Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year Thoughts

I like the beginning of a new year and thinking about new goals. I think in history, goals are a relatively new invention. I'm not sure "goals" was even a word just a few hundred years ago.

We reflect on what our lives have been in the past. What do we want to accomplish in the future? We have the freedoms to choose what direction we want our lives to take.

God bless. And may your new year be prosperous.

Achmed the Terrorist

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

-Wish or Do

This is my goal. I want to be that old and have that sense of humor. LIFE is GOOD.

The Fantastic Internet

Today is a normal day for me as regards to the internet.

More and more I'm coming to realize how the internet is changing my life so much for the better. It indeed is transformative and making me a smarter person.

Here are a few things I did today, (it's only 9:30AM):

Went to and bought a webcam. I want to go on "Skype", talk to people in Spanish speaking countries, and enhance my ability to speak Spanish. (Skype uses VOIP, Voice over Internet Protocol, allowing one to speak and see someone from around the world at no cost.)

Went on a number of Spanish speaking websites to study Spanish. Learned about past participle verbs in the regular and irregular tense. Also used a website that had flashcards, further enhancing my learning.

Read a few newspapers/blogs such as Drudge and Instapundit. Also I have Google Reader which allows me to subscribe to blogs that I find give me great value. I'm probably subscribed to about 40 blogs. Whenever anyone makes a new post in their blog that I'm subscribed to, it automatically downloads into my reader.

I've created a blog only for family to view personal pictures and videos. I am now in the process sending out invites to family. Of course I'd like to invite all family, but those who do not have computers do not get the benefit of participating in the blog.

I downloaded podcasts to my Ipod. I will be able to listen to Spanish lessons while on the treadmill or while driving in my car.

So this is somewhat a typical day on the internet. If I read this post 10 years ago, I wouldn't have dreamed it possible. We can be Luddites and refuse to learn these wonderful technologies, or we can embrace them to make our lives and those around us richer.

No longer do I advertise my business in traditional media. All of my business is now coming to me via networking, satisfied customers, and the internet.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our Hero


'I think the game is pretty near up'

The American army was defeated. Outnumbered and demoralized, the ragged soldiers had only escaped complete destruction by a desperate retreat. Some of the troops had deserted, and others we threatening to leave when their enlistments expired.

George Washington's patriot army had been beaten badly in the Battle of Long Island in August 1776, suffering more than 1,300 casualties before Washington could evacuate his troops to Manhattan. But the British commander, William Howe, had followed that by once more defeating the Americans at White Plains in October and again at Fort Washington in November, and Washington was forced to abandon New York.

Retreating across New Jersey, with Howe's Redcoats in pursuit, the only hope for the Americans was to reach Pennsylvania, putting the Delaware River between them and the enemy. Merely to accomplish this retreat was a difficult task. Heavy autumn rains fell, turning the dirt roads to quagmires. Teams of men and horses struggled to pull the army's artillery and wagons through the deep mud.

Yet even if they could escape the pursuing British, there was little hope the Americans could reverse the disasters that had befallen their cause in the five months since they had declared their independence. Many of the volunteer troops under Washington's command had signed up for short-term enlistments, which would expire at the end of the year. It was this gloomy prospect that caused Thomas Paine to write:
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Many more desperate hours lay ahead in the long struggle for American independence, but as fall turned to winter in 1776, it seemed that the flame of liberty was doomed to flicker out forever. One depressed officer wrote home to a relative, "I think the game is pretty near up."

However, as long as there was anything left to fight with -- and anything to fight for -- George Washington would fight. And no sooner had he withdrawn his army into Pennsylvania than Washington began planning what remains arguably the most daring attack in American military history.

Howe believed, quite reasonably, that the colonial rebels had been so badly beated that they would go into winter quarters in Pennsylvania. So the British commander withdrew his main force to New York, and left a string of garrisons to keep an eye on Washington's battered army.

With only 2,400 men fit for duty, Washington issued three days rations and collected every boat available. At 3 p.m. on Christmas Day, the troops gathered on the banks of the Delaware River and prepared for the crossing. The river was icy. Sleet and snow began falling as the troops embarked. It took nearly 12 hours -- until 3 a.m. on December 26 -- to get the entire force across.

The watchword that night was "Victory or Death," and Washington showed his grim determination that morning during the pre-dawn march to Trenton. Maj. Gen. John Sullivan sent a courier to report Sullivan's concern that his men's gunpowder had become wet due to the storm. Washington replied to the courier: "Tell General Sullivan to use the bayonet. I am resolved to take Trenton."

Take it, he did. Shortly after daybreak, Washington's army attacked Trenton, overwhelming the garrison of Hessian mercenaries, cutting off their retreat and capturing nearly 900. Washington followed up, a little more than a week later, with another brilliant victory at Princeton, inflicting 450 casualties on the British.

This surprising reversal of fortune -- a beaten army that rallied to victory -- was a major turning point in the war. Although Trenton and Princeton were relatively minor battles in terms of the numbers engaged on each side, they gave hope to the patriot cause.

And whatever became of that depressed officer, who in a mood of despair wrote home that he feared "the game is pretty near up"?

Well, he went on to a quite remarkable career, both in the military and in politics. You see, that officer's name was none other than George Washington.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

London Symphony

God bless Western Civilization!

CA vs TX

Table of Contents
A quarterly magazine of urban affairs, published by the Manhattan Institute, edited by Brian C. Anderson.
• • • • • • • • •

William Voegeli discusses this story

The Big-Spending, High-Taxing, Lousy-Services Paradigm
California taxpayers don’t get much bang for their bucks.
In 1956, the economist Charles Tiebout provided the framework that best explains why people vote with their feet. The “consumer-voter,” as Tiebout called him, challenges government officials to “ascertain his wants for public goods and tax him accordingly.” Each jurisdiction offers its own package of public goods, along with a particular tax burden needed to pay for those goods. As a result, “the consumer-voter moves to that community whose local government best satisfies his set of preferences.” In selecting a jurisdiction, the mobile consumer-voter is, in effect, choosing a club to join based on the benefits that it offers and the dues that it charges.

America’s federal system allows, at the state level, for 50 different clubs to join. At first glance, the states seem to differ between those that bundle numerous high-quality public benefits with high taxes and those that offer packages of low benefits and low taxes. These alternatives, of course, define the basic argument between liberals and conservatives over the ideal size and scope of government. Except for Oregon, John McCain carried every one of the 17 states with the lowest tax levels in the 2008 presidential election, while Barack Obama won every one of the 17 at the top of the list except for Wyoming and Alaska.

It’s not surprising, then, that an intense debate rages over which model is more satisfactory and sustainable. What is surprising is the growing evidence that the low-benefit, low-tax alternative succeeds not only on its own terms but also according to the criteria used by defenders of high benefits and high taxes. Whatever theoretical claims are made for imposing high taxes to provide generous government benefits, the practical reality is that these public goods are, increasingly, neither public nor good: their beneficiaries are mostly the service providers themselves, and their quality is poor. For evidence, look to the two largest states in the nation, which are fine representatives of the liberal and conservative alternatives.

One out of every five Americans is either a Californian or a Texan. California became the nation’s most populous state in 1962; Texas climbed into second place in 1994. They are broadly similar: populous Sunbelt states with large metropolitan areas, diverse economies, and borders with Mexico producing comparable demographic mixes. Both are “majority-minority” states, where non-Hispanic whites make up just under half of the population and Latinos just over a third.

