off the sidelines. For the Tea Party movement, the 2012 presidential primaries have been a bust.

“The Tea Party movement is dead. It’s gone,” says Chris Littleton, the cofounder of the Ohio Liberty Council, a statewide coalition of Tea Party groups in Ohio. “I think largely the Tea Party is irrelevant in the primaries. They aren’t passionate about any of the candidates, and if they are passionate, they’re for Ron Paul.”

Littleton is one of the many who have endorsed the Texas congressman; he blames the other GOP candidates for the lackluster energy they have generated in the grassroots that hosted a revolution two years ago.

From where I sit, only a couple of miles from Ron Paul’s congressional district, I don’t see what Littleton is seeing. The major Tea Party group in my area seems to have been dominated by Herman Cain Supporters, not supporters of the local congressman in the race. In addition, many of the Tea Party people here in Texas were drawn in by the Perry campaign – after all, our governor was a Tea Party favorite in the state in 2010. And I know some Tea Party activists who, having their eye on the movement’s stated goal for 2012 -- getting rid of Obama and ObamaCare, -- have been firm Romney supporters.

And that, you see, is the thing. The Tea Party was never a monolith. It was instead a coalition of disparate factions aimed at certain mutually acceptable goals. In 2010 it was obvious how to reach that election year’s incremental goals, but in 2012 it was less obvious. And that has been the undoing of Tea Party influence this year as those different coalition partners have each pursued their different directions.

Of course, this loose structure and the resulting fragmentation is not what some folks – among them Chris Littleton – expected or desired. Some wanted an opportunity to make money off the movement, while others wanted to create a top-down structure which would have leaders directing followers how to vote. The hucksters can be dismissed, but the latter group were really looking to replace an “establishment” they distrusted with an establishment that they themselves led – or at least a parallel establishment to counter what they see as an “insider” establishment out to impose itself on the grassroots.

I encountered that attitude during the last election cycle. I received a communiqué from the campaign manager/spouse of a neophyte candidate in which I was informed that the candidate’s Tea Party involvement made the candidate “the grassroots” and that I, the local GOP precinct chair, had better fall in line with “the grassroots” or prepare to be swept aside with the rest of the “corrupt establishment”. I didn’t – I had the audacity to ask some questions about the candidate, make some observations regarding the initial contact from the campaign, and pointedly criticize the way in which the campaign was being handled in its crucial early stage. After being lambasted NATIONALLY by a handful of the candidate’s early allies, the extent to which this “grassroots candidate” represented anyone was demonstrated in the primary – I was reelected precinct chair with some 70% of the vote in my precinct, while the candidate lost the nomination to the incumbent by a margin of 4-to-1. While I have since come to count the candidate and the spouse as friends and often allies as we struggle to keep the local GOP on a conservative course, it is also clear from this experience that the desire to become a new establishment is very much on the mind of some within the Tea Party movement – though that is not what much of the GOP base is looking for.

But if the Tea Party isn’t dead, what will come of it? I think that it will, for a time, remain an activist force in the GOP – and I find that an encouraging thing. It will bring new blood – like the couple mentioned above – into the GOP and into leadership positions. I find that a positive. But in the end, the Tea Party will survive ONLY by becoming part of the GOP coalition and proving that it is prepared to work within the party. In doing so, it will be responsible for a shift akin to that brought about by the Goldwater Republicans of 1964 who persevered to elect Ronald Reagan 16 years later. But change comes slow – and those who would bring change need to take the long term view rather than expect immediate results.

UPDATE: An interesting counterpoint to this post from Ben Shapiro, with whom I agree in part and disagree in part.





|| Greg, 05:13 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

RedState Founder Erick Erickson Comes Around To My Position

Erick Erickson of Red State and I have had a few conflicts over the years -- including one which led him to block me on Twitter (and I consider blocking anyone on Twitter to be among the most petty of responses to disagreement). But he seems to have come around to something akin to my position on the current GOP field of candidates. Set aside all the silliness about the "sweet meteor of death" and it comes down to this.

