Saturday, July 31, 2010

Shocked I tell you: Howard Zinn was a communist

Few things have irritated me more than the few insufferable times I have had to converse with a Howard Zinn devotee. I have sat there and been regaled with stories of how wonderful and pure the late so-called historian was, and how his magnum opus, A People's History of the United States, changed the person's outlook on life - blah, blah, blah.

Not that I am at all surprised, but it is now official that Howard Zinn wasn't just trying to heavy-handedly (and often incorrectly) point out our nation's foibles. He was trying to bring our nation down.

Howard Zinn's FBI file has been made public after a FOIA request was made, and it turns out that Zinn was a member of the Communist Party USA, which was funded and controlled by the Soviet government in Moscow. Not only was he a devoted member who attended meetings up to five times a week, but he was a devoted member at a time when it was very well known that the communists in Europe and China had exterminated millions of people simply for not wanting to live under communism. And Howard Zinn supported these bloodthirsty monsters.

I watched much of that piece-of-crap History Channel special, The People Speak, and I don't ever remember being informed about this part of Howard Zinn's background anytime during the show. It must have slipped their minds.

I know of so many teachers who just adore A People's History of the United States. If they continue to use or recommend that book in their classroom, then shame on them.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Will California learn its fiscal lessons?

I came across a wonderful article from the always impressive Steve Malanga of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal online magazine (see blogroll).

In Malanga's latest expose, he takes on the near-fatal damage that public sector employee unions have wrought in my late great state of California. Malanga takes on the big three: the public safety unions, the teachers union, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). You can read the article, but I will highlight what Malanga has to say about the teachers union, namely the California Teachers Association (CTA). I don't belong to this union, but they still take approximately $700 out of my paycheck every year.
Consider the California Teachers Association. Much of the CTA’s clout derives from the fact that, like all government unions, it can help elect the very politicians who negotiate and approve its members’ salaries and benefits. Soon after Proposition 13 became law, the union launched a coordinated statewide effort to support friendly candidates in school-board races, in which turnout is frequently low and special interests can have a disproportionate influence. In often bitter campaigns, union-backed candidates began sweeping out independent board members. By 1987, even conservative-leaning Orange County saw 83 percent of board seats up for grabs going to union-backed candidates. The resulting change in school-board composition made the boards close allies of the CTA.

But with union dues somewhere north of $1,000 per member and 340,000 members, the CTA can afford to be a player not just in local elections but in Sacramento, too (and in Washington, for that matter, where it’s the National Education Association’s most powerful affiliate)...

he rise of the white-collar CTA provides a good example of a fundamental political shift that took place everywhere in the labor movement. In the aftermath of World War II, at the height of its influence, organized labor was dominated by private workers; as a result, union members were often culturally conservative and economically pro-growth. But as government workers have come to dominate the movement, it has moved left. By the mid-nineties, the CTA was supporting causes well beyond its purview as a collective bargaining agent for teachers. In 1994, for instance, it opposed an initiative that prohibited illegal immigrants from using state government programs and another that banned the state from recognizing gay marriages performed elsewhere. Some union members began to complain that their dues were helping to advance a political agenda that they disagreed with. “They take our money and spend it as they see fit,” says Larry Sand, founder of the California Teachers Empowerment Network, an organization of teachers and former teachers opposed to the CTA’s noneducational politicking...
In the name of full disclosure, I am a member of the California Teachers Empowerment Network (CTEN - see blogroll), and I am glad to see my colleague, Larry Sand, quoted in this important article.

Mr. Malanga goes on about the role of the CTA in my state's current financial woes:
The second budget-busting deal of the Davis era was the work of the teachers’ union. In 2000, the CTA began lobbying to have a chunk of the state’s budget surplus devoted to education. In a massive rally in Sacramento, thousands of teachers gathered on the steps of the capitol, some chanting for TV cameras, “We want money! We want money!” Behind the scenes, Davis kept up running negotiations with the union over just how big the pot should be. “While you were on your way to Sacramento, I was driving there the evening of May 7, and the governor and I talked three times on my cell phone,” CTA president Wayne Johnson later boasted to members. “The first call was just general conversation. The second call, he had an offer of $1.2 billion. . . . On the third call, he upped the ante to $1.5 billion.” Finally, in meetings, both sides agreed on $1.84 billion. As Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters later observed, that deal didn’t merely help blow the state’s surplus; it also locked in higher baseline spending for education. The result: “When revenues returned to normal, the state faced a deficit that eventually not only cost Davis his governorship in 2003 but has plagued his successor, Arnold Schwarzenegger...”
I again urge you to read the rest of this important article. Even if you don't live in California, it serves as a cold reminder of what can easily happen in your state if you let your legislature become the pawns of the public sector unions, and it also serves to remind us what has happened to our federal legislature as well.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Friday, July 30, 2010

Who knew? Obama and the KKK agree.

President Obama entered the lion's den of a TV talk show known as The View. Boy did they hit him with some brutal questions. Yeah, right.

Even in this friendly territory, Obama nevertheless managed to say something stupid. This from The Hill:
President Obama waded into the national race debate in an unlikely setting and with an unusual choice of words: telling daytime talk show hosts that African-Americans are 'sort of a mongrel people...'

When asked about his background, which includes a black father and white mother, Obama said of African-Americans: "We are sort of a mongrel people."

"I mean we're all kinds of mixed up," Obama said. "That's actually true of white people as well, but we just know more about it."
That's a lovely choice of a word, Mr. President. Say, I know someone else who referred to black Americans as "mongrels." He was a politician just like you, and as a matter of fact, in a recent post of mine, I brought up his quote:
In 1945, Byrd wrote a letter to segregationist Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo, in which he complained about the impending desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces. Byrd vowed that he would, "never submit to fight beneath that banner (the American flag) with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."
That of course was former member of the Ku Klux Klan, the late Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia.

For being such a supposedly brilliant orator, Barack Obama can't seem to speak spontaneously without sticking his foot in his mouth. Hey, let's have some fun. Let's imagine what would happen in the news cycle if a conservative/Tea Party member/Republican called black Americans "mongrels."