According to the most recent data available from the Census Bureau, for the fiscal year ending in 2006, Americans paid an average of $4,001 per person in state and local taxes. But Californians paid $4,517 per person, well above that national average, while Texans paid $3,235. It’s worth noting, by the way, that while state and local governments in both California and Texas get most of their revenue from taxes, the revenue is augmented by subsidies from the federal government and by fees charged for governmental services and facilities, such as trash collection, airports, public university tuition, and mass transit. California had total revenues of $11,160 per capita, more than every state but Alaska, Wyoming, and New York, while Texas placed a distant 44th on this scale, with revenues of all governmental entities totaling $7,558 per person.

What might interest Tiebout is that while California and Texas are comparable in terms of sheer numbers, their demographic paths are diverging. Before 1990, both states grew much faster than the rest of the country. Since then, only Texas has continued to do so. While its share of the nation’s population has steadily increased, from 6.8 percent in 1990 to 7.9 percent in 2007, California’s has barely budged, from 12 percent to 12.1 percent.

Unpacking the numbers is even more revealing—and, for California, disturbing. The biggest contrast between the two states shows up in “net internal migration,” the demographer’s term for the difference between the number of Americans who move into a state from another and the number who move out of it to another. Between April 1, 2000, and June 30, 2007, an average of 3,247 more Americans moved out of California than into it every week, according to the Census Bureau. Over the same period, Texas saw a net gain, in an average week, of 1,544 people. Aside from Louisiana and Mississippi, which lost population to other states because of Hurricane Katrina, California is the only Sunbelt state that had negative net internal migration after 2000. All the other states that lost population to internal migration were Rust Belt basket cases, including New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan, and Ohio.

As Tiebout might have guessed, this outmigration has to do with taxes. Besides Mississippi, every one of the 17 states with the lowest state and local tax levels had positive net internal migration from 2000 to 2007. Except for Wyoming, Maine, and Delaware, every one of the 17 highest-tax states had negative net internal migration over the same period. Conservative researchers’ technical explanation for this phenomenon is: “Well, duh.” Or, as Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore wrote in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year: “People, investment capital and businesses are mobile: They can leave tax-unfriendly states and move to tax-friendly states.”

Summarizing the findings of a report they wrote for the American Legislative Exchange Council, Laffer and Moore pointed out that between 1998 and 2007, the states without an individual income tax “created 89 percent more jobs and had 32 percent faster personal income growth” than the states with the highest individual income-tax rates. California’s tax and regulatory policies, the report predicts, “will continue to sap its economic vitality,” while Texas’s “pro-growth” policies will help it “maintain its superior economic performance well into the future.” The clear implication is that California should become more like Texas.

At this point, defenders of the high-benefit, high-tax paradigm push back. Remember the other half of Tiebout’s equation, they say. There’s no need for a state to be like Texas if its high taxes and extensive regulations are part of a package deal that yields more and better public goods and an attractive quality of life.

But that, it turns out, is a big “if.” It’s true that many people are less sensitive to taxes and more concerned about public goods, and these consumer-voters will congregate in places with extensive services. But it’s also true, all things being equal, that everyone would rather pay lower than higher taxes. The high-benefit, high-tax model can work, but only if the high taxes actually purchase high benefits—that is, public goods that far surpass the quality of those available to people who pay low taxes.

And here, California is decidedly lacking. The biggest factor accounting for California’s loss of population to the other 49 states, bond ratings that would embarrass Chrysler or GM, and state politics contentious and feckless enough to shame a banana republic, has to be its public sector’s diminishing willingness and capacity to fulfill its promises to taxpayers. “Twenty years ago, you could go to Texas, where they had very low taxes, and you would see the difference between there and California,” Joel Kotkin, executive editor of and a presidential fellow at Chapman University in Southern California, told the Los Angeles Times this past March. “Today, you go to Texas, the roads are no worse, the public schools are not great but are better than or equal to ours, and their universities are good. The bargain between California’s government and the middle class is constantly being renegotiated to the disadvantage of the middle class.”

Similarly, the CEO of a manufacturing company in suburban Los Angeles told a Times reporter that his business suffered less from California’s high taxes than from its ineffectual services. As a result, the company pays “a fortune” to educate its employees, many of whom graduated from California public schools, “on basic things like writing and math skills.” According to a report issued earlier this year by McKinsey & Company, Texas students “are, on average, one to two years of learning ahead of California students of the same age,” though expenditures per public school student are 12 percent higher in California.

State and local government expenditures as a whole were 46.8 percent higher in California than in Texas in 2005–06—$10,070 per person compared with $6,858. And Texas not only spends its citizens’ dollars more effectively; it emphasizes priorities that are more broadly beneficial. In 2005–06, per-capita spending on transportation was 5.9 percent lower in California than in Texas, and highway expenditures in particular were 9.5 percent lower, a discovery both plausible and infuriating to any Los Angeles commuter losing the will to live while sitting in yet another freeway traffic jam. With tax revenues scarce and voters strongly opposed to surrendering more of their income, Texas officials devote a large share of their expenditures to basic services that benefit the most people. In California, by contrast, more and more spending consists of either transfer payments to government dependents (as in welfare, health, housing, and community development programs) or generous payments to government employees and contractors (reflected in administrative costs, pensions, and general expenditures). Both kinds of spending weaken California’s appeal to consumer-voters, the first because redistributive transfer payments are the least publicly beneficial type of public good, and the second because the dues paid to Club California purchase benefits that, increasingly, are enjoyed by the staff instead of the members.

Californians have the best possible reason to believe that the state’s public sector is not holding up its end of the bargain: clear evidence that it used to do a better job. Bill Watkins, executive director of the Economic Forecast Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara, has calculated that once you adjust for population growth and inflation, the state government spent 26 percent more in 2007–08 than in 1997–98. Back then, “California had teachers. Prisoners were in jail. Health care was provided for those with the least resources.” Today, Watkins asks, “Are the roads 26 percent better? Are schools 26 percent better? What is 26 percent better?”

The steady deterioration of California’s public services hasn’t gone unnoticed. Shortly after his stunning ascension to the governor’s office in 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger established an advisory commission, the California Performance Review (CPR), to recommend ways to make governance in California smarter, cheaper, and better. The commission labored through 2004 before delivering a doorstop report with more than 1,200 recommendations for streamlining this and consolidating that, along with an assessment that implementing the full list of changes could save California $32 billion over the first five years.

And then . . . nothing, really. The 2,500-page report was “dead on arrival,” according to Bill Whalen of the Hoover Institution, “because it was too complicated for voters to rally behind and legislators didn’t want to see it enacted.” Citizen Schwarzenegger may have assumed that his personal star power and the CPR recommendations’ plodding good sense would make a politically irresistible combination. Such reckoning failed to account for the formidable ability of even the most obscure and otiose governmental body to hunker down, defend its turf, and outlast mere politicians.

The CPR, for example, recommended abolishing dozens of California’s commissions and advisory boards, either outright or by folding their activities into a simpler and more rational organizational structure. Five years later, few of these vestigial organs have been removed. The many that remain include the Commission on Aging, whose lead accomplishment for 2009 is getting the legislature to declare a Fall Prevention Week (which began on the first day of autumn, naturally); the Apprenticeship Council, “which has been in place since the 1930s,” according to the CPR, and “is no longer needed to perform regulatory and advisory responsibilities”; the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology; the Court Reporters Board; and the Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau.

The point is not that turning a flamethrower on every item in the Museum of Governmental Anachronisms would have saved California a great deal of money. It is, rather, that abolishing these boards and commissions, whose names are talk-radio punch lines, would have been the easy calls, the obvious first steps toward giving California’s taxpayers a decent return on their surrendered dollars. Yet even the low-hanging fruit proved out of reach. The path of least resistance was to do the same old thing, not the sensible thing.

