Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who's the moron?

There are few things more delicious than watching someone make an idiot of herself as she tries to show how someone else is an idiot. Kind of like when someone smugly tells you that you misspelled a word, then their correction is also spelled incorrectly.

This happened the other day when Dalia Lithwick, a blogger or reporter or something for Slate online magazine, did her best to show how clueless Delaware Republican senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell is about the U.S. Constitution. In so doing, Lithwick did nothing but embarrass herself. See if you can spot what is wrong with Lithwick's reasoning:
I have been fascinated by Christine O'Donnell's constitutional worldview since her debate with her opponent Chris Coons last week. O'Donnell explained that "when I go to Washington, D.C., the litmus test by which I cast my vote for every piece of legislation that comes across my desk will be whether or not it is constitutional." How weird is that, I thought. Isn't it a court's job to determine whether or not something is, in fact, constitutional? And isn't that sort of provided for in, well, the Constitution? In 2003, O'Donnell said of the Supreme Court that "it's kind of like we have the nine people sitting there in Washington who have a constitutional monarchy and that is an abuse of the system." So I do wonder a little whether she's claiming that her view of what's constitutional trumps theirs. Not a lot of space for checks and balances in that reading.
Uh, Ms. Lithwick, any branch of the federal government can question the constitutionality of a piece of legislation. A member of Congress can refuse to vote for it if he believes it is unconstitutional. The President can refuse to sign a bill if he believes it to be unconstitutional. You don't have to wait for the Supreme Court to rule from on high. Even more unbelievably, Lithwick believes that the Congress or President questioning the constitutionality of a piece of legislation is a violation of the system of checks and balances that was set up through the Constitution.

I remember back in 2002 when Congress passed that piece of crap legislation known as the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill. That was bad enough, but I was almost went apoplectic when then-President George W. Bush signed that stinkeroo, with his reasoning that the Supreme Court was going to find it unconstitutional anyway. I remember conservatives cursing Bush for signing it, because he didn't have to; he punted instead. My question to Ms. Lithwick: If only the Supreme Court can find a piece of legislation to be unconstitutional, then why was the President given veto power in the first place?

Slate needs better editors.

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

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gettysburg, in the flesh

I randomly came across this video on YouTube, and I was absolutely astonished. It is footage of the commemeration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, which would be in the year 1938. In this video, you will see actual veterans of the battle - both Blue and Gray.

As one commenter to the video so rightly put it, history can sometimes seem only like a dream or a story, but seeing these men in the video - actual flesh and blood human beings - brings the Civil War to life like few things I have ever seen; and I have actually been to the Gettysburg battlefield.

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

Friday, September 24, 2010

Arden-Arcade cityhood forum: I took notes

Last night, I attended a forum that was held by an involved citizen of the Arden-Arcade area of Sacramento, who opened up his home to friends and neighbors for a discussion of the impending vote on cityhood for this often overlooked unincorporated area of Sacramento County, which butts right up against the city of Sacramento. In attendance were about 30 concerned citizens, and 7 of 22 candidates for city council, who all had an opportunity to speak to the audience and then together do a Q&A at the end.

The issue of cityhood for Arden-Arcade is beginning to heat up now that the pro-cityhood side has released their lawn signs, which are beginning to pop up in front yards across the area (including mine). The anti-cityhood forces had previously gotten their signs out there a few weeks earlier.

So what is all this about? Here is some of what the city council candidates had to say:

After introductions, the first candidate to speak was Gerald Kloss. He has previously run for a California State Senate seat as a Libertarian and is a computer security specialist. He told us that his main concerns about the state of Arden-Arcade right now are police protection and code enforcement. After "digesting" the LAFCO report - the commissioned study that weighs the viability of becoming an incorporated city - Mr. Kloss said he, "can't understand why anyone would be against this (cityhood)." He said that if Arden-Arcade does not vote to become a city, within 2 years, the city of Sacramento will be annexing it. Since Arden-Arcade is revenue-positive where paying taxes is concerned, Sacramento wants that money, because, "They have a $43 million hole to fill."

Next up was Bob Stevens. Mr. Stevens retired as a Lieutenant after 31 years with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. Regarding the state of Arden-Arcade, he said, "I have never seen it this bad as far as law enforcement is concerned." In his argument for cityhood, Mr. Stevens pointed out that, "Counties are not designed to run cities," which, in effect, Arden-Arcade has become. He pointed out that since Rancho Cordova became a city a few years ago, they now have more code enforcement officers than the entire county of Sacramento.

As someone who has had to deal with the incessant barking of more than one neighbor's dog, and an atrociously ugly RV illegally parked in the driveway of another neighbor, I think more code enforcement would be a very good thing.

Patricia "Pat" Cole was the next candidate to speak. She told the audience that she attended many of the early cityhood meetings, and the more she attended, the more she became convinced that cityhood was the way to go. She described the process of applying for cityhood, as barriers were put up at every turn - barriers that other applicants for cityhood, such as Citrus Heights, never had to face. Ms. Cole said that under even worst-case scenarios, cityhood for Arden-Arcade is fiscally viable, because we have the revenue. She said the leaders of Citrus Heights - which has been a cityhood success story - say that Arden-Arcade is in better shape than they were when Citrus Heights was incorporated. Ms. Cole said that Arden-Arcade would look to Citrus Heights for help in making the transition to cityhood, and that the city council of Citrus Heights would be happy to assist. As just one example as to how incorporation can make a difference, Ms. Cole said that when Citrus Heights was still unincorporated, it cost $300 for Sacramento County to change one light bulb in a streetlight. Once Citrus Heights became a city, they were free to contract this service to another company who will do the same service for $50 a bulb.