Erickson said he’s hoping for a brokered convention, where some other candidate might emerge in a last-ditch effort to derail the Romney campaign.

As I've been saying, we need someone besides the current crop of candidates. A brokered/deadlocked/open convention gives us the chance to get such a candidate. Jindal, Ryan, Cantor, Bolton, Daniels, Pawlenty, or Jeb Bush could become the consensus guy around whom we all can unite. And that's what we need -- a consensus candidate who makes a case for his (or maybe her) election in the fall.





|| Greg, 05:12 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 06, 2012

One More Reason To Despise The #Occupy Movement

Look what they did to one of your National Parks -- McPherson Square in Washington DC.

BEFORE:

mcp-500x281[1].jpg

AFTER:

mcpafter-500x281[1].jpg

With the partial eviction of Occupiers over the weekend, McPherson Square is no longer full to the point that the local community cannot enjoy it. Instead, it is a mud-bowl that no one can really enjoy. Occupiers managed to undo most of a $400,000 park renovation that was completed last year with stimulus funding.

But not to worry -- besides destroying the landscaping, benches, and much of the rest of the park AND desecrating the statue of the Civil War hero for whom the park is named, the Occupiers did introduce some new fauna into the park -- RATS.

mcphersonsquarerats.JPG

May I suggest that 99.99% of Americans are disgusted by the deeds of the Obama base?





|| Greg, 11:27 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

PoliPundit Sums Up Romney's Nevada Win

And mockingly echoes the language of the Gingrich true believers I've been encountering over on Twitter.

According to the ABC News entrance poll, he beat Gingrich among “very conservative” voters by a 2-1 margin. Those darn RINO squishes! They’re everywhere now.

Not that this negates my argument that we need someone from outside the current crop of candidates to be nominated in Tampa





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

When Bigotry Shows

Unfortunately, there will be no consequences for this showing of prejudice, any more than there were consequences for Jonathan Martin of Politico and Chuck Todd of MSNBC for referring to parts of Florida as "cracker counties".

Somehow I suspect that a reference to "President Negro" or "chocolate counties" would not be nearly so tolerated.





|| Greg, 06:17 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Watcher's Council Results

Without further ado, here are this week’s full results:

Council Winners



Non-Council Winners



See you next week!





|| Greg, 05:41 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Why We Need A Brokered/Open/Deadlocked Convention

Newt Gingrich's scorched earth campaign against Mitt Romney -- which is akin to what General Sherman did to Gingrich home state of Georgia during the Civil War -- appears to be having the intended effect. And in the mean time, the heavily despised Gingrich is still held in contempt by the overwhelming majority of Americans. That leaves us with the following situation.

Overall, 55 percent of those who are closely following the campaign say they disapprove of what the GOP candidates have been saying. By better than 2 to 1, Americans say the more they learn about Romney, the less they like him. Even among Republicans, as many offer negative as positive assessments of him on this question. Judgments about former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who denounced Romney on Saturday night in Nevada, are about 3 to 1 negative.

Rick Santorum (my personal favorite out of the last four standing) lacks the organization to win the nomination and Ron Paul lacks the sanity to to be elected president. We clearly need someone else to be the GOP standard-bearer in November -- and at this point the brokered convention/open convention/deadlocked convention is the only scenario available for getting such a nominee.

I therefore urge my fellow conservatives and other Republicans to vote in upcoming primaries and caucuses in such a manner as to make sure that no candidate has a majority of delegates on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in August, so that a consensus candidate can emerge from a later ballot as the standard-bearer of the GOP -- a candidate who excite4s America and is liked by America.





|| Greg, 05:36 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Obama's Hostage Crisis Takes A New Turn

The Obama-backed Islamist regime in Cairo has decided to put foreign poll watchers on trial -- including the son of a member of Obama's cabinet.

The son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is among 19 Americans being referred to criminal trial for allegedly receiving foreign funds illegally and being involved in banned activity in Egypt, several news agencies reported Sunday.