The resistance comes from the blob of interest groups, inside and outside government, that like California’s public sector just fine the way it is and see reform as a threat to their comfortable, lucrative arrangements. It turns out, for example, that all the pointless boards and commissions are bulletproof because they provide golden parachutes to politicians turned out of the state legislature by California’s strict term limits. In the middle of the state’s most recent budget crisis, State Senator Tony Strickland proposed a bill to eliminate salaries paid to members of boards and commissions who, despite holding fewer than two formal hearings or official meetings per month, had received annual compensation in excess of $100,000. The bill died in committee.

James Madison would have to revise—or possibly burn—Federalist No. 10 if he were forced to account for the new phenomenon of the government itself becoming the faction decisively shaping its own policy and conduct. (See “Madison’s Nightmare” in City Journal’s 2009 special issue, “New York’s Tomorrow.”) This faction dominates because it’s playing a much longer game than the politicians who come and go, not to mention the citizens who rarely read the enormous owner’s manual for the Rube Goldberg machine they feed with their dollars. They rarely stay outraged long enough to make a difference.

Take entitlements and public-employee pensions, which are, Watkins says, “the real source of the state’s fiscal distress.” A 2005 study by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (California’s version of the Congressional Budget Office) found that pensions for California’s government employees “surpassed the other states—often significantly—at all retirement ages.” California government workers retiring at age 55 received larger pensions than their counterparts in any other state (leaving aside the many states where retirement as early as 55 isn’t even possible). The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility periodically posts a list of retired city managers, state administrators, public university deans, and police chiefs who receive pensions of at least $100,000 per year. The latest report shows 5,115 lucky members in this six-figure club. The state’s annual bill for polishing their gold watches is $610 million.

Again, the most vivid part of the problem is not the most important. California would move only slightly closer to regaining fiscal health if it scraped the gilding off the pensions and health benefits of its most lucratively retired employees. But when even a flagrant example of a government’s serving its workforce better than its citizens is politically unassailable, it’s hard to be hopeful about the mundane reforms needed to change the rest of the economically debilitating public-employee retirement system. The California Performance Review suggested the sensible thing: gradually substituting defined-contribution for defined-benefit pension plans. (According to a report by the Pew Center on the States, just 20 percent of the nation’s private-sector employees are enrolled in a defined-benefit pension plan, compared with 90 percent of public-sector employees.) To no one’s shock, the state legislature has rejected all proposals to curb the state’s financial obligations to its retired and retiring employees.

If California doesn’t want to be Texas, it must find a way to be a better California. The easy thing about being Texas is that the government has a great deal of control over the part of its package deal that attracts consumer-voters—it must merely keep taxes low. California, on the other hand, must deliver on the high benefits promised in its sales pitch. It won’t be enough for its state and local governments to spend a lot of money; they have to spend it efficiently and effectively.

The optimistic assessment is that things are going to get worse in California before they get better. The pessimistic assessment is that they’re going to get worse before they get much worse. As is often the case, hanging around with the pessimists is less fun but more instructive. The current recession has driven California’s state government into what amounts to a five-month budget cycle, according to Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee. He estimates that the budget deal tortuously wrought in July should start falling apart in October, because it was predicated on pie-in-the-sky revenue estimates and because so many of its spending cuts are being challenged, often successfully, in the courts.

The recession will eventually end and California’s finances will improve, say the optimists. Given the state’s pervasive political bias against efficient and effective public services, however, the question is whether its finances will ever get truly well. States that have grown accustomed to thinking of the engine that drives their economies as an inexhaustible resource—whether it’s Michigan and the auto industry, New York and Wall Street, or California and the vision of the sunlit good life that used to attract new residents—find it tough to compete again for what they thought would be theirs forever, and to plan budgets for lean years that turn into lean decades. Instead, they invest their hopes in a deus ex machina that will rescue them from the hard choices they dread.

For California’s governmental-industrial complex, a new liberal administration and Congress in Washington offer plausible hope for a happy Hollywood ending. Federal aid will replace the dollars that California’s taxpayers, fed up with the state’s lousy benefits and high taxes, refuse to provide. Americans will continue to vote with their feet, either by leaving California or disdaining relocation there, but their votes won’t matter, at least in the short term. Under the coming bailout, the new 49ers—Americans in the other 49 states, that is—will be extended the privilege of paying California’s taxes. At least they won’t have to put up with its public services.

William Voegeli is a contributing editor of The Claremont Review of Books and a visiting scholar at Claremont McKenna College’s Salvatori Center. His book on the American welfare state will be published by Encounter in 2010.

Nat Hentoff-Obama

America Under Barack Obama
An Interview with Nat Hentoff

by John W. Whitehead
by John W. Whitehead
Recently by John W. Whitehead: If the President Does It, It's Not Illegal?

"I try to avoid hyperbole, but I think Obama is possibly the most dangerous and destructive president we have ever had."

~ Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff has had a life well spent, one chock full of controversy fueled by his passion for the protection of civil liberties and human rights. Hentoff is known as a civil libertarian, free speech activist, anti-death penalty advocate, pro-lifer and not uncommon critic of the ideological left.

At 84, Nat Hentoff is an American classic who has never shied away from an issue. For example, he defended a woman rejected from law school because she was Caucasian; called into a talk show hosted by Oliver North to agree with him on liberal intolerance for free speech; was a friend to the late Malcolm X; and wrote the liner notes for Bob Dylan's second album.

A self-described uncategorizable libertarian, Hentoff adds he is also a "Jewish atheist, civil libertarian, pro-lifer." Accordingly, he has angered nearly every political faction and remains one of a few who has stuck to his principles through his many years of work, regardless of the trouble it stirred up. For instance, when he announced his opposition to abortion he alienated numerous colleagues, and his outspoken denunciation of President Bill Clinton only increased his isolation in liberal circles (He said that Clinton had "done more harm to the Constitution than any president in American history," and called him "a serial violator of our liberties.").

Born in Boston on June 10, 1925, Hentoff received a B.A. with honors from Northeastern University and did graduate work at Harvard. From 1953 to 1957, he was associate editor of Down Beat magazine. He has written many books on jazz, biographies and novels, including children's books. His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Commonwealth, the New Republic, the Atlantic and the New Yorker, where he was a staff writer for more than 25 years. In 1980, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Education and an American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award for his coverage of the law and criminal justice in his columns. In 1985, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Northeastern University. For 50 years, Hentoff wrote a weekly column for the Village Voice. But that publication announced that he had been terminated on December 31, 2008. In February 2009, Hentoff joined the Cato Institute as a Senior Fellow.

Hentoff's views on the rights of Americans to write, think and speak freely are expressed in his columns. He is also an authority on First Amendment defense, the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court, students' rights and education. Friends and critics alike describe him as the kind of writer, and citizen, that all should aspire to be – "less interested in 'exclusives' than in 'making a difference.'" Critiquing Hentoff's autobiography, Speaking Freely, Nicholas von Hoffman refers to him as "a trusting man, a gentle man, just and undeviatingly consistent."

Hentoff took to heart the words from his mentor, I. F. "Izzy" Stone, the renowned investigative journalist who died in 1989: "If you're in this business because you want to change the world, get another day job. If you are able to make a difference, it will come incrementally, and you might not even know about it. You have to get the story and keep on it because it has to be told."

Nat Hentoff has earned the well-deserved reputation of being one of our nation's most respected, controversial and uncompromising writers. He began his career at the Village Voice because he wanted a place to write freely on anything he cared about. And his departure from the publication has neither dampened his zeal nor tempered his voice.

Hentoff, whose new book, At the Jazz Band Ball – Sixty Years on the Jazz Scene (University of California Press), is due out in 2010, took some time to speak with me about Barack Obama, the danger of his health care plan, the peril of civil liberties, and a host of other issues.

John W. Whitehead: When Barack Obama was a U.S. Senator in 2005, he introduced a bill to limit the Patriot Act. Now that he is president, he has endorsed the Patriot Act as is. What do you think happened with Obama?