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

A must read article

During my layover in Denver on my way home from Georgia, I bought the latest issue of the conservative magazine American Spectator, so I would have something to read on the way home. There was an article in there that kept me so fascinated, I didn't even look out the window the whole time which is what I usually do.

Upon getting home and checking the news, it turns out that this article is creating quite a buzz in the conservative blogosphere.

The article is entitled America's Ruling Class - And the Perils of Revolution by Angelo Codevilla.

I won't lie to you, it is a long article. But it is one of the most cogent and important articles I have read in years. You need to carve out a chunk of time to click on the link I have provided, and read this article. I will post just the highlighted excerpts from the article that serve as breaks in the text to give you an idea of the power of Codevilla's words:
For the foreseeable future, American politics will consist of confrontation between what we might call the Country Party and the ruling class...

Differences between Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are of degree, not kind...

The American people's realization of being ruled like Europeans shocked this country into well nigh revolutionary attitudes. But only the realization was new. The ruling class had sunk deep roots in America over decades before 2008...

Like a fraternity, this [ruling] class requires above all comity - being in with the right people, giving the required signs that one is on the right side, and joining in despising the Outs...

[Woodrow] Wilson was the first American statesman to argue that the Founders had done badly by depriving the U.S. government of the power to reshape American society...

The Progressives found it fulfilling to attribute the failure of their schemes to the American people's backwardness, to something deeply wrong with America...

By taxing and parceling out more than a third of what Americans produce, through regulations that reach deep into American life, our ruling class is making itself the arbiter of wealth and poverty...

The government empowers the persons it has chosen over those not chosen, deems them the sector's true representatives, and rewards them. They become part of the ruling class...

Oliver Wendell Holmes argued that presidents, Congresses, and judges could not be bound by the U.S. Constitution regarding matters that the people who wrote and ratified it could not have foreseen...

At stake are the most important questions: What is the right way for human beings to live? By what standard is anything true or good? Who gets to decide what..?

The country class view is that government owes to it people equal treatment rather than action to correct any perceived imbalance or grievance...
Please, please take the time to read and take in this article. It is well worth your time.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

How y'all doin'?

I am finally back from my trip to the South! I hadn't been to that region of the country since the summer and fall of 1993, when I went through basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. While the heat and humidity were the same, this time I was able to see a lot more of the south beyond the confines of the immediate area surrounding an army post like Fort Jackson.

On this trip, I spent time in three states: Georgia, Alabama, and Florida - all three I had never been to before until now. In all three cases, I was introduced to a way of life and a climate that made me feel at times like I was in a foreign country.

First, let us speak of the climate. Being born and raised in California, I live on the westward side of the country where the jet stream brings fresh cool air in from the Pacific Ocean. By the time that air travels across the country and makes it to the eastern half of the country, the air is not so cool and fresh anymore. Couple that with the lower latitudes of the American South, and you are confronted with the feeling that a warm, wet blanket has been draped over you as soon as you walk out the door. The panhandle of Florida was the worst in this regard. There were moments I stepped outside, and it felt almost like when I step out of a hot shower when the bathroom door has been closed the whole time, only hotter.

The Army buddy I was visiting - Rick is his name - lives with his family in Columbus, Georgia. Since Columbus is right across the Chatahoochee River from Phenix City, Alabama, it was no problem to cross from the Peach State into the Heart of Dixie and be able to say I have been in that state too. I saw a lot more of Alabama the day after my arrival when we drove the 3+ hours down to Panama City, Florida to swim in the Gulf of Mexico and spend the night in this tourist town and beach resort known affectionately as the "Redneck Riviera."

When I have swam in the ocean in the past, it has been the Pacific on the California coast, where even in San Diego, your breath is momentarily taken away when you go under the water. Not so with the Gulf of Mexico. I felt like I was in my mother-in-law's solar heated swimming pool here in Sacramento. There was a tropical depression further south in the Gulf, which was producing 4-foot swells on the surf at Panama City. Otherwise, Rick told me that he has been there when there were little to no waves at all. One thing that I saw none of was oil from the BP leak. So far, beaches in Louisiana and Mississippi have taken the brunt, with not much finding the Florida panhandle up to this point.

Here is my view of the beach:

Upon our return to Columbus, Rick and I visited two extraordinary museums: the National Infantry Museum just outside the gates of nearby Fort Benning, and the National Civil War Naval Museum located in Columbus.

The Infantry museum is absolutely amazing, and free, with quality dioramas and artifacts on display from all countries in all wars - cold and hot - in which the United States has ever been engaged. The one bummer is that the displays for all wars prior to the Spanish-American War are not yet open due to lack of funding. A docent told me that they have warehouses full of artifacts from the time of Jamestown through the Indian Wars of the late 19th century, but they don't have the money for the glass encasements needed to display everything. If you want to find out more about the National Infantry Museum and perhaps donate to them to help get those displays open, you can check out their quality website. Meanwhile, here is a smattering of images that caught my eye. The quality could have been better, but no flash photography was allowed:

This is an actual message written in the field by an American officer on November 11, 1918 alerting his underlings that a cease fire is forthcoming, but fighting needs to continue unabated until 11am. Absolutely fascinating to look at.

A German field-grade officer's coat from World War II.

Uniform of a German enlisted infantryman from World War I.

American officer's uniform from era of Mexican-American War in the 1840s.

Diorama of a famous American bayonet charge during the Korean War.

This is actually not part of the museum. We went onto Fort Benning and checked out the grounds of the famous Airborne School. Those jump towers were featured in the background during an important scene in the movie We Were Soldiers, with Mel Gibson.

The National Civil War Naval Museum addresses one of the oft-overlooked aspects of the War for Southern Independence: the battles that took place in the oceans, bays, and rivers between the mismatched navies of the Union and the Confederacy. Most people have heard of the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack (Virginia), but that is about it. Visiting this museum reminds you that there was so much more.