In all, Egyptian officials say 44 non-governmental organization workers will be put before the court after investigating judges claimed they had reason to try the democracy and rights workers.

Sam LaHood and 18 other Americans have taken refuge in the US Embassy in Cairo -- bur we learned in 1979 that the Muslim world does not respect the diplomatic immunity of an American Embassy -- and the rioting crowds of outraged Muslims that have attacked embassies over cartoons and other faux outrages in recent years show that we can expect no better today. Having worked to put this regime in power, will Obama stand up to the Egyptians? Or will he continue to mouth platitudes, send them money, and continue to follow a Carteresque policy in the Middle East?





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

February 05, 2012

A Great Super Bowl Ad Most Of America Didn't Get To See

Texas grocery chain HEB ran this commercial down here in Texas during the game.

Personally, I think it is up to any of these national ads that got praised.





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

The Wisdom Of Daniel Webster

My buddy Darren from Right on the Left Coast directs us to this fantastic quote from one of the great men of the era before the Civil War:

“Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”

Look at the current occupant of the White House. One can hate his policies but still concede that he means well. And yet meaning well is not enough -- because his policies are destructive of our liberties. We must rid ourselves of him.





|| Greg, 04:29 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 03, 2012

Did We Really get Good Economic News Today?

We got what looks like some good news on the economy today.

President Barack Obama Friday seized on an unexpected surge in job creation last month to pressure Congress to extend the payroll tax cut for more than 160 million Americans and keep the economy improving, warning lawmakers, “Don’t muck it up!”

The economy flexed its growing strength with the surprising addition of 243,000 jobs in January, cutting the unemployment rate to its lowest point in nearly three years — to 8.3 from 8.5 percent — and putting some wind in the president’s sails as he heads into his reelection campaign.

But if what of the additional 1.2 million people who have given up looking for work, and so are nut included in the unemployment rate? It is all well and good that there are these new jobs, but given the number of folks who have left the labor force out of despair and hopelessness can we really say that those new jobs have made a dent in the REAL unemployment rate? After all, 87.9 million Americans not even seeking work is not a good thing -- and that is about 28% of all Americans.

And then there are these questions, too.

If the economy is getting better, then why did new home sales in the United States hit a brand new all-time record low during 2011?

If the economy is getting better, then why are there 6 million less jobs in America today than there were before the recession started?

If the economy is getting better, then why is the average duration of unemployment in this country close to an all-time record high?

If the economy is getting better, then why has the number of homeless female veterans more than doubled?

If the economy is getting better, then why has the number of Americans on food stamps increased by 3 million since this time last year and by more than 14 million since Barack Obama entered the White House?

If the economy is getting better, then why has the number of children living in poverty in America risen for four years in a row?

If the economy is getting better, then why is the percentage of Americans living in "extreme poverty" at an all-time high?

If the economy is getting better, then why is the Federal Housing Administration on the verge of a financial collapse?

If the economy is getting better, then why do only 23 percent of American companies plan to hire more employees in 2012?

If the economy is getting better, then why has the number of self-employed Americans fallen by more than 2 million since 2006?

If the economy is getting better, then why did an all-time record low percentage of U.S. teens have a job last summer?

If the economy is getting better, then why does median household income keep declining? Overall, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% since December 2007 once you account for inflation.

If the economy is getting better, then why has the number of Americans living below the poverty line increased by 10 million since 2006?

If the economy is getting better, then why is the average age of a vehicle in America now sitting at an all-time high?

If the economy is getting better, then why are 18 percent of all homes in the state of Florida currently sitting vacant?

If the economy is getting better, then why are 19 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 living with their parents?

If the economy is getting better, then why does the number of "long-term unemployed workers" stay so high? When Barack Obama first took office, the number of "long-term unemployed workers" in the United States was approximately 2.6 million. Today, that number is sitting at 5.6 million.

Yes, we have seen some ephemeral good news about the economy -- but are we really looking at the right things?

UPDATE: Don Surber linked to some additional analysis.