The next candidate was Jay Boatwright, who has spent decades in the commercial construction industry. Mr. Boatwright emphasized the advantages of local control. He pointed out that right now, Arden-Arcade is represented by County Supervisor Susan Peters. Each Supervisor of Sacramento County represents approximately 250,000 people. Were Arden-Arcade to become a city, it would then have 7 council members, who, on average, would represent about 15,000 people. He also emphasized the fact that Sacramento County is serious financial straits, but they won't cut expenditures. Instead, the county looks to revenue-positive areas like Arden-Arcade to make up the shortfall.

Matt Powers spoke next. He is a retired Deputy Chief of the Sacramento Police Department. He knows how Sacramento County runs things, and he gave a telling example. A few years back, both Sac County and Santa Clara County received a $13 million dollar federal grant. Santa Clara County hired 2 new employees. Sacramento County hired 25. The federal money is gone, but Sacramento County is still paying those 25 employees. Mr. Powers is a big believer in proactive law enforcement; not just reactive. He would favor an increase in code enforcement, building inspection, and school security in order to take care of problems before they get out of control. He also had some scary statistics. Within the 3 Zip Codes that make up Arden-Arcade, there are 211 severe Megan's Law sex offenders; with the number being probably more like 1,000. There are also 354 felony parolees living in Arden-Arcade. Mr. Powers also brought up the hugely increasing problem of prostitution along Watt Avenue. He said fathers are being propositioned while they are dropping off their kids at Arcade Middle School. Criminals like these know that Arden-Arcade is a good place to be because of the lack of law enforcement, and the fact that Arden-Arcade is the red headed step child (my term) of the county.

The next candidate, Liz Rice, is a stay-at-home mom who is appalled (and rightly so) at the number of "massage" parlors that are beginning to pop up around Arden-Arcade. I should know about this; one of these parlors just opened up about a two-minute drive from my house. Ms. Rice said she, "is passionate to see change... and cityhood."

The final candidate to speak was Joel Archer, who apparently has been the point man on this entire effort to gain cityhood for Arden-Arcade. Mr. Archer arrived late for the forum, still in a suit and tie, as he had just finished at a larger forum of over 100 people where he had been debating those who are against cityhood. Mr. Archer said that, "this is the greatest opportunity the community has ever seen," and that if Measure D doesn't pass, "we will continue to sink." Mr. Archer believes, "less government is better," and that cityhood for Arden-Arcade is, "an example of less government." He said we can turn from a fat government downtown to a lean one right here. As was a common theme among the candidates, Mr. Archer brought up the issue of law enforcement; both of the proactive and reactive variety. It comes down to the fact that the county just doesn't have the resources to properly serve the Arden-Arcade area, and this is beginning to show. Meanwhile, Mr. Archer points out, Citrus Heights has three times the police presence that Arden-Arcade does.

Upon the conclusion of Mr. Archer's remarks, a Q&A period was opened up to all the candidates. The first question from the audience asked about the opposition: what are their arguments against cityhood? The candidates gave their two cents and piggybacked their comments onto that of the others, and what it comes down to is the name and the fear of higher taxes. Unbelievably, there are apparently swaths of people out there who oppose cityhood because they think we will be stuck with the name, "Arden-Arcade." I don't like the name either, but it will not remain. Once cityhood is gained, one of the first orders of business would be to change the name. In fact, 15 of the 22 city council candidates have signed a pledge saying that they would vote to change the name. Most likely, a contest would be held, the list would be winnowed down, and the people of the new city would vote.

As for taxes, the anti-cityhood forces have snookered people into accepting "Stay Sacramento" signs for their lawns by saying that cityhood would mean an increase in taxes. Never mind that the LAFCO report has already stated that raising taxes would not be necessary. As far as revenues go, the worst case scenarios have Arden-Arcade still taking in more money than it receives now from Sacramento County. The best case scenario has Arden-Arcade accruing a $37 million surplus from current revenue streams, all without having to raise taxes. Not to mention, even if the city council candidates wanted to raise taxes - which they don't - they fully realize it would be political suicide and a downright stupid thing to do to the citizens of a brand new city.

Not to mention, if cityhood doesn't pass, Arden-Arcade will almost certainly be annexed and become part of the city of Sacramento. If the "Stay Sacramento" folks are worried about tax increases, they should know that the city recently tripled their utility fees. Is that not a tax increase?

I took enough notes that this post could be almost twice its current length; but I think you get the idea. I found last night's forum to be highly educational, and the questions posed to the candidates to be probing and the answers rather candid. And even though they are competing for a limited number of city council seats, I was impressed by the camaraderie and sense of purpose that was shared by the candidates.

If you live in the Arden-Arcade area of Sacramento County, vote YES on Measure D.

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

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Loretta Sanchez: Lying Racist Xenophobe?