Nat Hentoff: I try to avoid hyperbole, but I think Obama is possibly the most dangerous and destructive president we have ever had. An example is ObamaCare, which is now embattled in the Senate. If that goes through the way Obama wants, we will have something very much like the British system. If the American people have their health care paid for by the government, depending on their age and their condition, they will be subject to a health commission just like in England which will decide if their lives are worth living much longer.

In terms of the Patriot Act, and all the other things he has pledged he would do, such as transparency in government, Obama has reneged on his promises. He pledged to end torture, but he has continued the CIA renditions where you kidnap people and send them to another country to be interrogated. Why is Obama doing that if he doesn't want torture anymore? Throughout Obama's career, he promised to limit the state secrets doctrine which the Bush-Cheney administration had abused enormously. The Bush administration would go into court on any kind of a case that they thought might embarrass them and would argue that it was a state secret and the case should not be continued. Obama is doing the same thing, even though he promised not to.

So in answer to your question, I am beginning to think that this guy is a phony. Obama seems to have no firm principles that I can discern that he will adhere to. His only principle is his own aggrandizement. This is a very dangerous mindset for a president to have.

JW: Do you consider Obama to be worse than George W. Bush?

NH: Oh, much worse. Bush essentially came in with very little qualifications for presidency, not only in terms of his background but he lacked a certain amount of curiosity, and he depended entirely too much on people like Rumsfeld, Cheney and others. Bush was led astray and we were led astray. However, I never thought that Bush himself was, in any sense, "evil." I am hesitant to say this about Obama. Obama is a bad man in terms of the Constitution. The irony is that Obama was a law professor at the University of Chicago. He would, most of all, know that what he is doing weakens the Constitution.

In fact, we have never had more invasions of privacy than we have now. The Fourth Amendment is on life support and the chief agent of that is the National Security Agency. The NSA has the capacity to keep track of everything we do on the phone and on the internet. Obama has done nothing about that. In fact, he has perpetuated it. He has absolutely no judicial supervision of all of this. So all in all, Obama is a disaster.

JW: Obama is not reversing the Bush policies as he promised. But even in light of this, many on the Left are very, very quiet about Obama. Why is that?

NH: I am an atheist, although I very much admire and have been influenced by many traditionally religious people. I say this because the Left has taken what passes for their principles as an absolute religion. They don't think anymore. They just react. When they have somebody like Obama whom they put into office, they believed in the religious sense and, of course, that is a large part of the reason for their silence on these issues. They are very hesitant to criticize Obama, but that is beginning to change. Even on the cable network MSNBC, some of the strongest proponents of Obama are now beginning to question, if I may use their words, their "deity."

JW: Is the so-called health commission that you referred to earlier what some people are referring to as death panels? Is that too strong a word?

NH: That term was used with hyperbole about the parts of the health care bill where doctors are mandated, if people are on Medicare and of a certain age or in serious physical condition, to counsel them on their end-of-life alternatives. I don't believe that was a death panel. It was done to get the Medicare doctors to not spend too much money on them. The death panel issue arose with Tom Daschle, who was originally going to be the Health Czar. Daschle became enamored with the British system and wrote a book about health care, which influenced President Obama.

In England, you have what I would call government-imposed euthanasia. Under the British healthcare system, there is a commission that decides whether or not, based on your age and physical condition, the government should continue to pay for your health. That leads to the government not doing it and you gradually or suddenly die. The present Stimulus Bill sets up the equivalent commission in the United States similar to that which is in England. The tipoff was months ago on the ABC network. President Obama was given a full hour to describe and endorse his health plan. A woman in the audience asked Obama about her mother. Her mother was, I believe, 101 years old and was in need of a certain kind of procedure. Her doctor didn't want to do it because of her age. However, another doctor did and told this woman there is a joy of life in this person. The woman asked President Obama how he would deal with this sort of thing, and Obama said we cannot consider the joy of life in this situation. He said I would advise her to take a pain killer. That is the essence of the President of the United States.

JW: Do you think Obama is shallow?

NH: It's much worse than that. Obama has little, if any, principles except to aggrandize and make himself more and more important. You see that in his foreign policy. Obama lacks a backbone – both a constitutional backbone and a personal backbone. This is a man who is causing us and will cause us a great deal of harm constitutionally and personally. I say personally because I am 84 years old, and this is the first administration that has scared me in terms of my lifespan.

JW: But he is praised for his charisma and great smile. He can make people believe things just by his personality.

NH: That was a positive factor in his election. A good many people voted for Obama, and I'm not only talking about the black vote. A lot of people voted for Obama because of our history of racial discrimination in this country. They felt good even though they didn't really know much about him and may have had some doubts. But at least they showed the world we could elect a black president. And that is still part of what he is riding on. Except that, too, is diminishing. In the recent Virginia election, the black vote diminished. Now why was that? I think a lot of black folks are wondering what this guy is really going to do, not only for them but for the country. If the country is injured, they will be injured. That may be sinking in.

JW: One of the highest unemployment rates in the country is among African-Americans.

NH: Not only that, the general unemployment rate is going to continue for a long time and for all of us. I have never heard so many heart-wrenching stories of all kinds of people all across the economic spectrum. As usual, the people who are poorest – the blacks, Hispanics and disabled people – are going to suffer more than anyone else under the Obama administration. This is a dishonest administration, because it is becoming clear that the unemployment statistics of the Obama administration are not believable. I can't think of a single area where Obama is not destructive.

JW: A lot of people we represent and I talk to feel that their government does not hear them, that their representatives do not listen to them anymore. As a result, you have these Tea Party protests which the Left has criticized. What do you think of the Tea Party protests?

NH: I spent a lot of time studying our Founders and people like Samuel Adams and the original Tea Party. What Adams and the Sons of Liberty did in Boston was spread the word about the abuses of the British. They had Committees of Correspondence that got the word out to the colonies. We need Committees of Correspondence now, and we are getting them. That is what is happening with the Tea Parties. I wrote a column called "The Second American Revolution" about the fact that people are acting for themselves as it happened with the Sons of Liberty which spread throughout the colonies. That was a very important awakening in this country. A lot of people in the adult population have a very limited idea as to why they are Americans, why we have a First Amendment or a Bill of Rights.

JW: Less than 3% of high school students can pass the immigration test while over 90% of people from foreign countries can pass it. The questions are simple – such as, "What is the supreme law of the land?" or "Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?" Civic education in the United States is basically dead.

NH: I have been in schools around the country, and I have written on education for years. Once, I was once doing a profile on Justice William Brennan and I was in his chambers, and Brennan asked, "How do we get the words of the Bill of Rights into the lives of the students?" Well, it is not difficult. You tell them stories. When I speak to students, I tell them why we have a First Amendment. I tell them about the Committees of Correspondence. I tell them how in a secret meeting of the Raleigh Tavern in Virginia, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, who did not agree with each other, started a Committee of Correspondence.

Young people get very excited when they hear why they are Americans. It is not hard to do. We hear talk now about reforming public education. There are billions of dollars at stake for such a reform. But I have not heard Arne Duncan, who is the U.S. Education Secretary, mention once the civic illiteracy in the country.

JW: Adults are constitutionally illiterate as well.

NH: A few years ago, I was lecturing at the Columbia Journalism School of Education. I asked them about what was happening to the Fourth Amendment. I said, "By the way, do you know what is in the Fourth Amendment?" One student responded, "Is that the right to bear arms?" It's hard to believe these are bright students.

JW: I ask law students who attend our Summer Internship Program to name the five freedoms in the First Amendment. I have yet to find one who can.

NH: That is a stunner.

JW: You lived through the McCarthy era in the 1950s. Is it worse now than it was then?