The most impressive display is the keel and ruins up the waterline of a Confederate ironclad that was burned and set adrift on the Chattahoochee River right at the end of the war. The burning ship drifted down the river for two weeks before finally sinking. The wreckage was eventually found and raised from the bottom of the river. Above the ruins is a metal skeleton that gives the viewer and idea of what the entire ship looked like and especially, how friggin' huge this ship was. I tried to take a picture of the ship, but only seeing the ruins in person will do it justice:

The one bummer about my trip is that I spent so much time at these museums (especially at the Infantry Museum), that we ran out of time and I wasn't able to make it to the infamous Civil War prison camp at Andersonville. Oh well, maybe next time.

I will end this post with my list of unique features and customs of the South, in no particular order:
  • The freeways and highways always seem as if they were carved out of the endless thick forests of pine and deciduous trees. Mile after mile, you drive in a shallow vegetative canyon, with impenetrable forest on both sides of you.
  • In Alabama, you can't go a few miles down a highway without seeing a roadside stand selling boiled peanuts.
  • When you sit down at a restaurant, one of the first things the waitress asks your group is whether you want separate checks or a single check. Everywhere I go in California, separate checks are usually not even an option.
  • The standard drink that people get in restaurants is sweet tea (pronounced quickly as "swee-tee"). Southerners are horrified that elsewhere, people (myself included) drink our tea unsweetened.
  • Southerners love to eat fried food and barbecue, and lots of it.
  • I didn't see nearly as many Starbucks in the South as I do in the West.
  • Total strangers call each other by pet names. My friend Rick always called the waitresses "sweetie." The nice black lady who served us at Dunkin' Donuts, upon being thanked by us for her service, replied, "You're welcome, baby," only it sounded more like, "Yo welcome bay-bee." Don't worry you hair-trigger people out there, I only point out the lady's race to set the scene. I'm sure white ladies working at Dunkin' Donuts say the same thing at times.
  • The heat and humidity down there is simply otherworldly.
  • The fast food restaurant, Carl's Jr. in the west, is known as Hardee's back east. The smiling star logo is the same, but the name is different.
  • If you go outside on a summer night, you can stand there in the soft heat and humidity and listen to the cicadas and the thunder while watching repeated flashes of lightning illuminate the sky. That was one of my favorite parts of my trip.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Time for Adventure #4

First, we went to Oregon for a week. Then we went to Tahoe for a week. Then, we went to my parents' for a long weekend. Now I - yes, I - am going on my next adventure alone.

Tonight, I am catching a red eye flight to Atlanta, Georgia. Wheels-up out of Sacramento will be at 2235 (that's 10:35pm to you civilians), and then I will land at ATL at 0606. I am already starting to fall back into using military nomenclature because I am flying to Georgia to visit a buddy of mine from my days in the active-duty Army.

He and I were in the same unit in Germany, and then when our two-year tours in Germany were finished, we both happened to be sent to Fort Lewis, Washington. We were in different units there, but it was only a five minute drive across the post to get to his barracks and vice-versa.

We have kept in touch over the years with phone calls and Facebook, but this will be the first time I have seen him in 14 years!

He lives in Columbus, Georgia, which is right on the state line with Alabama. The big items on the itinerary this weekend will be to visit Stone Mountain, the Infantry Museum at nearby Fort Benning, and the infamous Civil War prison camp at Andersonville. I will take many pictures of course, and will be posting the best ones here.

Until then, keep your powder dry. Hooah!

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What a view!

I haven't blogged much this week, as I took my children with me to visit my parents. Mommy stayed behind to work on a project and take a much-deserved break.

My parents live near a little mountain town called Burney, which is located in the forested volcanic flatlands of northeastern California, right in between the cascade volcanoes of Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen.

Burney is located in a large bowl which is ringed by mountains that separate the town from the northern end of California's Central Valley where the city of Redding is located. On your way out of town on the way to Redding used to be the sight of a beautiful ridgeline called Hatchet Ridge, complete with lots of forested goodness.

No more.

As you can plainly see from these photos I took, the ridge is now polluted with the sight of over a dozen 420-foot wind turbines. Construction is still underway on these turbines. Ultimately, there will be 44 of them dominating 6-and-a-half miles of skyline, and they will take up about 3,000 acres of forestland.

Much has been made about the "green" energy produced by wind turbines. It is true that when the propellers are spinning, no emissions are produced. However, all is not well in the land of wind-produced energy. There are certain aspects of wind turbines that are not trumpeted by people who champion their use.

According to author Eric Rosenbloom, a wind turbine the size of the ones being put into place on Hatchet Ridge can take up over an acre of vertical area when the 140-foot propellers are spinning. For environmentalists who are always so concerned about wildlife, that is approximately 44 acres of a deadly obstacle course of propellors spinning in excess of 100mph that must be negotiated by the local menagerie of creatures that fly - both birds and bats. The wind industry acknowledges that the massacre of flying creatures is a big problem wherever wind farms are located.

There are other problems associated with wind turbines that make them not as "green" as most people think, and I saw some of these issues with my own eyes. On a forested, hilly location like Hatchet Ridge, large roads must be cut into the mountainside in order to make it possible to move these monstrous machines (and the crane that will be required to erect them) into position along the almost 7-mile-long location where the turbines will be placed. Acres of forest will have to be cleared (and remain cleared) around each of these 44 turbines. This is rather ironic seeing as how that entire area was reforested after a devastating forest fire tore through that same area in 1992.

For the residents of Burney, there will always be the issue of visual blight. From downtown, the turbines are clearly visible, and they are ugly. Hundreds of the town's residents signed a petition saying that very thing. At night, there will also be the glow of dozens of red blinking lights that will be necessary to keep low flying aircraft from crashing into them.