Loretta Sanchez is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represents a district that takes up much of California's Orange County. This has always struck me rather funny, because Orange County is always talked up by the chattering class as being some kind of conservative Republican stronghold in mostly leftist California. Then again, the part of Orange County she represents is east of the beach, and has a 65+% Hispanic population, which tends to vote Democrat.

My mention of the demographics of Sanchez's district is not superfluous; not after an astonishing comment that Loretta Sanchez made during a Spanish-language interview with Univision the other day.

Sanchez is currently in the fight for her political life against Republican opponent Van Tran, who currently represents Orange County as a member of the California State Assembly. As his name might indicate, Van Tran is of Vietnamese heritage, rather than Hispanic. Let's roll the tape and see what Congresscritter Sanchez thinks about that:

So, those mean ol' Vietnamese are trying to take this seat from "us," huh? Who is "us," and why is so horrible that "the Vietnamese" are running for that seat?

You know what is funny though? If you take in the entire soundbite, her comment about the Vietnamese trying to take away the apparently Hispanic congressional seat is not even what I found the most offensive. Did you catch what Sanchez said about Van Tran being "anti-immigrant"? Does she even know how Van Tran came to this country?

He was born in 1964. When Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese communists in 1975, Van Tran - only 10 years old at the time - was evacuated from South Vietnam by the U.S. Army, along with his family. They settled first in Michigan, and then later moved to Orange County. "Anti-immigrant," Loretta? Van Tran IS an immigrant!

Then Sanchez goes on to describe Van Tran as "anti-Hispanic." I don't know what is in Van Tran's heart, so I have no idea what to do with Sanchez's ad hominem attack. On the other hand, Sanchez's comments make it perfectly clear that she is anti-Vietnamese.

Loretta Sanchez no longer deserves to be a member of the U.S. Congress; not that a racial panderer like this ever deserved the honor in the first place.

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

I shudder to think what my students are "learning" elsewhere

The other day, I was talking with my 8th graders about the increase in government spending that we have seen since the founding of our country, and how our current spending is quickly bankrupting us. Sure as the sun rises in the east, every period saw at least one student raise his or her hand and say something to the effect of, "Aren't we going broke because we are in Iraq and Afghanistan?"

Sigh. Whether or not you agree with our presence in those two countries, the numbers tell a different story in relation to the students' question. This graph is from the Cato Institute:
Chart: Spending by Department
You will notice that ALL defense spending, not just the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is dwarfed by the spending of the Department of Health and Human Services. Add Social Security to the heap, and you can easily see that our total spending on defense (not just our two wars) is tiddly-winks compared to our spending on social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Oh for the day when a student of mine raises his or her hand and says, "Mr. Chandler, don't we spend way too much on social programs?" Whether it is badly informed parents at home, or badly informed teachers from either past or future, the factual information I give my students is destined to be overwhelmed by the misinformed narrative that most students will have shoved down their throats throughout their academic careers. I am happy to contribute my opposing viewpoint, but I am sure it will fly right over most of my young minds full of mush. At least I will have reached a few. That is what I tell myself.

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

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is Harry Reid beginning to crack?

Me thinks that the stress of the unexpected challenge that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is facing from Tea Party Republican senate candidate, Sharron Angle, is beginning to wear down Harry Reid's sanity.

The other day, he referred to Democrat (and Marxist) Delaware senate candidate, Chris Coons, as "my pet." Today, during his speech at a fundraiser, Reid called New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand "the hottest member" of the senate. According to those who were there, Gillibrand's face turned red with embarrassment.

Please, Dirty Harry, please keep talking.

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

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Forget something, Barack? Not likely.

Behold, one of my favorite passages from the Declaration of Independence. I can't prove this as I am writing it, but trust me, I am typing the following from memory:

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...

Read that passage one more time, then listen to our Dear Leader repeat it. You will notice something missing (ignore the nonsensical writing that covers the right-hand side of the screen):

Now go and watch that clip again. Notice that when Obama arrives at that certain part of the passage, he begins to scowl and flutter his eyes. You just know what happened: The phrase "...endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights..." came up on the TOTUS, and Obama immediately blanches and quickly thinks of an off-the-cuff way of saying the phrase without acknowledging the true source of our rights. Since Obama's god is government, that is where he believes we receive our rights; not our Creator. You could just see his gears grinding as he decided to go off the teleprompter and edit the Declaration of Independence before our eyes.

What a telling moment.

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

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's all in the numbers

For the last year, Randall Hoven at American Thinker (see blogroll and check that site every day like I do) has posted a "Graph of the Day" that shows some relevant statistic about the state of our country or society.

After 365 days of posting these various graphs, Hoven has written a summary of what the graphs show. Read the following and wait for the punchline at the end:
Now that I've explained how fair and objective I've been, what can we learn from a year's worth of graphs and data?

* Government has grown by obscene amounts since William McKinley was president. In 1900, federal, state, and local governments combined spent under 5% of Gross Domestic Product. Today they spend 40% of GDP or more and account for half of all health care spending.
* The federal government alone spends more than 20% of GDP, owns 29% of all land, and controls virtually all ocean activity, including oil drilling, for miles offshore.
* This puts us square into the mix of European welfare states in terms of government spending and debt.
* Federal government debt is on an unsustainable path, set to grow beyond 100% of GDP soon, and driven mostly by increased spending on Medicare and Medicaid. (And not defense.)
* Yet many federal programs are ineffective and/or going broke: Medicare, Social Security Disability Insurance, the Post Office, the War on Poverty, education, affirmative action, other race-based initiatives, the minimum wage here and in Samoa, bank regulations, regulation in general, etc.