NH: McCarthy's regime was ended by Senators who realized that he had gone too far. What we have now may be more insidious. What we have now in America is a surveillance society. We have no idea how much the government knows and how much the CIA even knows about average citizens. The government is not supposed to be doing this in this country. They listen in on our phone calls. I am not exaggerating because I have studied this a long time. You have to be careful about what you do, about what you say, and that is more dangerous than what was happening with McCarthy, but the technology the government now possesses is so much more insidious.

JW: You don't sound very optimistic.

NH: If James Madison or Thomas Jefferson were brought back to life and they looked at television and read the papers, they would not recognize the country.

The media has been very bad about informing us about what is going on. They focus on surface things. They do not focus enough on the fact that the Fourth Amendment is on life support and that we need a return to transparency in government. The media ignores what is really going on. But I am optimistic. I have to be optimistic, as I know you are. That is why you keep writing and keep doing what you do. You have to do this because we have been through very dark periods before. There are enough people who are starting to be actively involved that we can turn things around. And we need to encourage others to become involved.

December 24, 2009

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead [send him mail] is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute.

Copyright © 2009 The Rutherford Institute

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Written by Victor Davis Hanson (As brilliant as ever)

Where Did These Guys Come From?

The Origins of Obamism

I do not think it will be easy to delay Obamism. It is not just that both houses of Congress are under liberal leadership with ample majorities, with a White House and captive media egging them on. The problem is that now the entire engine of the federal government is harnessed in the most unapologetic way to pushing through a far left agenda. There is no shame, no hesitancy in using the full powers of the state.

How does that work out? Without qualification (remember we are in a new age of transparency and ethical reform) votes are bought with hundred-million-dollar earmarks; the attorney general predicates judicial action on the political ramifications of indicting or not indicting; federal bureaucracies (watch the EPA if cap and trade stalls) are devoted to the new Caesar rather than the letter of the law.

Such a strange scenario we have found ourselves in—a clear majority of Americans is opposed to almost everything Obama has to offer; congressional representatives know they are acting against the will of the people, but know too that they are offered all sorts of borrowed money for their districts to compensate for their unpopular actions. And a charismatic commander in chief believes that he can charm even the angriest of critics, and that anything he promises (Iran’s deadlines, closing of Guantanamo, new transparency, no more lobbyists, etc) means zilch and can be contextualized by another “let me be perfectly clear” speech spiced with a couple of the usual “it would have been impossible for someone as unlikely as me to have become President just (fill in the blanks) years ago”

No, I would not count Obama out. So what drives his agenda? What are its origins?

Here are the three most prominent catalysts.

Equality of Result

What Barack Obama advocates is as old as Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics, the agenda of the classical dêmos and Roman turba.

It is why the French Revolution emphasized égalité and fraternité, while the Founding Fathers instead championed the freedom of the individual from the despotism of the state. In short, equality of result doctrine ignores the role of markets, of skills, of tragedy itself that renders some of us ill, others in perfect health, some born gifted, others less so, some evil by nature, others good, and instead promises that the state can even us all out through its power of material redistribution. Give us all the same amount of money and perks at the end of the day, and then utopia reigns under the benevolent watch of Ivy-League professors and organizers.

It is a given that what we make is not our own, but predicated on the liberality of society. Thus, for those who were too greedy, too conniving, or even too lucky, the state must step in to ensure that we end up the same.

In its most benign form, we know this as progressivism or communitarianism, a big government, high tax philosophy that co-exists within democracy. Its more pernicious strains are socialist, in which the state ensures, through bureaucratic fiat and a labyrinth of laws that curb free expression, that redistribution is institutionalized. And the virulent form (thankfully with the fall of the Soviet Union and the transformation of China not so global-threatening any more) is, of course, a murderous communism, in which any means necessary are justified to ensure the desire ends and the rule of anointed apparat. Remember, history’s greatest killers (Stalin and Mao) do it all “for the people.”


But there is another element to Barack Obama besides progressive statism. A number of contemporary –isms and –ologies (multiculturalism, moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, post-modernism) also help to explain Obamism, especially in cultural terms. Our universities subscribe to race/class/gender theory of exploitation, in which much of the unhappiness of today’s women, of today’s nonwhite, and of today’s poor originates with the privileges of the white Christian Western male that are predicated on oppression.

It works like this: The ghetto resident, the denizen of the barrio, the abandoned and divorced waitress with three young children, can all chart their poverty and unhappiness not to accident, fate, bad luck, bad decisions, poor judgment, illegality or drug use, or simple tragedy, but rather exclusively to a system that is rigged to ensure oppression on the basis of race, class, and gender—often insidious and unfathomable except to the sensitive and gifted academic or community organizer.

So Obama combines the age-old belief that the state is there to level the playing field (rather than protect the rights of the individual and secure the safety of the people from foreign threats), with the postmodern notion that government must recompensate those by fiat on the basis on their race or class or gender. Remember all that, and everything from the Professor Gates incident, to the dutiful attendance at the foot of Rev. Wright to Van Jones become logical rather than aberrant. Michelle Obama could make $300,000 and she will always be more a victim than the Appalachian coal miner who earns $30,000, by virtue of her race and gender.

The Chicago Way

A third and final ingredient to Obamism is the Chicago way. Here we see an interesting updated version of the old big-city, Daley thuggery. Rahm Emanuel threatens recalcitrant congressmen with reminders of the long Obama memory. The Axelrod/Jarrett clique ensures that the government channels stimuli to blue-states, that key Congress people are bought off with tens of millions of government largess, that every campaign promise—from no lobbyists and airing on C-span health care debates to posting impending legislation on the Internet for set durations and “reaching across the aisle”—is simply cynical fluff that no sane person would take seriously.


In short, we have a traditional statist bent on redistribution (Obama’s words, not mine), updated with the postmodern belief that race/class/gender oppressions require government affirmative reactions (which also abroad explains why we reach out to enemies and shun allies), all energized by an ends justify the means Chicago bare-knuckles apparat.


These true believers, then, don’t really care that the Blue Dogs (if such really exist) bite the dust in 2010, if Harry Reid goes up in smoke, or indeed, if Barack Obama is reelected. Instead, they will institutionalize an agenda that will affect America for generations, move it sharply to the left, and earn a spot in the academic pantheon of American heroes.

Asking why would Obama & Co. be so self-destructive to push through an array of proposals that have no more than 45% of the public’s support is like asking whether the English Prof who teaches incomprehensible Foucauldian theory worries whether he has only 2 students, or whether the well-off union boss is all that upset that membership has sunk to 30% of the workforce, or multimillion-dollar-earning Sarah Palin-interviewing Katie Couric is worried about her sinking ratings, or whether the New York Times columnists are upset that their mother paper is broke with subscription and readership down, and laying off thousands of blue-collar employees.

Instead, for the true believer, it is all about the self, and the sense of the self—and damn all other considerations. (We saw that with Jimmy Carter as well; that he destroyed liberal Democrat politics for a generation meant nothing; that he won prizes and jet-setted the world for thirty years meant everything. For these people, it is always about them—all the time. Let us eat cake as they end up liberal icons for the duration).

What Are We Left With?

The most blatant cynicism in recent American political history—a man who ran as a bipartisan who is the most partisan we’ve seen, a healer whose even flippant comments are designed to offend, a statist who assumes that the sheared sheep cannot stampede somewhere else, a reformer who trusts his honey-laced rhetoric can disguise Daley style-corruption.

On that happy note.

Everything, as my dear late mother lectured me, happens for a reason, or at least presents a sort of logic—irony, paradox, karma, and nemesis being the best ways of interpreting our unfathomable existences. It took messianic narcissistic Barack Obama to expose the full extent of the mess that a once noble tradition of 19th-century liberalism had devolved into. Only he could have rammed it down the throats of the American people, and when he is done, we will suffer, but also sicken of it for quite a while.