For anyone who pooh-poohs the visual impact of these monstrosities, never forget the reaction of the late Ted Kennedy and his clan when they found out that a wind farm was going to be installed on the Massachusetts coast within sight of their living area. Ted Kennedy, a major proponent of wind power and other forms of "green" energy fought as hard as he could to stop the proposed wind farm from being built. Humorously enough, the wind farm was approved only after Kennedy died and was no longer around to oppose it. Visual blight was perfectly acceptable to force upon the peasants, but when it came to the Kennedys' back yard, they demonstrated through their actions just how unpleasant a sight these wind turbines truly are. From what I understand, they are also quite noisy, and they can produce a highly annoying flicker when the sun is setting behind them. Since Burney faces west toward Hatchet Ridge, this is another potential issue on the horizon... so to speak.

What does Burney get out of all this? A promise of a few million dollars in community improvements, to be paid by Shasta County and the company that is installing the turbines. However, judging by comments in the Record-Searchlight article that talks about this appeasement money, it appears that the residents of Burney are going to have to fight every step of the way to ensure that the money is spent specifically on the community of Burney (population 3,000+) and not on Shasta County in general, with the county being dominated by the city of Redding (population 100,000+). As an interesting aside, no power from the $200+ million-dollar project is guaranteed to specifically feed into the Burney area. I spoke to Dylan Darling, who is the environmental reporter for the Redding Record-Searchlight. He confirmed for me that any power produced from the wind turbines on Hatchet Ridge will go into the general power grid for the state of California. The rest of the state will benefit from any power produced, but in the end, it will be the residents of Burney who have to gaze upon these dozens of 420-foot towers every day.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

"I don't worry about the Constitution on this, to be honest..."

This video is about three months old, but it is too sweet not to post. Meet Democrat Representative Phil Hare, a congresscritter from Illinois. At the end of a town hall meeting, Rep. Hare was taking more Q&A about Obama's Health Care Deform Bill from some constituents and did a thorough job of making an ass of himself.

Not only does he not care about following the Constitution, even though he took an oath to uphold it, he doesn't even know (or care that he doesn't know) the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Blogger Adam Sharp did a wonderful job of keeping the pressure on this poor excuse for a public official, and has a great line at the end of the video as Congresscritter Hare makes a run for it in his SUV:

Not surprisingly, Congresscritter Hare currently trails his Republican challenger by 13 points in the latest poll.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bolting away from the tax man

With two of my biggest interests being the sport of Track and Field and politics, the following post is a dream-come-true for me to write.

In the simplistic world of your typical statist, the theory of taxation is easy: The more government taxes us, the more government gets.

In reality, however, the act of taxation can affect people's behavior in ways that tax rates that are too high can actually lead to a decline in the amount of tax revenue coming in to government's coffers. Economist Arthur Laffer made this all too clear with his famous Laffer Curve, which statists, in their smug ignorance, continue to mock.

A real-world example of this concept comes to us from Jamaican 100 meter world record holder Usain Bolt on one side, and the kleptocratic government of Great Britain on the other.

British politicians got the hare-brained idea that they should tax the hell out of foreign athletes competing on British soil. Any money won in competition is to be taxed at a rate of 50%. If that is not bad enough, the tax law also demands a significant cut of any sponsorship income.

British sports organizers want to organize a head-to-head competition between Usain Bolt, and other world-class sprinters, including Tyson Gay of the United States, and fellow Jamaican, Asafa Powell. Will the competition happen? If it does, it will most likely not include Usain Bolt, and I can't say I blame him. I will let an article from the London Telegraph explain the rest:
Unless the tax rules are relaxed, athletics administrators fear British fans will be denied the chance to see the sport's biggest star in action again until he returns to the capital in two years' time to defend his Olympic titles.

"I wouldn't be optimistic about seeing Bolt compete on British soil this year and there is a strong chance he won't be back until 2012," said an insider close to the negotiations with the Jamaican.
In just this one small example, think of how much revenue the British government will lose as a result of Usain Bolt not competing, whereas if he was taxed at a smaller rate, the revenue would be something, rather than nothing. Again, this is just one man we are talking about. The article goes on to say that this confiscatory tax is pushing away athletes in other sports such as golf and tennis.

Remember Chief Justice John Marshall's famous words: "The power to tax is the power to destroy." This is a lesson that needs to be learned on both sides of the Pond.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

And then al-Qaeda REALLY did something to tick off our President

According to our Dear Leader, the terror, mass murder, bombings, beheadings, torture, hijackings, intimidation, oppression, and calls to violence are not the only crimes that the members of al-Qaeda are guilty of perpetrating. Oh no, my friends, there is another horrid crime to add to this list of atrocities: apparently, al-Qaeda is racist.

Here is exactly what Obama said:
What you've seen in some of the statements that have been made by these terrorist organizations is that they do not regard African life as valuable in and of itself. They see it as a potential place where you can carry out ideological battles that kill innocents without regard to long-term consequences for their short-term tactical gains."
To further explain what Obama meant by this statement, a person who ABC News describes as a "senior administration official" had this helpful clarification:
"Additionally, U.S. intelligence has indicated that al Qaeda leadership specifically targets and recruits black Africans to become suicide bombers because they believe that poor economic and social conditions make them more susceptible to recruitment than Arabs," the official said. "Al Qaeda recruits have said that al Qaeda is racist against black members from West Africa because they are only used in lower level operations."

"In short," the official said, "al Qaeda is a racist organization that treats black Africans like cannon fodder and does not value human life."

Seriously? I mean, seriously? So, apparently, it seems that not only does al-Qaeda not value the lives of black Africans (they value life at all?), there are also not enough black Africans in high-level leadership positions within the al-Qaeda organization. This is something about which we should actually worry? I am dead frickin' serious here, people. According to the Obama adminstration's own words, one of al-Qaeda's faults is that they don't have affirmative action for black Africans within their organization! I'm not making this up! Re-read the quotes of Obama and his senior administration official!

I guess Obama figures that if al-Qaeda is going to do this kind of work, then they might as well do it right; and that means following the American Left's passion for equality of result in the workplace. Apparently, whatever percentage of al-Qaeda is black African, then that same percentage should be reflected in the number of high-level leadership positions within the organization.