Then came Obama...
Click here to read the rest of this fascinating article.

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

So Johnny, what did you learn at school today?

Hat tip to Pamela Gellar of Atlas Shrugs blog for posting this astonishing piece of video.

The Readers Digest version:

Back in May of this year, a Massachusetts middle school sent some of its students to a mosque in the Boston area; a mosque with strong Saudi funding and ties to the terrorists of the Muslim Brotherhood. The lies and proselytizing that commenced inside that mosque made my blood boil. How do we know what took place? Because a courageous mother who had misgivings about this entire field trip volunteered as a chaperone and took a video camera with her. Sit down and do some calming meditation before pushing play:

The question to ask after viewing this is obvious: What would be the reaction in the statist news media had this field trip taken place during mass in a Catholic church, or during Communion in a Protestant church, or during a service in a Synagogue?

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

A fate that might await the Republican Party

Before I head off to bed, I was thinking about what could happen to the Republican Party if the established GOP elitists in the Washington beltway don't get their act together and embrace the conservative revolution happening within the Party. They could be in for quite a... shock:

(Squeamishness alert!)

Thomas Edison really was a genius.

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

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Harry Reid sticks his foot in his mouth again, and hands a big, fat gift to Christine O'Donnell

Fresh off his opinion that Barack Obama is "light-skinned"and doesn't speak with a "Negro dialect," that is of course "unless he wants to," Senator Harry Reid of Nevada spoke some sweet, sweet words about Chris Coons, the Democrat who is now facing off against Tea Party Republican Christine O'Donnell for one of Delaware's senate seats in the coming November election.

Asked about Coons, Harry Reid opined that Coons would have won in the November election even if Mike Castle had managed to best O'Donnell. Reid then uttered this gem:
"I'm going to be very honest with you — Chris Coons, everybody knows him in the Democratic caucus. He's my pet. He's my favorite candidate," Reid said.

"Let me tell you about him: A graduate of Yale Divinity School. Yale Law School. A two-time national debate champion. He represents two-thirds of the state now, in an elected capacity. I don't know if you've ever seen him or heard him speak, but he is a dynamic speaker. I don't mean loud or long; he's a communicator. So that's how I feel about Delaware. I've always thought Chris Coons is going to win. I told him that and I tried to get him to run. I'm glad he's running. I just think the world of him.
He's my pet." (emphasis - W.R. Chandler)
Aside from being weird and creepy, that, my friends, is campaign advertisement GOLD for Christine O'Donnell. Harry Reid may or may not win his reelection bid in Nevada - he is in a statistical dead heat with Tea Party Republican challenger Sharron Angle - but the man is pure political poison in the rest of the country, including Delaware, I'm sure. O'Donnell should be hanging that quote around Chris Coons' neck and tying him to Reid at every opportunity.

You would never know it, but I am thinking Chris Coons is hating Harry Reid's guts right about now.

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

Stop Global Warm... huh? Oh. Stop Climate Cha... Oh for goodness sake!

First there was Global Cooling, but we are supposed to forget about that disaster that never happened.

Then there was Global Warming. Of course, then the earth started cooling again, so in came Climate Change. Hah! Whether the temperature goes up or down, it's changing right? Try to refute that, Denier!

Now, John Holdren, President Obama's science czar (and off-the-charts loon) wants us to adopt a new term. You ready?

I guess Climate Change didn't sound dramatic enough to scare the Hoi Polloi into accepting all the big government, society-controlling, taxpayer-funded, non-solution solutions that our betters have planned for us.

This, of course, is the same John Holdren who once called for, among other things, women to have forced abortions and for our water supplies to be laced with sterilization-causing chemicals in order to stop population growth.

Next thing you know, Holdren will be taking hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters!

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

Recent escapades of the "peace-loving" Left

While the lamestream news media continue to engage in their never-ending snipe hunt where they look for conservative and Tea Party explosions of violence that don't exist, the same media have a little trouble finding the fortitude to report real violence that is being carried out by people from their side of the political aisle. When they do report it, the story quickly dies and is swept away, whereas if the same violent acts were carried out by someone from the Tea Party movement? We would never hear the end of it.

It recently started in late August with Michael Enright, the drunk guy who stabbed the Muslim taxi-cab driver near the site of the proposed Ground Zero mosque. Boy, oh, boy, the Left were giddy! This was a slam dunk! Right in the middle of the mosque controversy, a Muslim is stabbed near the site of the controversy. Too bad for the Left when it turned out that Enright worked for an organization that supports the building of the mosque. Oops. Lefties began to squeal that it didn't matter for whom the guy worked, he just had to be a crazy right-winger anyway! The fact that this story has practically disappeared from the news tells us all we need to know. Had Enright been on the anti-mosque side, we would never hear the end of it. As it was, Lefties blamed Enright's attack on the anti-mosque people anyway, for creating the conditions that made it more likely for something like this to happen. Damned if you do...