Otherwise, Merry Christmas! And thanks again to the most informed, articulate, and outspoken commentators in the blogosphere!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Capitalism and Freedom

The United States is on the brink of passing legislation that will give government control of over 1/6 of our nation's economy.

I just started reading Milton Friedman's book,
Capitalism and Freedom
and he says:

"The scope of government must be limited. Its major function must be to protect our freedom, to preserve law and order, to enforce private contracts, to foster competitive markets."

From Copenhagen 15, the most leftest president Obama, to more and more government control of American industry, America is no longer the country it once was.

From Michael Goodwyn:

I am afraid for my country.
I am afraid -- actually, certain -- we are losing the heart and soul that made America unique in human history. Yes, we have enemies, but the greatest danger comes from within.

Watching the freak show in Copenhagen last week, I was alternately furious and filled with dread. The world has gone absolutely bonkers and lunatics are in charge.

Mugabe and Chavez are treated with respect and the United Nations is serious about wanting to regulate our industry and transfer our wealth to kleptocrats and genocidal maniacs.

Even more frightening, our own leaders joined the circus. Marching to the beat of international drummers, they uncoupled themselves from the will of the people they were elected to serve.

President Obama, for whom I voted because I believed he was the best choice available, is a profound disappointment. I now regard his campaign as a sly bait-and-switch operation, promising one thing and delivering another. Shame on me.

Equally surprising, he has become an insufferable bore. The grace notes and charm have vanished, with peevishness and petty spite his default emotions. His rhetorical gifts now serve his loathsome habit of fear-mongering.

"Time is running out," he says, over and again. He said it on health care, on the stimulus, in Copenhagen, on Iran.

Instead of provoking thought and inspiring ideas, the man hailed for his Ivy League nuance insists we stop thinking and do what he says. Now.

His assertion we will go bankrupt unless Congress immediately adopts the health monstrosity marks a new low. At least it did until he barged into a meeting in Copenhagen to insult the Chinese with the same do-it-now arrogance on carbon emissions.

Don't get me wrong -- it's OK to insult the Chinese, but save it for an urgent life-and-death issue. Iran qualifies, with its plans for a nuclear arsenal, yet Obama has not pushed China on that issue with the fervor of his attacks on their dirty smokestacks.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gerald Warner

From the Telegraph's Gerald Warner

Gerald Warner
Gerald Warner is an author, broadcaster, columnist and polemical commentator who writes about politics, religion, history, culture and society in general.

Copenhagen climate summit: 'most important paper in the world' is a glorified UN press release

By Gerald Warner World Last updated: December 18th, 2009
155 Comments Comment on this article

When your attempt at recreating the Congress of Vienna with a third-rate cast of extras turns into a shambles, when the data with which you have tried to terrify the world is daily exposed as ever more phoney, when the blatant greed and self-interest of the participants has become obvious to all beholders, when those pesky polar bears just keep increasing and multiplying – what do you do?

No contest: stop issuing three rainforests of press releases every day, change the heading to James Bond-style “Do not distribute” and “leak” a single copy, in the knowledge that human nature is programmed to interest itself in anything it imagines it is not supposed to see, whereas it would bin the same document unread if it were distributed openly.

After that, get some unbiased, neutral observer, such as the executive director of Greenpeace, to say: “This is the single most important piece of paper in the world today.” Unfortunately, the response of all intelligent people will be to fall about laughing; but it was worth a try – everybody loves a tryer – and the climate alarmists are no longer in a position to pick and choose their tactics.

But boy! Was this crass, or what? The apocalyptic document revealing that even if the Western leaders hand over all the climate Danegeld demanded of them, appropriately at the venue of Copenhagen, the earth will still fry on a 3C temperature rise is the latest transparent scare tactic to extort more cash from taxpayers. The danger of this ploy, of course, is that people might say “If we are going to be chargrilled anyway, what is the point of handing over billions – better to get some serious conspicuous consumption in before the ski slopes turn into saunas.”

This “single most important piece of paper in the world” comes, presumably, from an authoritative and totally neutral source? Yes, of course. It’s from the – er – UN Framework Committee on Climate Change that is – er – running the Danegeld Summit. Some people might be small-minded enough to suggest this paper has as much authority as a “leaked” document from Number 10 revealing that life would be hell under the Tories.

This week has been truly historic. It has marked the beginning of the landslide that is collapsing the whole AGW imposture. The pseudo-science of global warming is a global laughing stock and Copenhagen is a farce. In the warmist camp the Main Man is a railway engineer with huge investments in the carbon industry. That says it all. The world’s boiler being heroically damped down by the Fat Controller. Al Gore, occupant of the only private house that can be seen from space, so huge is its energy consumption, wanted to charge punters $1,200 to be photographed with him at Copenhagen. There is a man who is really worried about the planet’s future.

If there were not $45trillion of Western citizens’ money at stake, this would be the funniest moment in world history. What a bunch of buffoons. Not since Neville Chamberlain tugged a Claridge’s luncheon bill from his pocket and flourished it on the steps of the aircraft that brought him back from Munich has a worthless scrap of paper been so audaciously hyped. There was one good moment at Copenhagen, though: some seriously professional truncheon work by Danish Plod on the smellies. Otherwise, this event is strictly for Hans Christian Andersen

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Al, don't debate me, Gore

Kinda Like My Wife

Husband, Wife Die Just Moments Apart
Updated: Wednesday, 16 Dec 2009, 9:44 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 16 Dec 2009, 9:42 PM EST


(MYFOX NATIONAL) - A couple who shared a 59-year love affair died on Saturday just moments apart from each other.

The Northwest Florida Daily News reports that James and Lolie Brackin met when he was 19 and she was 16 and they married later the same year. They went on to have four daughters. Their youngest daughter, Dana Troublefield, told the Daily News that Lolie didn't like to go anywhere alone.

"They say when you die, you're immediately in the presence of Jesus," Troublefield said. "I think she got up there and said, 'Where's my husband?' And Jesus said, 'Just a minute. I'm working on that."

See photos of the Brackins

The Brackins' oldest daughter, Carol Gruver, said that James told her he was afraid of what would happen to Lolie when he died.

"He was just waiting for her to go home to heaven so he could go with her," Gruver said.

Over the past few years, both James and Lolie saw their health decline. James was blind and suffered strokes. Lolie had been in and out of a nursing home. The week before they died, James joined Lolie at the nursing home where he was put in the same room as Lolie. The Daily News reports that they spent one night together and even had breakfast together on Saturday morning.

Lolie had told the nurse that morning that she felt different on Saturday and that she thought she was going to die. Shortly thereafter, a nurse found that Lolie wasn't breathing. Then just moments later, James passed away. The doctor said that it was likely shock that killed James.

"We're going to miss them terribly, but we're glad this happened the way it did," Gruver said. "He was waiting. It's a good thing that he was in the room when she passed."

In July another couple proved they were the product of true love when they were reunited and married after a love letter written 10 years ago was found.


My wife, when I pass, already has her ticket booked for Cabo. She told me, "that's heaven". Who am I to argue.

She told me she'll also be bringing a surprise guest.

I'm so lucky, she always thinks of me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On Learning

I'm finding that what brings me joy is learning. I love to read, to study, and gather information. Certainly I have other pleasures in life, but I believe learning, which facilitates discovery, is my greatest source of pleasure.

What makes a good teacher? I think someone who can make learning simple. Years ago I heard something I'll never forget: The sign of a genius is everything is simple. When I heard that I thought, "Yeah, once you know something, of course it's simple because you know how to do it".