I am literally shaking my head with astonishment and indignation as I write these words. Just when I thought that Obama and his administration couldn't be any more incompetent, they prove me totally wrong.

We can't vote this joker out until 2012. The least we can do is stonewall his ability to sign legislation by taking away a Congress that is in his corner. Election day is about 3-and-a-half months from now, folks.

Remember in November.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

One question: Has this guy given up his A/C?

Last Sunday, I read a column in the Washington Post by one Stan Cox. Mr. Cox thinks that in the name of the environment, we should get rid of air conditioning. Yes, the largest, most influential newspaper in our nation's capital city actually gave several inches of column space to this nonsense.

I laughed it off on Sunday, but half a week later, I am still hearing people talk about it, and I am still finding discussions of it on the Internet.

First, Mr. Cox makes the predictable appeal to ditch air conditioning as a way of saving the planet from us evil humans. The science is settled dontcha know?
In a country that's among the world's highest greenhouse-gas emitters, air conditioning is one of the worst power-guzzlers. The energy required to air-condition American homes and retail spaces has doubled since the early 1990s. Turning buildings into refrigerators burns fossil fuels, which emits greenhouse gases, which raises global temperatures, which creates a need for -- you guessed it -- more air-conditioning...
There is the matter of that pesky sun raising global temperatures more consistently than man-produced particles in the air, but that is another topic for another day.

If an appeal to your inner-greenie doesn't work, Mr. Cox then makes the case that a world without air conditioning would give us an excuse to be more lazy!
In a world without air conditioning, a warmer, more flexible, more relaxed workplace helps make summer a time to slow down again. Three-digit temperatures prompt siestas. Code-orange days mean offices are closed. Shorter summer business hours and month-long closings -- common in pre-air-conditioned America -- return...
No thanks. Don't forget that one person's workplace is another person's convenience. Lots of people work in the mall, but when I go there as a customer, I want the mall to feel like a frickin' meat locker when I walk in from 105-degrees on a typical Sacramento summer day. I also don't want the mall to be closed for a month during the hottest months of the year; as a teacher, that's when I am most available to do my shopping and browsing!

If Cox's laziness argument doesn't work for you, how about the lack of A/C causing our Congresscritters to shelve their kleptocratic ways and flee the heat and humidity of a D.C. summer?
Best of all, Washington's biggest business -- government -- is transformed. In 1978, 50 years after air conditioning was installed in Congress, New York Times columnist Russell Baker noted that, pre-A.C., Congress was forced to adjourn to avoid Washington's torturous summers, and "the nation enjoyed a respite from the promulgation of more laws, the depredations of lobbyists, the hatching of new schemes for Federal expansion and, of course, the cost of maintaining a government running at full blast."

Post-A.C., Congress again adjourns for the summer, giving "tea partiers" the smaller government they seek. During unseasonably warm spring and fall days, hearings are held under canopies on the Capitol lawn. What better way to foster open government and prompt politicians to focus on climate change?
That's it, do it for the TEA Party! And there he goes again with that man-caused climate change nonsense. One problem. Do you honestly think that those elitist scum on Capitol Hill would actually give up their air conditioning? C'mon, those A/C rules would be for the peasants, not the exhalted national legislature. I can hear the arguments already: The work of Congress is far too important to be delayed on account of heat and humidity. We must have Air Conditioning in the workplaces of our Representative and Senators so that they may continue to do the people's business unabated.

The members of Congress who bleat about how human activity causes climate change are often the same ones who tool around in their greenhouse gas-spewing private (public) jets that are funded by Joe Taxpayer, *cough* Nancy Pelosi *cough*, so scratch that argument.

There are still plenty of people who are old enough to remember a world without air conditioning, at least where they lived. Heck, I grew up without it growing up in the 1980s in northwestern California. Luckily, I lived in a place where it was never too hot for that long, the humidity wasn't so bad, and I could often jump into a creek during the summer. Of course, I was a kid; adults don't always have that kind of flexibility with their schedule. I'm sure you would get some interesting stories from people who grew up back east where the heat and humidity are on a scale that is unimaginable to people on the west coast who have never had the opportunity to experience a summer east of the Mississippi.

I spent June through September in South Carolina going through Army Basic Training. Do you know what one of my few pleasures was during that time? The air conditioning in my barracks when I slept at night. I don't know what I would have done without it.

It seems to me that Mr. Cox wants to take the human race back to the time we lived in caves. Hey, at least the temperature in caves tends to be cool. So, enjoy your cave Mr. Cox. I am going to leave my thermostat at 78.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

It's official - the NAACP says the TEA Party movement is racist. Talk about the pot calling the kettle... er

Today, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) decided at their annual convention being held in Kansas City, Missouri, that the primary motivation for the TEA Party's opposition to President Obama's political agenda is racism.

I could give you more details about what was said and written about this by the attendees at this convention, but according to Michelle Malkin, who was watching the proceedings online, the NAACP shut down the webcast when the subject of the anti-TEA Party resolution began to be discussed.

What I do know is that according to CBS News, the president of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, said that the TEA Party movement needs to,
be responsible members of this democracy and make sure they don't tolerate bigots or bigotry among their members.
That's pretty hilarious coming from the president of an organization that seems to have no problem with one of their regional directors referring to black people who support the TEA Party movement as "Uncle Toms," and especially "Uncle Toms" like one Kenneth Gladney, who was beaten by SEIU thugs and was later - horror of horrors - kissed on the head by a "European" in a show of support for his plight.

I am also waiting for the NAACP to condemn the actions of King Samir Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party, who stood outside a Philadelphia polling place on Election Day 2008 wearing a paramilitary uniform and armed with a billy club as he intimidated potential voters with comments that included, "Prepare to be ruled by the black man, cracker!" A new video has come to light showing this same King Samir Shabazz on a Philadelphia street corner during a street festival yelling that he hates white people and that black people should start killing "Crackers" and even worse, "some of their babies." That is a true example of racism and calls for racist violence. Where are you NAACP? I don't think King Samir Shabazz is doing a great job promoting the "...ACP" part of the name of your organization.