A few days later, a baby-hating (literally), anti-capitalist, Inconvenient Truth-loving environmentalist wack-job named James Jay Lee strapped what looked like explosives to his body and took hostages at the headquarters for the Discovery Channel. He finally had to be killed by police. Because his left-wing, statist screed mentioned "anchor babies," it was hilarious to watch the Leftists in the media and the blogosphere glom on to that one. Of course, the anchor baby reference only sounded bad if you didn't read the rest of the manifesto. I have read the manifesto, and Lee couldn't have cared less about anchor babies ruining the finances and cultural heritage of the United States; he just looked at them as another vehicle for further populating the world with human beings, which he was really against.

And then just the other day, a leftist, anarchist militant named Casey Brezik slashed the throat of a college dean in Missouri. At the time, the governor of Missouri was on the way to that very location to give a speech. Brezik's Facebook page was rife with racial and religious quotes about blacks and Islam, and his braggadocio about spitting on a police officer at last year's G-20 summit in Toronto.

All this violence on the Left that has happened in the last three weeks, and it doesn't get one-eighth of the airplay it would receive had the perpetrators been Tea Party members. Hell, the statist news media and blogosphere are still talking up the imaginary racial slurs that Tea Party members never uttered at those black congresscritters all the way back in March.

Good thing the Tea Partiers didn't stab them.

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

RINOs are running scared

Last night was very instructive for a lot of people. When Christine O'Donnell dispatched Mike Castle last night in the Delaware GOP senatorial primary, 53%-47%, I have to admit that I was shocked just how whiny and bitchy the establishment Republicans quickly became. First, Mike Castle immediately refused to endorse the Republican candidate who had just defeated him. Then Karl Rove went on Hannity and absolutely trashed Christine O'Donnell in a way that made me think I was watching MSNBC, calling her "nutty" and flat-out saying that she can't win in November. Meanwhile, you have Lisa Murkowski up in Alaska, who, after having lost her primary battle to Tea Party-backed candidate Joe Miller, is still looking for some way to stay in the race. First she tried getting on the ticket of the Libertarian Party, and when that tanked, she is now mulling over whether or not to be a write-in candidate. And then there is Charlie Crist in Florida who, after losing the Republican senate primary to Marco Rubio, continued his campaign as an Independent (although he kept all the campaign contributions that Republicans had given him). Crist still hasn't figured out that he has been wholly rejected by conservatives in the Republican party who have instead flocked to the candidacy of Marco Rubio. So Crist continues his quixotic quest for the Florida senate seat, even though his support seems to dwindle by hour. This just goes to show that many of these entrenched Republican politicians are just as addicted to power, prestige, and federal swag as most of the Democrats.

While the establishment Republicans whine about how the Delaware senate seat is now lost, and are blaming the Tea Party and Sarah Palin's endorsement of O'Donnell, I call B.S. on that one. I have a better idea. If blame is to be given, how about putting the establishment Republicans on the defensive by asking them why they offered Delaware's Republican voters a pro-abortion, anti-gun, pro-cap-and-tax candidate like Mike Castle who holds a 52% lifetime rating from the ACU (the rating went as low as 28% in 2008)? Once again, we are seeing that conservatives are sick of these wishy-washy Republicans-in-name-only running the show, and are as eager to get rid of these RINOs as they are the statist Democrat majority that the RINOs seem so eager to emulate.

If you are a Republican who supported Mike Castle, it is time to put away your binky, man up, and endorse Christine O'Donnell. Had O'Donnell lost, conservatives in the party would have lined up in support of Castle, even though they would have been holding their nose behind closed doors. Let's see if the establishment Republicans can manage to be magnanimous enough to do what they ask of us conservatives when one of the so-called moderate candidates - ahem, John McCain - is nominated.

After last night and this morning, I have a whole new view of just how despicable much of the establishment Republican machine can be. If only they spent half as much energy going after the failings of O'Donnell's Democrat opponent rather than O'Donnell herself.

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

Monday, September 13, 2010

An interview with Medal of Honor recipient SSG Salvatore Giunta

If President Obama insists on bowing to people all the time, I would have no problem with him doing so to SSG Giunta.

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

Sacramento Tea Party is a big success!

UPDATE 9/13/10 9:00pm: Pictures have been added. Scroll down to view them.

I have not been able to download the photos from my camera yet, but I did attend (along with my parents) the 9/12 Tea Party rally held at McClellan Air Park in Sacramento yesterday.

This was the second large Tea Party rally I have attended, and once again, it was a well-organized affair brimming with pleasant, polite, regular folks who came out on a beautiful late-summer day to voice their concerns about the overreaching level of federal government involvement in our lives. I guessed that about 5,000 people were in attendance, and lo and behold, that is the very number that the Sacramento Bee used in their article about the proceedings.

My parents were happy listening to the speeches from the friendly shade of a tree, so I took off on my own with my camera and took stock of the situation.

I don't know how it happened, but black people were actually let in to the Tea Party (I say this with sarcasm dripping from my tongue). I also saw Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, South Asians, and all manner of a cross-section of the local populace. In the end, the only colors of the people that mattered to me were red, white, and blue. These lies from the NAACP and other race-baiting groups about who and who does not attend these rallies are nothing but that: lies.