I've been learning Spanish for the longest time. And though I've studied verbs, I always found them difficult. I listened to a teacher recently talk about verbs and he mentioned how they connect the noun and the object together to make sense. Now what he said may have not been profound, but after he explained it, I took on a new appreciation for learning Spanish verbs. No longer is it a hated project I must learn, but I can study its beauty and complexity in new ways.

The internet truly allows learning to be accomplished on a fast tract. Whatever we desire to learn is right at our fingertips. And then through links, it may take us in directions we never thought. I think I'm learning more today that at any period of my life. And I think it will continue.

Common Sense AGW

Lord Monckton on Climategate at the 2nd International Climate Conference from CFACT on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Speed of Communication

Before the invention of the telegraph, the means of communicating across the United States was accomplished via The Pony Express. And I am willing to bet in those times people marveled at the wonderment of writing a letter in San Francisco and could be read by someone on the East Coast in as short a time as 10 days.

To give an idea how communication is now:

Friday the story broke about Tiger Woods putting his golf career on hold. It had just happened. I'm downstairs watching TV about the just breaking story, and my wife comes down and mentions it, she had just viewed it on her computer.

We started talking as though it was a normal part of our life. Well, I was so impressed by that. Something that just happened, we both find out separately in a matter of minutes, and then we're ruminating on the subject. Incredible. And this is our life.

It was almost 10 years ago I said to a friend: "I don't know how life can get any better". And I'm continually surprised how my life is enriched everyday.

Everyday our lives are getting better and better. It's a fact.

That's why I want to live a long long life. With age truly comes wisdom. And I believe the way we are wired, we want to give back. Man, through pursuing his own selfish interest, makes the world better for all.

Look at the great Warren Buffett. After all his billions it's his goal to now give most of his money away and try to do the greatest good.

While others want to destroy, most want to world to be a better place.

Lord Moncton on the Street

Ouch, this is painful.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hubble Telescope

Thank you Bob

I am so proud to be a member of the human race.

Dennis Miller

From the

Dennis Miller: Swingin' Copenhagen
By: Dennis Miller
OpEd Contributor
December 11, 2009

So it's come to this. If, and I say if only because it isn't, global warming is a man-made desecration of the planet, the head table of that desecration has been set up this week in Copenhagen under the aegis of stopping the man-made desecration of the planet.

Crazy, huh? But there is a darker vibe about the craziness this time around. I used to feel it was funny crazy, UFO-Loch Ness crazy. Now though, it's becoming disturbing crazy.

In the wake of the publishing of the East Anglia e-mails, I'm beginning to see a Roy Cohn-at-Tailgunner-Joe's-side quality in some of the more zealous climatological gurus' incessant bleats.

(By the way, how much CO2 does a whiny bleat put out into the atmosphere?)
Some of them are no doubt vaguely cognizant of the fact that they might have way overbet this hand and that there's now something much more important in play than the plight of the planet. And that of course would be their reputations and standing in the herd of man.

You ever come across raccoons in the outdoor trash can at 11:30 or so at night? As soon as they're exposed by the beam of the flashlight (by the way, how much CO2 does the beam of a flashlight put into the atmosphere?), they turn on you with fangs and paws and let you know what follows will be a short conversation with very little talking involved.

Currently, climate scientists are raccoons hip-deep in statistical garbage and you should approach them with caution because they are unarmed (with facts) and dangerous.

In lieu of having the facts (i.e., the thermometer!) bear out their hypothesis, they are now going to have to get creative. They are going to have to press the bet now and steer into the delusional skid, and that sort of desperation makes for a really unsavory individual no matter how much good they are ostensibly doing for their fellow man.

Deniers will be disparaged, data will be fudged and theories will be advanced that are, if possible, even more wing-nuttier than some of the claptrap currently out there. If heretofore depictions of Manhattan under water in the year 2057 were shown to sixth-graders, they're going to have to drop it down to preschoolers in deference to the Gullibility Expansion Joint.

I say we offer them a lifeline right now. Come back little Sheba. Come to Papa. You went a little nuts. We understand. Of course, now that the fever dream has broken, you, too, realize that the ups and downs of temperature are what we call "the weather."

Of course the only truly creepy thing "the weather" could do would be to remain perpetually constant. Now that would be weird!

Prodigal your loony self right back over here! We forgive you and we just thank God that the light bulb of pragmatic inspiration finally switched on for you.
(By the way, how much CO2 does the light bulb of pragmatic inspiration finally switching on for you put into the atmosphere?)

Comedian and commentator extraordinaire Dennis Miller appears regularly in the "Miller Time" segment of "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News, as well as his own daily talk radio show ( heard on more than 250 stations across the country.


If anyone knows: What does this mean:

In the wake of the publishing of the East Anglia e-mails, I'm beginning to see a Roy Cohn-at-Tailgunner-Joe's-side quality in some of the more zealous climatological gurus' incessant bleats.

Old Way vs. New Way

Let me use a golf analogy. Around the green, but not on the green, it is standard to use a wedge to hit the ball close to the pin. Most amateurs use this strategy and fail.

What I discovered yesterday, was to use a wood golf club to hit these little chip shots. A wood is a club that is used to hit the ball a long way. It is incongruent to use a wood to hit the ball only 10 feet or so.

But the reality is that the wood club is so much easier to hit. In fact it’s almost impossible to not hit the ball properly. The alternative is the wedge. The wedge is what is used by the pros in almost all cases. But of course they practice all the time and they are quite adept at using that club. The amateur will often hit the ground first with the wedge or hit the ball thin causing the ball to go way past the hole.

So yesterday while playing golf, I dropped numerous balls around the fringe of the green and used a wood instead of a wedge. Not only was the shot making less stressful, but I was consistently closer. It was once a difficult shot, now it’s an easy shot.

Now not every shot was close to the hole. But even so, they were still acceptable shots. Now when I play in competition, I’ll be using the wood instead of the wedge to do these shots. And possibly this will lead to the chagrin of my playing partners.

Even if I hit one or two bad shots doesn’t mean I need to abandon my new found way of playing certain golf shots. Most likely I’ll hit bad shots with this new way of doing it. What I must do is have the faith to work through the bad shots and not abandon my new discovery.

So in life we may find a new way of doing something. And it may appear incongruent, but it works. What we need to do is have the courage to follow through on our new path even though we may fail.

The News

CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN evening news.

There will certainly be a case study on how main stream media (MSM) failed to deliver the news to the public. It appears as a grand conspiracy.

Many of our senior citizens are adverse to newer technology. The internet provides instantaneous ground breaking news stories. It is discussed intelligently and with thoughtful deliberation.

Three cases: Van Jones, Climategate, Kevin Jennings. These are all explosive stories that the media refuses to talk about. Or when discussed, it’s muted.

The MSM knows its audience and plays to that audience. It is not there desire to actually report the news. They want to keep their core watching, to hoist geriatric medicines on its viewers.

I look upon the MSM with disdain. When they are given this most powerful responsibility to inform the public, and are given that power through the Constitution, and then they abandon that responsibility, how can one not have utter contempt?

Friday, December 11, 2009

The New Inquisition

Let’s have an inquisition

Posted on December 11th, 2009 at 9:40 pm by Colin Cohen

Al Gore and others declared long ago that the debate over global warming was over — that it was accepted science, and that all those ignorant enough to defy them were “deniers,” akin to those who doubt the existence of the Holocaust. Unfortunately — despite the nifty ad hominems — the flatearthers refuse to adhere to dogma, especially in light of the so-called “Climategate” scandal. Society must deal with these people in the same manner society in the past dealt with those who challenged science: through an inquisition.

Like today, in the early seventeenth century there was an inconvenient truth — the truth of geocentricism — the belief that the earth is the center of the universe. It was accepted science since the days of Ptolemy and was beyond debate. That is, until a denier named Galileo Galilei advanced Copernicus’ heliocentricism — the belief that the sun is actually the center of the universe — through his book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.

This could not stand. Nor did it.

Pope Urban VIII — the Al Gore of his day, whose truths were infallible and irrefutable, and who should also be admired by progressives of today for his ban on smoking — ordered Galileo in front of the Inquisition, where he admitted that the earth can’t move (notwithstanding the rumor that he muttered “And yet it moves” under his breath as he did.)

The same mechanism that shut up the heliocentrics can also shut up their modern-day equivalents.

Man-made global warming is true. In spite of the more than 700 scientists who doubt it, and in spite of Climategate, where the Hadley Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia courageously falsified data, lied, and suppressed facts in the name of truth.

And everyone must believe this truth, or there will never be the consensus necessary to save the world by destroying its economy. That is why those who refuse to accept the truth should forthwith be brought in front of an inquisitional tribunal, comprised of the New York Times editorial board and under the jurisdiction of one of the countless United Nations judicial bodies.

Like with the tribunals of old, trials will be swift, and justice merciful. Those heretics convicted of crimes against environmental thought will be given ample opportunity to recant their errors (with careful monitoring of their testimony to ensure that no one mutters “And yet it cools” under their breath.)

But if anyone persists in denial of what is so obviously true, they must, unfortunately, be consigned to the flames. Of course, such immolation will be conducted in an air tight chamber, so as to not allow any of the miscreants’ carbons to enter the atmosphere. For, even in death, they cannot be allowed to contribute to the earth’s warming.

And then soon the truth of global warming shall prevail. Just as the truth of geocentricism did.

Dennis Prager University

Dennis has his own university. It is one I wish I attended starting at 6. There is no age limit or any requirements to be a student. And I think one will learn a heck of a lot at this university.

New Socialism

By Charles Krauthammer

Friday, December 11, 2009

In the 1970s and early '80s, having seized control of the U.N. apparatus (by power of numbers), Third World countries decided to cash in. OPEC was pulling off the greatest wealth transfer from rich to poor in history. Why not them? So in grand U.N. declarations and conferences, they began calling for a "New International Economic Order." The NIEO's essential demand was simple: to transfer fantastic chunks of wealth from the industrialized West to the Third World.

The idea of essentially taxing hardworking citizens of the democracies to fill the treasuries of Third World kleptocracies went nowhere, thanks mainly to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher (and the debt crisis of the early '80s). They put a stake through the enterprise.

But such dreams never die. The raid on the Western treasuries is on again, but today with a new rationale to fit current ideological fashion. With socialism dead, the gigantic heist is now proposed as a sacred service of the newest religion: environmentalism.

One of the major goals of the Copenhagen climate summit is another NIEO shakedown: the transfer of hundreds of billions from the industrial West to the Third World to save the planet by, for example, planting green industries in the tristes tropiques.

Politically it's an idea of genius, engaging at once every left-wing erogenous zone: rich man's guilt, post-colonial guilt, environmental guilt. But the idea of shaking down the industrial democracies in the name of the environment thrives not just in the refined internationalist precincts of Copenhagen. It thrives on the national scale, too.

On the day Copenhagen opened, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claimed jurisdiction over the regulation of carbon emissions by declaring them an "endangerment" to human health.

Since we operate an overwhelmingly carbon-based economy, the EPA will be regulating practically everything. No institution that emits more than 250 tons of CO2 a year will fall outside EPA control. This means more than a million building complexes, hospitals, plants, schools, businesses and similar enterprises. (The EPA proposes regulating emissions only above 25,000 tons, but it has no such authority.) Not since the creation of the Internal Revenue Service has a federal agency been given more intrusive power over every aspect of economic life.

This naked assertion of vast executive power in the name of the environment is the perfect fulfillment of the prediction of Czech President (and economist) Vaclav Klaus that environmentalism is becoming the new socialism, i.e., the totemic ideal in the name of which government seizes the commanding heights of the economy and society.

Socialism having failed so spectacularly, the left was adrift until it struck upon a brilliant gambit: metamorphosis from red to green. The cultural elites went straight from the memorial service for socialism to the altar of the environment. The objective is the same: highly centralized power given to the best and the brightest, the new class of experts, managers and technocrats. This time, however, the alleged justification is not abolishing oppression and inequality but saving the planet.

Not everyone is pleased with the coming New Carbon-Free International Order. When the Obama administration signaled (in a gesture to Copenhagen) a U.S. commitment to major cuts in carbon emissions, Democratic Sen. Jim Webb wrote the president protesting that he lacks the authority to do so unilaterally. That requires congressional concurrence by legislation or treaty.

With the Senate blocking President Obama's cap-and-trade carbon legislation, the EPA coup d'etat served as the administration's loud response to Webb: The hell we can't. With this EPA "endangerment" finding, we can do as we wish with carbon. Either the Senate passes cap-and-trade, or the EPA will impose even more draconian measures: all cap, no trade.

Forget for a moment the economic effects of severe carbon chastity. There's the matter of constitutional decency. If you want to revolutionize society -- as will drastic carbon regulation and taxation in an energy economy that is 85 percent carbon-based -- you do it through Congress reflecting popular will. Not by administrative fiat of EPA bureaucrats.

Congress should not just resist this executive overreaching, but trump it: Amend clean-air laws and restore their original intent by excluding CO2 from EPA control and reserving that power for Congress and future legislation.

Do it now. Do it soon. Because Big Brother isn't lurking in CIA cloak. He's knocking on your door, smiling under an EPA cap.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Obama In Norway

Today, I'm proud. Obama gave a great speech in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize:

I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

I raise this point, I begin with this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter what the cause. And at times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world’s sole military superpower.

But the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions — not just treaties and declarations — that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest — because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if others’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.


America has never fought a war against a democracy, and our closest friends are governments that protect the rights of their citizens. No matter how callously defined, neither America’s interests — nor the world’s — are served by the denial of human aspirations.

So even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal. We will bear witness to the quiet dignity of reformers like Aung Sang Suu Kyi; to the bravery of Zimbabweans who cast their ballots in the face of beatings; to the hundreds of thousands who have marched silently through the streets of Iran. It is telling that the leaders of these governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation. And it is the responsibility of all free people and free nations to make clear that these movements — these movements of hope and history — they have us on their side.


Hoorah! Dat's what I'm talking about. My God, I'm actually glad he won the Peace Prize.

Scientists against AGW

Scientists united against man-made global warming

On changing the paradigm

I must say. When I read such thoughtful arguments against AGW, I'm heartened that there are so many smart people speaking out against the so called consensus.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On Convincing Others

Places I've been in my life and how I've tried to influence others. I think it's only natural that we want to influence others, for we're passionate about what we believe.

When I was 19 I became a "born-again" Christian. It was my goal to bring as many people to Jesus Christ as I could. During that time, I probably led over 100 people in prayer to ask Jesus into their life and to be born-again.

Then I got into Amway. I wanted everyone I met to join Amway. I'm not much of a salesman, I even bought an Amway kit to try and get somebody to join my organization.

Now my passion is showing compassion for animals and political conservatism. I hope with all my years, I've gained a little bit of wisdom. Or maybe just enough wisdom to know that maybe I shouldn't push my views on anyone. Perhaps I could be wrong.

And maybe that's all the wisdom I need. Maybe I'm right. Maybe I'm wrong. Time will either vindicate or prove me a fool.

Coming Home

My nephew is in Kabul. He will be coming home in March to his 2 wonderful children.

Years ago visiting my son while he was in Kindergarten class. To see the joy in his face and the pride: "That's my Dad". One of the most precious moments of my life.