From Zero Hedge:

“In January, the number of Part Time workers rose by 699K, the most ever, from 27,040K to 27,739K, the third highest number in the history of this series. How about Full time jobs? They went from 113,765 to 113,845. An 80K increase. So the epic January number of 141.6 million employed, which rose by 847K at the headline level: only about 10 % of that was full time jobs: surely an indicator of the resurgent US economy… in which employers can’t even afford to give their workers full time employee benefits.”

I am not that pessimistic. From little acorns, oak trees grow. But this also may reflect a reluctance to add full-time staff that gets you in Obamacare trouble. If Obamacare gets the Supreme Court Seal of Approval, look for employees to be replaced by private contractors throughout the USA to avoid an expensive mandate.

That said, Zero Hedge laid out the case in another post for putting the unemployment rate at a more realistic 11.5%. The participation rate has dropped to a 30-year low.

No, those numbers really aren't that rosy. And as one of his commenters points out, the U6 number is at 15.4%.





|| Greg, 04:06 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Can We Use Eric Holder's Line Against Barack Obama?

Probably not -- it would undoubtedly be declared RAAAAACIST!!!!!

Specifically, note Holder's comment that "maybe this is the way you do things in Idaho, or wherever you're from."

So we have our black Attorney General dismissing a Hispanic Congressman because he is of Puerto Rican ancestry. Odd that the media isn't making a big deal about this -- you know, like if someone were to say to Obama "maybe this is how you do things in Illinois, or wherever you're from." Guess that is just a part of the double standard.





|| Greg, 05:45 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (4) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Since The Dems Took Over Congress - January 3, 2007

From whom did Obama inherit the bad economy? Not from Bush, but from the Democrat-run Congress that he had been a part of for four years.

For those who are listening to the liberals propagating the fallacy that everything is “Bush’s Fault,” think about this:

January 3rd, 2007, the day the Democrats took over the Senate and the Congress:

  • The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77
  • The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5%
  • The Unemployment rate was 4.6%
  • George Bush’s Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB CREATION!

Remember that day…

January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee.

The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy?

BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!

THANK YOU DEMOCRATS (especially Barney) for taking us from 13,000 DOW, 3.5% GDP and 4.6% Unemployment…to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOES!

SO the next time you hear a Democrat talk about "the mess Obama inherited from Bush", be sure to remind them of what the economy looked like when the Democrats took power over the law-making and budget-writing power in 2007. Then remind them of how much damage was done by the Democrats (including Barack Obama) in the two years that followed -- damage that they used to make the case for electing Barack Obama. And now, after three years of Obama, has the situation improved? No, it has not -- the economic reality is worse in every single one of those categories thanks to Democrat policies.





|| Greg, 05:35 AM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 02, 2012

Racist Black Radio Host Insults Conservative Black Woman Seeking GOP Nomination For Congress

I first became aware of Charlotte Bergmann a bit over a year ago when she sought election o Congress as a Republican from a heavily black, heavily Democrat district. She seems like a good woman who wants to accomplish some good for her community.

She lost, but is seeking the nomination for the seat again. But it appears that racism may be a problem for her.

No not racism from white people – racism from influential blacks. Consider this video.

Matthews quickly became upset with Bergmann when she wouldn’t answer directly about any affiliation with the Tea Party. Then he launched into a 16-minute argument filled with curse words and accusations that added up to her being too close to whites and not really having the interest of the black community in mind. Eventually, Bergmann bowed out of the conversation, and that’s when Matthews really let her have it — not only did he accuse her of being a “token negro” for whites, but he also slipped in references about Martin Luther King and even refused to shake her hand because he was afraid her “whiteness” would rub off on him.

He doesn’t want the “whiteness” to rub off of this black woman and on to him.

The irony, of course, is that this is the congressman she is trying to unseat.

steve_cohen_hi_res[1].jpg

Yep – that is Congressman Steve Cohen. A white guy. I somehow doubt that Thaddeus Matthews would refuse to shake hands with the incumbent Democrat because of fear that the “whiteness” would rub off. Or maybe he would – maybe he has been a part of the racist and anti-Semitic attacks on Cohen by black “leaders” in the Memphis area.