As I walked the area, I also saw not one scrap of trash on the ground; not one, and I looked hard. Compare that to a left-wing protest where the aftermath looks like a New York ticker-tape parade. These left-wing bigots who call us "Teabaggers" and are convinced that we are a bunch of raging racists have no idea what good people were attending this rally, and other rallies being held all over the country, including two large rallies in Washington D.C. and St. Louis.

I hope to post my pictures tonight, and I will include an update flag when the pictures are posted.

The festivities began with a parachutist descending upon us with an American flag hanging from his feet. Like a deer in the headlights, I was so fixated on watching the guy float down, that I only remembered at the last second to take a picture of him before he landed. Doh!

It is a sad sign of the times when the organizers found it necessary to have signs like this at the ready, just in case some jerk like this tried to pass himself off as a Tea Partier in an attempt to misrepresent and hurt the movement.

I could totally overwhelm this post with picture after picture of all the clever signs that were present at this rally. However, in some form or another, you have pretty much seen all the signs before. I included the one above not only for its originality, but for the fact that it addresses the unique situation we face in the late, great state of California. Our state legislature needs a Fall cleaning perhaps even worse than the federal one.

As the rally got into its first hour or so, the crowd really began to swell. The picture above shows just one sliver that I was able to capture. My camera has a panorama feature. Perhaps I should learn how to use it? As I wandered the crowds, I also felt it was my duty to take some pictures that I felt very self-conscious taking, and that was of some of the black attendees. I wish it wasn't necessary, but with the left-wing meme about the so-called "racist" Tea Party movement, taking photographic evidence that shows the contrary becomes a requirement:

The speaker on the screen is Lisa Fritsch. She is a radio host and blogger from Texas. She gave a rousing speech, and the crowd loved it! Click here for a snippet of her speech that she posted on her Facebook page.

I tried one more time to try to capture as many of the 5,000+ attendees as possible. Even this long shot shows only about less than one-third of the total area. I know, I know - panorama mode; look into it.

And what is a pictorial essay without proof that Yours Truly was in attendance? Especially working in the left-leaning profession of teaching, it is quite refreshing to go someplace where I can be reminded that there are indeed countless people who think about life and politics as I do. I hope to find out just how much this November 2nd!

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

Friday, September 10, 2010

Non-posthumous Medal of Honor to be awarded today

For the first time since the Vietnam War, an American serviceman is to be awarded the Medal of Honor without giving his life while performing the heroic acts which made him eligible for the decoration in the first place.

In October of 2007, Army Staff Sergeant (SSG) Salvatore "Sal" Giunta charged two Taliban members who were carrying off one of his wounded comrades. Giunta killed one Taliban and wounded the other. Giunta's wounded comrade, SGT Josh Brennan, later died of those wounds. Giunta's actions also broke up an ambush that was endangering his entire unit.

From Andrew Breitbart's newest venture,
Giunta was a Specialist when the action occurred and his squad was hit with a well-planned ambush at extremely close range. He was the trail team leader and Josh Brennan was the lead. When the fighting started Brennan was severely wounded, their squad leader was knocked to the ground, their medic was killed and several others were wounded. Giunta immediately began maneuvering toward the enemy throwing grenades and eventually charging them when he saw two of them hauling Josh away. He emptied a magazine killing one and wounding the other and grabbed Brennan telling Josh to stay with him so that he would get a chance to tell heroic stories. They did get Brennan on a medevac chopper, but unfortunately his wounds were too severe and he didn’t survive. But Giunta’s actions stopped the Taliban from taking him and by running headlong at the enemy he disrupted the ambush.
In the nine years since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began, six U.S. servicemen have been awarded the Medal of Honor - all of them posthumously. My hat is off to SSG Giunta for peforming a truly gutsy act which saved SGT Brennan even more pain than he was experiencing already. Wear that baby blue ribbon with pride!

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

What's the matter with Kansas, indeed?

Update - Slight error: I called Thomas Frank a UC Berkeley professor, which he actually is not. I was thinking of actual UC Berkeley professor, George Lakoff, a similar author who writes about similar themes. Other than that discrepancy, everything else in the post remains the same. After all, both are still raging leftists; that part I did get right!

Several years ago, a raging leftist UC Berkeley professor named Thomas Frank wrote a book called What's the Matter With Kansas? in which he wondered why the people of Kansas and other "flyover" states would want to vote for those evil conservatives and Republicans, which Frank saw as voting against your own self-interest.

I also want to ask what the matter is with Kansas, but on a different matter. I want to know how the voters of a so-called "red" state like Kansas could have possibly elected a leftist, statist, Democrat like Kathleen Sebelius as their governor. Luckily for the Jayhawker State, and not-so-luckily for the rest of the country, Sebelius was picked by President Obama to be the Secretary for Health and Human Services.

So how much of a statist are we talking here? Check this out:
President Barack Obama's top health official on Thursday warned the insurance industry that the administration won't tolerate blaming premium hikes on the new health overhaul law.

"There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter to the insurance lobby.

"Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections," Sebelius said. She warned that bad actors may be excluded from new health insurance markets that will open in 2014 under the law. They'd lose out on a big pool of customers, as many as 30 million people nationwide....
Wow. Just, wow. Tell me again, what country am I living in?

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

Congress! Give me back my lightbulbs!

When the Republicans hopefully take back Congress in November (and the presidency in 2012), many conservatives, Tea Partiers, and sane citizens in general have already made it clear that they plan to gauge the fortitude and effectiveness of the Republican majority by their ability to repeal the legislation that has given us ObamaCare.