Where the NAACP and its president, Mr. Jealous, really fly off the rails is their use of the faux incident on March 20, 2010 in Washington D.C. where TEA Partiers supposedly yelled racial epithets at black congresscritters in Washington D.C. on the day the Health Care Deform Bill was passed. Andrew Breitbart's offer of $100,000 still stands for anyone who can produce video or audio proof of these allegations. Four months later, Breitbart's money is still safe. Even though there were media all over the place just waiting for something to use against the TEA Partiers, along private cameras rolling all over the place (including two being carried by Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. as he swaggered through the crowd), there is not one iota of evidence that anything was yelled at those congresscritters except, "Kill the Bill! Kill the Bill!" For the NAACP to continue to use this slanderous lie as an excuse to paint the TEA Party as racist is beyond the pale... so to speak.

TEA Partiers are not taking this slanderous sludge from the NAACP lying down. In a preemptive move, the TEA Party of St. Louis, Missouri drafted their own resolution and sent it to the NAACP's national office in Washington D.C. Read and enjoy:

St. Louis Tea Party Coalition Resolution

July 12, 2010

Whereas, the National Coalition for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded to advance the position of minority groups, and

Whereas a hallmark of the NAACP has been to do the important work of identifying and exposing remaining vestiges of racism and discrimination, and

Whereas the NAACP vocally stands against the discriminatory and harmful practice of labeling people with a broad brush, and

Whereas the NAACP decided to launch their 101st National Convention with a resolution condemning the Tea Party movement and labeling millions of their fellow Americans who subscribe to the movement as "racists", and

Whereas the "Tea Party movement" is a label applied to patriotic Americans who have expressed their political free speech in the grand tradition of all that is American, that being the spirited expression of viewpoints in a 100% peaceful manner, and

Whereas, it is a hallmark of America that we settle our disputes civilly and avoid the gutter tactic of attempting to silence opponents by inflammatory name-calling, and

Whereas the very term "racist" has diminished meaning due to its overuse by political partisans including members of the NAACP, and

Whereas, the NAACP had an opportunity to preserve some semblance of legitimacy by standing up for Ken Gladney, the victim of a vicious racist battery conducted by a black avowed communist, even labeling him an "Uncle Tom", but chose instead to use the opportunity to mock the St. Louis Tea Party, and

Whereas, the NAACP has refused to denounce the New Black Panther's call to murder white cops and their babies, and

Whereas, the NAACP does its entire membership a grave disservice by hypocritically engaging in the very conduct it purports to oppose,

Now therefore be it resolved that the St. Louis Tea Party condemns the NAACP for lowering itself to the dishonorable position of a partisan political attack dog organization, and,

Be it further resolved that the St. Louis Tea Party calls on similar organizations to join in unanimous condemnation of this despicable behavior, and

Be it further resolved that we demand that the NAACP withdrawal their bigoted, false and inflammatory resolution against the tea party for any further consideration, and

Be it further resolved that these organizations call on the Internal Revenue Service to evenly apply their standards and consider the tax-exempt status of the NAACP considering the degree to which they are engaging in habitual partisan political behavior.

Adopted unanimously, this day, July 12th, in the year of our Lord, 2010.

Major kudos to the St. Louis TEA Party! This is exactly what needs to be done: put it right back in the opposition's corner. Don't cower in fear by being insulted by devious, slanderous people like this. Instead, wear the insults as a badge of honor.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Don't worry, it happens at my school all the time

Out of New York City comes the story of 21 year-old Tatiana Reina. It seems Tatiana had herself a good ol' time attending high school, as it took her 6 years to complete it, with an academic record that, in the words of the New York Post, included, "a dismal record marked by truancy and failing grades." Not to worry though, Tatiana's principal made sure that she still received a diploma, after she allegedly pressured Tatiana's teachers to inflate her grades to ones that barely managed to squeak her through.

What does Tatiana think about all this? The last line from the article pretty much sums things up:
Asked about her atrocious attendance, she explained, "There wasn't no problem. I just didn't go."
This article caught my interest, because my fellow teachers and I see this academic atrocity every stinking year at the middle school at which I teach. I have taught more students than I wish to count whose GPA was either 0.00 or something just above it, yet they are passed on to the next grade for the next school year. I have taught 8th graders who received a grade of F in every one of their classes during every trimester, and they still moved on to high school. The worst thing that happens to these failing 8th graders is that they don't get to participate in any end-of-the-year activities such as walking in graduation or attending dances and trips. Big whoop - they still get to go to high school the next school year. Unlike this school in Brooklyn that passed on Tatiana, at least the high school into which my middle school students are fed actually still - presumably - has specific standards that prevents a student like Tatiana from graduating.

Even when a parent wants her child to repeat a grade at my school, it doesn't happen. I will never forget a couple of years ago, when during the first week of school, I called the mother of one of my 7th grade students who was already exhibiting behavioral issues in class. When the mother answered the phone, I did the standard teacher phone introduction: "Hello Ms. So-and-So, I am your son's 7th grade history teacher." There was an uncomfortable silence, and then the mother said, "I'm sorry, did you say '7th grade'?" I confirmed this, and the mother proceeded to unload on me about how she had called my principal and the school counselor back in June, and demanded that her son repeat the 6th grade because he had failed just about every subject during the previous school year. Yet, that student was still passed on to the next grade, even after the student's own mother had asked that he not be.

What really disheartens me and the other teachers at my site is that our students know all about this charade being carried on in my school district. They know that they can goof around, not do any work at all, and they will still be passed to the next grade. They even tell us teachers that they know this. Unless a student has a conscientious parent at home who demands that the student do what is required in school, then there is little other incentive to get the student to perform. Due to budget cuts, our sports program was done away with two years ago, so incentive to keep grades up to play has been removed. On the other hand, that never seemed to be a big motivator for many students, even if they loved to play sports. I remember one 7th grader I taught who was convinced he would be going to the NBA. The fact that he was never academically eligible to even play basketball at the middle school level didn't seem to faze him.