And I’m sure that Matthews would have a conniption fit if someone were to express concern about the “blackness” rubbing off Barack Obama in various parts of the White House – he would rightly call it racist. Just like I rightly call the actions and words of Thaddeus Matthews towards Charlotte Bergmann to be racist.





|| Greg, 04:17 PM || Permalink || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Newt’s Sour Grapes Lead To Bitter Whine

Nothing says “sore loser” like this headline.

Report: Newt Gingrich to challenge Florida primary

This is Virginia all over again. Only after he fails does Newt demand that the rules be changed.

Do we really want such a man in the White House?





|| Greg, 04:14 PM || Permalink || Show Comments (1) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

February 01, 2012

Jesse Jackson Declares Dissent Dangerous, Not Patriotic

The race-baiting deadbeat baby-daddy used to think that "speaking truth to power" was the height of Americanism. But that was before Barry Hussein entered the White House. Now he thinks something very different.

MSNBC’s Martin Bashir and Jesse Jackson try to link President Obama’s political opponents to potential violence against him.

Jackson says Jan Brewer’s finger in Obama’s face and Rep. Allen West saying “get the hell out” of the country is “dangerous” and even links it to someone shooting an AK-47 rifle at the White House.

Jackson said “ignorance and hatred and violence is a certain pattern” that led to JFK and Martin Luther King Jr. being assassinated.

Got that -- you are a racist who wants the president dead if you criticize the current regime.

By the way -- I wonder what the not-so-Reverend Jackson has to say about folks who utter words like these?

Clearly a dangerous extremist who needs to be banned from the airwaves and shunned by all decent people as a threat to America.





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

Obama-Funded Islamist Regime Rejects US Effort To Gain Release Of American Hostages

Egypt is refusing to allow a group of American citizens -- including the son of a member of Obama's Cabinet -- to leave the country after working with an NGO to monitor Egypt's recent elections. Now the Islamist-controlled regime won't even accept diplomatic communication from the American government regarding the matter.

The Egyptian justice minister returned a letter Tuesday from the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt asking him to re-examine the issue of Americans barred from leaving the country.

The snub is the latest in a spat between the allies over a politically charged Egyptian investigation into foreign funded groups.

Egyptian security forces raided 17 offices of 10 pro-democracy and human rights groups last month then barred at least 10 foreigners, including six Americans, from leaving the country.

Among those stuck in Egypt is Sam LaHood, son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. On Monday, three of the Americans took refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

What does all of this mean? It means that the Egyptian government is telling the American government that its treatment of American citizens is not the business of the United States -- despite some $1.5 billion in US aid that the Islamist regime is set to receive from the US this year.

This ought to be front page news in every paper and a top story on every news broadcast. Why the relative media silence?





|| Greg, 05:39 AM || Permalink || Show Comments (3) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Romney Romps

Beating the combined totals of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

Mitt Romney rolled to victory in the Florida primary on Tuesday, dispatching an insurgent threat from Newt Gingrich and reclaiming his dominant position as he urged Republicans to rally behind his quest to capture the party’s presidential nomination.

The triumph by Mr. Romney offered a forceful response to the concerns that were raised about his candidacy only 10 days ago after a stinging loss to Mr. Gingrich in the South Carolina primary. It stripped Mr. Gingrich of his momentum and raised questions about his effort to persuade Republicans of his viability.

“A competitive primary does not divide us,” Mr. Romney told his cheering supporters. “It prepares us. And we will win.”

He urged Republicans to focus on defeating President Obama, declaring, “I stand ready to lead this party and to lead our nation.”

The vote tally shows Romney with 46.4% of the vote, Gingrich with 31.9%, Santorum with 13.4%, and Ron Paul with 7%. The next few stops (Nevada, Maine, Arizona, Michigan) are thought to be Romney strongholds, meaning that he is likely to continue to extend his lead in the delegate count.





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