I have a different standard. In addition to repealing ObamaCare, I also want the future Republican-led federal government to do away with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Never heard of it? You should wipe the haze of ignorance from your mind, because unless this law is repealed, life is going to much less illuminating and a lot more inconvenient and, dare I say, toxic, by 2014.

Buried in the text of this bill are efficiency mandates on lightbulbs that effectively outlaw most incandescent bulbs between the wattages of 40w and 100w. These just happen to be the bulbs that we most often use in our homes. I have previously written about this law, but as the countdown continues toward the phasing out of these lightbulbs, I haven't seen much of an increase in the uproar that should be taking place. I'm sorry to say that maybe one of the reasons for the lack of uproar is that a Republican president signed the bill into law. In this case, it really is George W. Bush's fault, as he signed the bill on December 19, 2007, when the American people were distracted during the heart of the Christmas season. Before we go and blame it all on Bush, I do remind you that he could only sign a bill if it was first approved by both houses of Congress, and who was one of the Senators who voted "Yea" on this bill before it reached President Bush's desk? None other than the Anointed One himself, Barack Obama.

I continue to stockpile incandescent light bulbs at every opportunity, buying a few here and a few there at the hardware store every time I make a trip there. The bulbs that we will be expected to use instead will be more expensive, will give off inferior lighting, and, if one breaks, will virtually require a haz-mat team to clean up due to their mercury content. Just read the EPA instructions for cleaning up one of these flourescent light bulbs that are going to replace the incandescent bulbs.

One last point about this law, which I can never resist making, because it needs to be made: Please point me to that article or section in the Constitution that gives Congress the power to dictate to me what kind of light bulb I am going to use. Oh, light bulbs weren't invented when the Constitution was written? Then please point me to any article or section of the Constitution that can be construed as giving Congress the power to tell me how I am going to illuminate my life.

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

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Arden-Arcade: Cityhood or annexation?

My family and I reside in an unincorporated area just east of the city of Sacramento that goes by the rather clunky name of Arden-Arcade.

In the past few years, other unincorporated areas of Sacramento County have voted to become their own cities, including Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, and Citrus Heights. It was only a matter of time before Arden-Arcade decided to take the plunge.

As one drives around Arden-Arcade, there is unmistakable evidence of a coming showdown on the November ballot as the lawns in front of numerous homes have begun to bristle with campaign signs that are either for or against Measure D, which calls for Arden-Arcade to become its own city.

Recently, a friend of mine made his views known in an email that he sent out to his friends and neighbors who live in the Arden-Arcade area. His are views with which I happen to agree. I asked my friend if I could repost his email, sans his personal information, and he agreed. If you are interested in the battle over Arden-Arcade's future, I highly suggest you read what my friend has to say. Oh, and one more thing: I have been assured by people in the know that if Measure D passes, and Arden-Arcade becomes a city, one of the first orders of business will be to change the name of the city to something more palatable! On to the email:
Friends and neighbors,
I thought that I would offer you my view of the upcoming vote on cityhood, which will occur during the next statewide general election on Tuesday, November 2...

I want you to know that I support the cityhood effort wholeheartedly and will be voting YES on Measure D. I have three reasons for this position:

Increased law enforcement presence
Better community services
More local control
With budget cuts hitting the county hard, it's difficult to see when they will be able to restore the many sheriff deputy positions that they have cut over the last couple of years. With a new city, we'll be able to increase our patrols by up to 400%, as they have done in Citrus Heights. Worried about the recent uptick in prostitution, graffiti, theft and arson in your neighborhood? Concerned that foreclosed homes will become a squatters haven, or an invitation for property destruction or degraded home values? Care that local patrols have been scaled back and community officer positions cut? Ask just about anyone in Citrus Heights or Rancho Cordova how their law enforcement policies have improved their communities, even while the rest of the county suffers. Law enforcement should be a top priority for any local government.

It wasn't that long ago that we had a prolonged garbage strike while the county resolved a contract for those services. With city and county employees compensation coming under more scrutiny, especially in light of the recent City of Bell scandals, it is possible that more services could be cut, and planned projects not funded for the next several years. If your street looks like mine, potholes are becoming more problematic. It's about time that someone paid attention to these issues and could develop a comprehensive plan that doesn't kick the can down the road. A city council can do that.

Speaking of a city council, 7 elected members (part-time with no salary, pensions) are more apt to listen and more inclined to improve the community than a single county supervisor, no matter how wonderful he or she may be. And if you've ever waited through a Sacramento city council or county supervisors meeting, you'll know just how high a priority Arden Arcade is on their list. The City of Sacramento intends to annex us if we reject Measure D. Spend some time on their General Plan for 2030, and review pages 2-125 through 2-128 for more information.