What do you do when nothing works anymore? Even showing a movie, which used to get the interest of my generation, seems to be blase' to this generation. There seems to be little that inspires, that motivates, that lights an intellectual fire which will get these students to want to learn much of anything. For too many, even the prospect of failing high school doesn't seem to bother them.

The list of reforms that must be made is a large one, but for starters, perhaps society's safety net, which was turned into a hammock about 45 to 50 years ago, needs to be reverted back to a simple safety net again. From what I see, I don't see much urgency of economic survival in the attitudes and actions of many of my students. I certainly don't see that from Tatiana Reina. That needs to change.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Michelle Obama: Do as I say, not as I do

My hat is off to Jake Tapper of ABC News for this enlightening story:

Since Barack is so busy with his golf game, he sent his wife, Michelle, to the Gulf of Mexico region in his stead. During a speech she gave, Michelle Obama urged us peasants to vacation along the Gulf of Mexico:
It is vacation time. Folks are looking for things to do with their kids, and this would be a great opportunity to do a few things -- help this community, send a different message about the extent of the spill, and also think long term about how the rest of the country can help this economy and the folks down here,” Mrs. Obama said at the Panama City Welcome Center.

Mrs. Obama said the word needs to get out to Americans that there are “beautiful beaches” along the Gulf Coast and it’s a great time for families to come down with their kids.
Now, it just so happens that the Obamas are going on a vacation themselves over this coming weekend. Where are they going?
The Obama family will be taking a mini-vacation of their own this weekend, but instead of going to the Gulf Coast they are traveling to Maine’s Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park.
President Obama famously said that he "will not rest" until this oil debacle in the Gulf is solved. If he is going to go back on that promise by resting after all - as he already has on numerous occasions - the least he could do would be to set an example and spend his weekend on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Good leadership there, President Obama!

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Monday, July 12, 2010

California Attorney General/former Governor calls me a "Teabagger"

I gotta tell you, these Democrat/Statist politicians are finding it more and more difficult to conceal their contempt and hatred for those with whom they disagree. It's one thing if they are private citizens, but it's quite another when they are blatantly insulting people from my side of the political aisle while at the same time being paid with my hard-earned tax dollars.

After running the state of California into the ground 30 years ago as a two-term Governor, current California Attorney General Jerry Brown now wants a third opportunity to finish the destruction he started. And anyone who doesn't want that to happen gets called a vulgar sexual insult by the Attorney General/gubernatorial candidate from California:

Let's not sugar coat this shall we? For the record Mr. Brown, contrary to your assertion, never in my life have I accepted a man's testicles into my mouth, as you imply, and I don't ever plan on doing so. And judging how easily and absent-mindedly your insult rolled off your forked tongue, I get the impression you freely use this term quite often in your everyday dealings. Shame on you.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Another congresscritter forgets he is an employee, not an overlord

Before I left for Round 2 of my vacation last week, I posted a video of oft-abusive Congressional Representative Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-CA) snidely insulting his constituents at a Town Hall meeting.

I return from vacation to find another video of a Congresscritter behaving badly. This time, it is Ciro Rodriguez, another Democrat, from Texas. During a meeting at what looks like a restaurant, Rodriguez obviously doesn't appreciate a female constituent calling B.S. on his incorrect numbers regarding Obama's Health Care Deform Bill, which Rodriguez voted in favor of passing.

The reaction of Rodriguez is not only unacceptable towards the female constituent, his demeanor toward her leaves me with the distinct impression that he protesteth too much:

What a tool. With any luck, his behavior will be taken in to account on election day. If not, the majority of the voters in his district will prove to be as big a bunch of morally corrupt ignoramuses as the ones who keep voting in Pete Stark decade after decade.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Off on another adventure

Blogging will again be non-existent for the next week, as my family and I depart for our annual pilgrimage to the beauty of our cabin near Lake Tahoe. I have been going to this location with my wife and her family for exactly 10 years now, and I never tire of it.

Again, this is the time of year when I love being a teacher!

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

The Declaration of Independence

Read it again for the very first time:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson (principal author of the Declaration of Independence)

Grandpa saves the day

With Independence Day upon us, Jay Leno went on one of his infamous Jaywalking Q&A sessions which showcases the best ignorance our populace has to offer. At the end of the segment, a grandpa swoops in to correctly answer these basic questions. As for the younger generation - including a college professor who thoroughly embarrassed herself - what will they be able to answer when they are the grandpa/grandma?

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Maybe he eats a lot of Twinkies?

Hard Rocker Ozzy Osbourne Wants His DNA Mapped To Find Out Why He's Still Alive:
Alcohol and drug abuse has killed too many rock stars to mention, but at 61, Ozzy Osbourne is going strong.

Now DNA researchers in St. Louis say they're part of a team working to determine why decades of substance abuse didn't take down the Prince of Darkness....
I guess Ozzy is just not ready to go off the rails of this crazy train called life.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Obama and Pelosi need to get their stories straight

Here is our Dear Leader talking about the unemployment rate the other day:

OK, I follow him somewhat: We should be happy the unemployment rate is only 9.6%, because it could up in the 12-15% territory instead. That's a pretty sad and pathetic rationalization, but I can follow it.

However, this issue gets more complicated after Nancy Pelosi opens that incoherent hole under her nose:

Ahhh, so that is how it works! Unemployment creates jobs! If that's the case, then Obama has it all wrong. We WANT to have the unemployment rate at 12 or 15 percent. On second thought, let's just fire everybody! Think of the - how did Nancy put it? - injection of demand into the economy that would occur if everyone lost their job and went on unemployment. I feel stimulated just talking about it!

Seriously, you people on the left side of the aisle out there who think that President Obama and Speaker Pelosi are doing a bang-up job: do you really believe that, or are you just too proud to admit that you got snookered into voting for them?