There are a couple of concerns that I have heard that raise legitimate issues regarding cityhood. Those include (with a brief response):

The fiscal uncertainty and unknown economic future of Arden Arcade--The LAFCO economic report indicates that Arden Arcade is fiscally viable without raising taxes. They wouldn't have approved it for the ballot if that were not the case. For years, the area has subsidized much of the county anyway, but will be paying a neutrality agreement for years down the road to make sure that we leave things whole. No doubt, tough economic times will continue, but if a new city can bring a sense of law and certainty to the community, it it possible that there will be an economic revival to the area that will improve the condition of the neighborhood and increased revenues will follow.
It's another layer of bureaucracy--Not necessarily true. A city will take on many of the responsibilities that the county has done for some time. However, it will be more responsive to finding alternatives to problems than the stultified bureaucracy in the county because elected council members will necessarily be responsive to concerns of the community. In my view, the more local the government, the more important it is in our day to day lives. Regardless, I'll be a loud voice to keep city overhead down and costs under control, as I have been with the county.

Do we have to name it "Arden Arcade"?--Initially, yes; permanently, no. Realize that the "Arden Arcade" moniker has been around for decades and accurately reflects the unincorporated community as it presently stands. That being said, once we have a new city, it is within the reasonable realm of alternatives to change the name to simply "Arden" (or my favorite, "New Helvetia"--it's time to reclaim the name) or anything else you think you would like to call it. And if you would like to keep "Sacramento" as your mailing address, as long as you have the right zip code, the mail will get to your house.

There may be other concerns that I haven't addressed in this email. If you have more questions, I highly suggest that you visit the Arden Arcade Cityhood Observer. This blog is honest about the issues and provides some very compelling insights. The blog is also highlighting the candidates for city council and allowing any and all discussion on the pros and cons of incorporating.

Remember, if this measure succeeds or fails, we will always "stay Sacramento"--we will always be a part of the county. What I don't want is to become part of Sacramento City.
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

About that planned Qur'an burning

So a nutty pastor from an insignificant church in Florida plans to lead his congregation this weekend in the burning of a pile of Qur'ans.

Should this church carry out this book-burning? I don't think they should. I frown upon the burning of any book, no matter how much I may disagree with it.

That being said, I have to chuckle as I watch the worldwide media and the Muslim world go ape over this planned burning by a 30-member congregation of a single church in Florida. This whole affair says a lot more about Islam worldwide, and the intolerance of leftists here in the United States than it does about a few dozen wackos in Florida.

Just the proposition of this Qur'an burning has caused Islamic protests around the world, and threats of violence and suicide bombings. Just the proposition of this Qur'an burning has unleashed the ire of the Obama administration who has warned that this burning will lead to violence and recruitment of additional members of al-Qaeda.

Really? Is that all it takes to set off the Muslim world? Imagine if a group of Muslims got together and destroyed a bunch of Bibles? Would Christians of the world protest and threaten suicide bombings? That would be no, seeing as how Muslim customs officials in Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim countries already destroy any Bible they intercept coming into their country.

What if Buddhist icons or statues were destroyed by Muslims? Would that lead to worldwide protests and threats of violence by Buddhists? Hmm, since the Muslim Taliban in Afghanistan carried out that very kind of destruction in 2001, I would say "no" to that as well, since I don't remember hearing about any violent reaction from Buddhists around the world after the Bamiyan Buddhist statues were blown up by the Taliban.

Face it, as misguided as the planned book-burning might be, it does offer a powerful illustration of the intolerance of much of the Muslim world. I am not saying that Muslims should be happy about copies of their holy book being burned, just as I as a Christian am not very happy when a Bible is burned. The difference is that the reaction from the Christian world to desecration of the Bible is a collective, "Meh," while the reaction from the Muslim world tends to be worldwide riots and death threats. Just look at the riots around the world that took place after Muhammad was parodied in a series of political cartoons a few years ago.

Aside from the Muslim world, I also have to snicker at the inconsistent position of the political left in America who call me "Un-American" for opposing the construction of a Mosque on the ashes of Ground Zero in New York City, but are themselves horrified at the thought of this church in Florida burning the Qur'an. I have argued with a leftist blogger on this matter. This blogger's position has been to gleefully tell me that the First Amendment says that I can't stop the mosque from being built. While I have argued that according to the First Amendment, the government can't stop the mosque from being built on religious grounds, it doesn't mean that the mosque should be built even if it is legal to do so.

Same thing with this Qur'an burning. It is indeed protected under the First Amendment, but just because you can legally do it, doesn't necessarily mean you should. The arguments regarding the GZ mosque and the Qur'an burning are exactly the same, yet the American Left believes that the mosque should be built, but the Qur'ans should not be burned, even though millions of people will be offended if both events take place.

Explain that one to me.

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

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Sacramento Tea Party event this coming Sunday

Four days from now - Sunday, 9/12/2010 - three large Tea Party rallies will be held across the fruited plain; one in Washington D.C., one in St. Louis, Missouri, and one right here in my adopted hometown of Sacramento, California.

The event being held in Sacramento is meant as a venue for all folks - Tea Party or otherwise - along the West Coast. I don't know yet how many people are expected to attend, but I know that it has been talked up by Armstrong and Getty, a popular local morning drive radio team, and the list of speakers at this Sunday's event is quite impressive: The aforementioned Armstrong and Getty, Tammy Bruce, Judge Roy Moore, and local congressional Representative Tom McClintock.

If you live anywhere near the Sacramento region, I urge you attend this 9/12 Tea Party event that is being held at McClellan Air Park which is off of Watt Avenue, north of I-80.

Click this link if you are interested in further details.

See you there?

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

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Back to work

Labor Day is over. Now school really gets under way. Are the students ready?

Nah. Probably not.

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