We are so screwed.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Friday, July 02, 2010

A final word on Robert Byrd

In the past, I have had sometimes heated arguments with peers and commenters about what they insist is the racism that supposedly exists in the Republican Party. One of my standard comebacks to that argument is to point out that Senator Robert Byrd, a Democrat from West Virginia, was not only reelected over and over for decades, but was put into positions of high power - such as Majority Leader and President Pro Tempore - by his Democrat cohorts, and was referred to by the leftist news media with the exhalted title, "The Conscience of the Senate."

These titles and accolades become a problem for the Democrats when you consider that Robert Byrd was a member of, and recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan. After I point this out to my opponent, that is when the gnashing of teeth begins, along with the bleating about how I'm not being fair because Byrd was a KKK member so long ago.

My standard answer to that is to ask a simple question: Would you be so forgiving of Byrd if he were a Republican?

One of these defenders of Byrd's KKK days is none other than former President Bill Clinton, who glossed over Byrd's KKK membership as simply an effort by a southern boy to get elected to office. This isn't surprising, seeing as how one of Bill Clinton's mentors was Senator J. William Fulbright, who was a sworn segregationist, and was joined by none other than Robert Byrd on the floor of the Senate in filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Now that Robert Byrd has departed this world for that great Klan meeting in the sky, I will continue to use him as a prime example of the hypocrisy of Democrats and Leftists. After all, they never voted Byrd out of office; he had to be carried out on a slab.

For the sake of posterity and selective memories of those on the left, here are a few choice quotes and facts from Robert C. Byrd, and keep in mind that all of this was after the year 1943, which is when Byrd claims he left the Klan:
  • In 1945, Byrd wrote a letter to segregationist Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo, in which he complained about the impending desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces. Byrd vowed that he would, "never submit to fight beneath that banner (the American flag) with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."
  • In 1946, Byrd wrote a letter to a KKK Imperial Wizard, in which he wrote, "The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia...."
  • In 1964, Robert Byrd didn't just filibuster the Civil Rights Act, he stood on the floor of the Senate and talked for 14 straight hours in an unsuccessful attempt to wear down his opposition. He was kept company by the aforementioned Clinton mentor, J. William Fulbright, and Senator Al Gore, Sr.
  • In 1967, Byrd opposed the nomination of Thurgood Marshall as the Supreme Court's first black Justice. While I would admit that I too would have voted against Marshall, my concerns would have been on ideological grounds. I think Byrd had a more colorful concern.
  • If these are all too far in the past for you, here is a Byrdism from 2001. In a televised interview with the late Tony Snow, Byrd had this to say about race relations in the United States: "There are white niggers. I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time. I'm going to use that word." Again, Byrd said that one on television!
It will continue to be a stain on the Democrat Party that they tolerated and defended Robert C. Byrd for 6 decades, while smearing the good names of other members of Congress whose bigger crime was apparently having a "R" next to their names instead of a "D." The state of West Virginia should be ashamed for sending Byrd back to Congress for those 6 decades as well. The good news for that state is that its citizens shall not soon forget their fallen Senator. I think half the bridges and buildings in the state are named after him!

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, July 01, 2010

I'm too tired of guns, I'm switching to paddles

In December, 1993, a deranged racist named Colin Ferguson boarded a Long Island express train and began shooting people at random. When he was done, 6 people were dead, and 19 were injured. Thanks to New York's draconian anti-gun laws, no one else on the train was armed, and Ferguson was only tackled by some bystanders when he stopped to reload. Among the dead and wounded were the husband and son of Carolyn McCarthy, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 1996.

Instead of working toward making it possible for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves by getting rid of anti-gun laws that disarmed only the law-abiding, McCarthy decided instead to spit upon the memory of those killed and injured on that train by becoming a tireless advocate for more federal anti-firearms laws that would render people even more defenseless and leave them at the mercy of criminals who have no compunction about violating laws that tell them they can't carry a firearm.

In the wake of the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court decisions, I don't know if McCarthy is giving up or just branching out. In her latest attempt to stay relevant, she has introduced a bill in the House that would make it a federal crime for a school to inflict corporal punishment on a student.

In the past few years, as the behavior of students gets more and more out of control, quite a few school districts around the country have begun to take a second look at corporal punishment, and have brought the paddle out of retirement. Representative McCarthy apparently can't stand for this, and has decided that there oughta be a law.

Never mind the fact that Article I Section 8, which lists the powers of Congress, grants no such power to the U.S. Congress to pass a law regarding this issue.

I realize that some of my readers may be in favor of banishing corporal punishment in schools (I say spank 'em!). However, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. The question of corporal punishment in schools is one that must be debated and legislated at the state and local level, not at the federal level.

Ah, but when you read the article, notice something very important that you could easily overlook. If this bill were to actually become law, it would only apply to public and private schools that receive federal funding. That is where the feds trap you. They are really only one degree removed from the mafia in this regard. Once you take their money, you have to abide by their rules. If I recall correctly the last statistics I saw, the federal government only provides about 7% of the funding of our nation's schools. That's a lot of influence for such a relatively paltry sum of money.

Nevertheless, somehow, I don't think Carolyn McCarthy - or most members of Congress for that matter - could give a rip less about any limits imposed on the power of Congress.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Supreme hypocrisy

Jacob Sullum of Reason Magazine does a much better job that I could have done of articulating a very important point about the dissenting Supreme Court Justices - Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor - in the recent McDonald v. City of Chicago decision in which the majority of the Justices made it perfectly clear that the 2nd Amendment applies to state and local governments as much as to the federal government.

Sullum points out that in so many other cases, the dissenting justices trample all over state and local rights by overturning constitutional laws passed by the legislatures or city councils of those jurisdictions - anti-abortion laws and anti-pornography laws being two prime examples. With the 2nd Amendment however, all of a sudden, these same Justices are all in favor of letting state and local governments pass all the anti-self defense laws they want.

Read Sullum's excellent column if you are really in the mood for a crash course in the abundant hypocrisy from those fascists in the Court's minority.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson