Sunday, February 28, 2010


Take 4 minutes and take a look at this PJ TV monologue titled:
ANDREW KLAVAN ON moving beyond the stereotypes of liberalism.

The funniest comedy is that which has just enough truth in it.... This one fits the bill.


Friday, February 26, 2010


Here's a headline that caught my attention:

Pieces of Rare Biblical Manuscript Reunited

Every time there is a discovery like this, the richness of God's Word and is perseverance comes to life again. One half was in a London Museum and the other one was first in an Israeli Museum (recently moved in 2007 from a rare books library at Duke University in North Carolina.

No one knows why it was torn in half, but this 1300 year old document is one of very few pieces of the Hebrew Bible that survived that era.

It reminds me of how the Apostle Paul's letters were spread around to the various churches in the 1st century A.D. With copying manuscripts so cumbersome and copies relatively unavailable (at first), some letters were spread out in pieces to be shared at different churches. The fact that these pieces have been able to be compiled, and verified for authenticity, spanning the world is remarkable and evidence of their veracity. God's Word will not perish. I have not seen the movie, "Book of Eli", but I understand that it is about preserving the last copy of the Bible in a post nuclear holocaust.

While, much of the Old Testament began as oral tradition, their words were preserved over the ages. The same is true for the New Testament. Although the number of copies were sparse in the beginning, the Bible now is the best selling piece of literature with perhaps more copies in more hands than any other in the world. I read an article from The New Yorker that claims there are half a billion copies sold every year world wide, only 25 million of which are sold in the USA.


There is now yet another example of me simply being baffled by the thought processes and strategies of this administration. During the campaign, they came across as savvy and effective in their purposes. But, now I think they're being foolish. They're handing the majority of Congress over to the GOP in the November elections.

The example I'm referring to is their persistent and stubborn push to use reconciliation to pass Obamacare. That term is more appropriate now than ever now due to his official stamp being on it. I've heard and read this from many sources, but the first one that I'm looking at today is one from The Christian Science Monitor, of all places, referenced by Yahoo! News.

I can't see the upside for them in this. All the better for the country in the long run, I suppose, but in the short-term, they're not only messing themselves up but slowing the economic recovery as more uncertainty looms while the bill is passed, but with the promise to tinker with it.

Maybe cooler heads will prevail.
On Feb. 23, Sen. Robert Byrd (D) of West Virginia, the leading in-house defender of the Senate traditions, urged his colleagues to allow filibusters to run their course and not change rules to block them.

“The Senate is the only place in government where the rights of a numerical minority are so protected. Majorities change with elections. A minority can be right, and minority views can certainly improve legislation,” he wrote in a letter to his Senate colleagues.

“Extended deliberation and debate – when employed judiciously – protect every senator, and the interests of their constituency, and are essential to the protection of the liberties of a free people,” he added.
It's heartening to hear of a democrat trying to truly protect the freedoms, powers, and protections granted to the minority party (who in reality represents half the country) in the true structure of the Senate. And for those whose reasons aren't as noble, I'm glad to see that there are moderate Democrats who understand the imprudence of going forward with jamming this legislation down the throats of 60% of the population who have been polled as saying they oppose the move to use reconciliation.
If Democrats opt to push healthcare reform through the Senate using reconciliation, “the opposition to it would be bipartisan,” said Senator McConnell after the summit.
It is certainly heartening to hear that there is bi-partisan opposition to the concept, but for no reason that I can perceive except perhaps for pure hubris and stubborness, they're planning on doing it anyways. Can't they see the looming disaster? "Pride cometh before the fall."

Even if somehow they could get 51 votes to pass the Senate Bill, as is (which is the only procedurally feasible way to proceed with reconcilation), they all agree that changes must be made afterward to "fix" the bill to measure up to the changes the House Dems demands. What happens if, after they get the Senate Bill through, not enough people are up for the "fix"? Are they left with a bill that everyone believes is flawed? What a mess.

I don't see the Democratic Caucus being reliably loyal to whatever vote they say they'll do. If Pelosi, Reid, or Obama want to strong arm people for their votes, they really have very little power b/c I think there are a handful of democrats who would rather retire than face an election with a "yes" vote on this unpopular bill.

It's not just Obama who is reliably two faced. Only yesterday, the Congress exposed themselves to the trend as well by overwhelmingly reinstating the Patriot Act.....but that's for another entry.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


As I listen to the wrap up of this bi-partisan Health Care Summit, it occurs to me that he takes a tougher stance against the GOP than he does Iran. "Do this or else. And, we're not going to wait forever for you to come around."


I read the following from a Yahoo! News article, regarding Obama's closing remarks at today's Bi-partisan Health are Summit:
Obama strongly suggested that Democrats will try to pass a sweeping overhaul without GOP support, by using controversial Senate budget rules that would disallow filibusters. And then, he said, this fall's elections would write the verdict on who was right.
On that, he's right.


Regarding the health care summit: It's really deteriorating now - getting more partisan. Pointing fingers. A lot of times it goes like this: "You may not like doing it this way now, but your sure did when (fill in the blank) your party was in power."


Regarding the Health Care Summit in Washington DC today: Obama just said, regarding the "reconciliation" threat hanging in the air something like, "I don't think the American people care so much about the procedural ways the Senate works. They just want us to get the job done and get a bill."



I'm taking the time today to watch the Health Care Conference that includes both the red and blue and is televised. It would not have kept my attention if it proved to be a farce from the getgo. As long as I see constructive, fair debate, I am encouraged. I'm not sure how long we're into it - probably 2-3 hours - but up to now I've been pleased at what I've seen. There has been a fair back and forth. Both sides are being given a chance to say their thoughts and rebut what they hear.

They were truly looking for common ground, but also pointing out the philosophical differences in how to approach the same goals. It was clear and acknowledged right away that the GOP is not the "party of NO" after all. They see the need for health care reform have ideas and approaches to solving it.

If Obama wants to be graded, I was surprisingly giving him an A for effort and sincerity on getting this done in a bi-partisan way. I thought to myself, "boy, if he keeps this up and really makes a bill that comes from this, acknowledges the strengths of the GOP ideas and is willing to ditch some of their preconceived notions for better ideas, he'd go a long way to boost his approval ratings in one day. I could feel the independents saying, "yeh. That's what we voted for. Bi-partisan discussion and debate in a televised, transparent way." They should have done this from the beginning, but they misinterpreted their mandate.

The declining polls, retirements of dems, and election of someone like Scott Brown are opening the eyes of some democrats and taking them down a peg to try and find agreement so that something gets passed. They (some) realize that they'd better get a bill that the American people approve of before November or there will no longer even be a democrat majority, let along filibuster proof one.

BUT, he blew it, in my eyes a few moments ago. John McCain was having his turn at the mic. He was addressing the process by which this has been done and the distaste that the American people have had toward it. He named some of the sweetheart deals, including special deals for "favored" states. He said that before we go any further, those need to be stripped out so that, if we're making a federal plan, geography alone doesn't affect your insurance plan. Obama tried to interrupt him once (he'd been using self control on that up to then), but McCain finished his point. Obama scolded him for pointing out problems in the bill instead of pointing toward consensus. He starts by saying, "John, this is not a campaign anymore." McCain quipped back, "I'm reminded of that everyday. hah hah hah."

Obama's words turned my stomach again b/c of the hypocrisy. He's never stopped being in campaign mode!

Also, shortly before this exchange - I can't remember who it was with - he said something else that revolted/surprised me. It was one of those things again, that while it surprised me, it really shouldn't have. It always surprises me when Obama (and his cohorts) can say things that are ludicrous with such a straight face, in front of the American people. It feels like an admission to me - that they have this warped idea, but it's not. They're perfectly fine with it, as though it's perfectly rational and fair.

In this case, it was about the grand health care plans that the government has - that Congress has. Everybody knows (or should know) that the American people are revolted at the thought of the government having access to different perks than the average American, and on their dime. He goes on talking to this member saying something to the extent of, "Now, we're not talking about a government run health care program. We just want there to be a baseline so that the American people get the type of insurance we have. After all, I know that none of us, republicans included, don't want to give up what we have. I haven't heard any of you suggesting we should have less. I don't think we should. I just think the American people should have the same thing."

WHAT?! I can't tell you how much of those sentiments feel wrong to me, in terms of the debate happening on the floor right now. It annihilates all of the cost saving ideas that have been bounced around.

He admitted that they won't reduce their insurance policies, even though they want to spread it around to everyone. Isn't it these "Cadillac" insurance companies that they want to tax? I don't get it. It's the same, let's give out entitlements, and worry about how to pay for it later. Monopoly money.

Giving everyone a baseline equal to the Congress' policies is completely impractical in a cost saving strategy. They have to willing to give something up, in order to equalize things. I have more to say here, but the point is that Obama was so close to winning me over on believing this was a fair exchange until his last couple of retorts.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Okay, they're (Fox News) on it now, i.e., yesterday's school shooting. I think there's about to be a news conference, which is why they news organizations are catching on.



This was the 2nd to last news link in the Yahoo! News page. Having watched some of the Today Show this morning, and Fox News, I have yet to hear about it.

I suppose it just goes to show the many things our country is dealing with right now. A deranged shooter at a school just doesn't cut the front page anymore. Is this type of incident so common now that it doesn't shake people up so much? It's horrifying. We are getting so calloused as a nation. There were heroic actions at that school yesterday afternoon. Not only did the math teacher heroically topple the gunman, risking his own life....

Wait a second. AHA! The Today show is on in the background, and it is now being shown. It got about 30 seconds.

.....but the drills practiced so many times that were put in place after the horrible shooting at Columbine High School (only miles away from yesterday's target, Jefferson County School) worked! Sadly, two 8th graders were hospitalized and one is in critical condition, but the tragedy was minimized by the quick action of the teachers and staff to follow the drills.

This should be news! Their plan worked! That is more than Homeland Security can say, in light of the Christmas Day Underwear Bomber. There are so many horrible things happening out there today. We should be learning from mistakes and copying things that work. The math teacher is a hero, but so is Jefferson County School . They took their drills seriously and both teachers and students knew what to do in a crazy moment. And, I might add....the drills worked, but if it weren't for the math teacher, there would have been much more carnage. That is how disasters caused by crazy people are diverted these days. It's the individual hero(s) who is paying attention that ultimately saves lives. Systems help once the crazy and/or evil person is subdued, but the subduing happens because of a hero.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I usually take an article from the NY Times with a grain of salt. But now and again, it has a grain of truth in it. I read an article called "The New Poor" linked to the NY Times by Yahoo! News.

It leaves me thinking, "what can one do?" That question goes toward both those in need and those who aren't. The article is very much a "half empty" take at the state of the American economy, but does highlight the new realities for more people than we, who are still sitting comfortably in our family rooms with an overflowing pantry, like to believe.

There are still plenty of people who are only slightly affected by the downturn in the economy. At least 8 in 10. But what about those 2 in 10 who are out of work, despite every attempt to find it? These are the people who have previously worked a 40-50 hour work week, lived comfortable middle class lives, but now have exhausted their savings and credit and used up their unemployment benefits.
Call them the new poor: people long accustomed to the comforts of middle-class life who are now relying on public assistance for the first time in their lives -- potentially for years to come.....
It's a very dark article, in that it focuses on the failings (but continued belief and reliance) of our system to deal with the sustained and severe unemployment. Examples follow:
Yet the social safety net is already showing severe strains. Roughly 2.7 million jobless people will lose their unemployment check before the end of April unless Congress approves the Obama administration's proposal to extend the payments, according to the Labor Department...

Twice, Ms. Eisen exhausted her unemployment benefits before her check was restored by a federal extension. Last week, her check ran out again....

If, as Mr. Sinai expects, the economy again expands without adding many jobs, millions of people like Ms. Eisen will be dependent on an unemployment insurance already being severely tested....

"The system was ill prepared for the reality of long-term unemployment," said Maurice Emsellem, a policy director for the National Employment Law Project. "Now, you add a severe recession, and you have created a crisis of historic proportions."

Some poverty experts say the broader social safety net is not up to cushioning the impact of the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Social services are less extensive than during the last period of double-digit unemployment, in the early 1980s.
All of the above is true, but I think the facts merely point out that the government can't solve this problem. The American people are resilient and will come together to provide for those in need when the need is known and they know how to help. Depsite themselves, the NY Times article showed little pieces of how Ms Eisen, the example of a member of "the new poor," is getting along in these hard times, even when the governmental protections fail her. Their take on it seems like "What a shame! Look what she's reduced to." My take is, "Thank you God! You are the ultimate Provider and will comfort and support these people, whom you love, who are facing a poverty that they have never known before."
"I pray for healing," says Ms. Eisen, 57. "When you've got nothing, you've got to go with what you know."....In the several months she has endured with neither a paycheck nor an unemployment check, she has relied on local food banks for her groceries....Their daughter has back problems and is living on disability checks, making the church their ultimate safety net."I never thought I'd be in the position where I had to go to a food bank," Ms. Eisen said. But there she is, standing in the parking lot of the Calvary Chapel church, chatting with a half-dozen women, all waiting to enter the Bread of Life Food Pantry.

When her name is called, she steps into a windowless alcove, where a smiling woman hands her three bags of groceries: carrots, potatoes, bread, cheese and a hunk of frozen meat.

"Haven't we got a lot to be thankful for?" Ms. Eisen asks.
I will end this with a prayer, "Dear God, I pray at this time for Ms Eisen and all of the people in this country that she represents. Please continue to provide "her daily bread" while at the same time guiding her into the thing you have planned for her to do next. I pray that during this time when she feels like she is just treading water, that she would feel You moving in her life, guiding and molding her into the person You have always intended for her to be. May she embrace the love you are sending her in the form of service coming from the church. Give her people to rely on and to love and be loved. Be with her during this trying time in her life and as she recovers, may she come out more alive and happier than ever, in the knowledge of your love and provision. Amen."

Saturday, February 20, 2010


It boggles my mind (I think I've used that phrase a multiple of times - there's a reason for that!) that more and more recorded evidence of Obama's rhetoric that completely contradicts itself comes up. He is able to say both with a straight face, and if it were the only thing you heard him say, you'd believe it. His history of saying whatever his audience wants to hear is stunning in its regularity. Here is yet one more example. I'm glad there are people on top of this stuff that hold him accountable to his lies.

Mr. President, you can't have it both ways.

Friday, February 19, 2010


After verifying Ann Althouse's comment on the name change of the Iraq War from "Operation Iraqi Freedom" to "Operation New Dawn," I was taken to an article that she referenced.

I'm copying its entirety below, adding my comments in [bold] amongst the article itself.
ABC News has learned that the Obama administration has decided to give the war in Iraq -- currently known as Operation Iraqi Freedom -- a new name.

The new name: "Operation New Dawn."

In a February 17, 2010, memo to the Commander of Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the "requested operation name change is approved to take effect 1 September 2010, coinciding with the change of mission for U.S. forces in Iraq." [I get that]

You can read the memo -- a copy of which was sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen – HERE.

Gates writes that by changing the name at the same time as the change of mission -- the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. combat troops -- the US is sending "a strong signal that Operation IRAQI FREEDOM has ended [okay then, we won the operation. Can we say "Mission Accomplished? If Bush had said, "Operation Accomplished, instead of Mission Accomplished, I wonder how much would be different] and our forces are operating under a new mission."

The move, Gates writes, "also presents opportunities to synchronize strategic communication initiatives, reinforce our commitment to honor the Security Agreement, and recognize our evolving relationship with the Government of Iraq." [okay, I with you]

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell had no comment on the memo, saying it speaks for itself.

The move has met with some criticism. In a statement, Brian Wise, executive director of Military Families United said, “You cannot end a war simply by changing its name. [if it has indeed ended, then declare it so and give credit where credit it due - from the troops on the ground to the Commander in Chief who executed it] Despite the Administration’s efforts to spin realities on the ground, their efforts do not change the situation at hand in Iraq Operational military decisions should not be made for purposes of public relations, as the Secretary of Defense cites, but should be made in the best interests of our nation, the troops on the ground and their families back home.

If Gates was hoping that "Operation New Dawn" would convey a new period in the US-Iraq relationship, it's not clear that was the best choice of name.

After all, Operation New Dawn was the name for the bloody and grueling 2004 battle for Fallujah.[I sometimes wonder if anyone in the Obama administration actually paid attention to the war, or if they just arbitrarily opposed it on partisan and financial grounds].

Originally, US forces had called the fight for that city "Phantom Fury," but Iraqi leaders suggested it be called al Fajr, or New Dawn.

"It is with all pleasure that I announce to you that Operation New Dawn has been concluded," the Iraqi minister of state for national security, Qasim Dawood, said at a news conference in Baghdad in November 2004 [yes, then that will obviously ring true that this "new" operation is a sign of peace vs. bloodshed.]



According to a blog entry by Ann Althouse, Obama is changing the name of the Iraq war. Instead of "Operation Iraqi Freedom", it is now, "Operation New Dawn."

I don't think this helps him.

In the few minutes that I've digested this, my thoughts go to:
1) Freedom isn't worth fighting for; after all, he has never been behind this cause. Therefore, that couldn't be in the name.
2) He now sees the potential benefits of a free Iraq, and a "New Dawn" that it can bring to the Arab world.
3) But, he can't bring himself to give Bush the credit for the idea, even though that was always Bush's premise and justification for freeing the Iraqi people, i.e., to show that part of the world that freedom is indeed possible and freedom is contagious and free countries don't bomb us.
4) He continues to think that rhetoric matters more than substance, i.e., a change of name means a change of merit.

I have to admit, however, regarding #4, that changing the name of Gitmo was always my number one idea on dealing with its bad rep w/o tearing down a well functioning prison in exchange for a very expensive, less secure one on the mainland. It seemed like a way to make a fresh start - a changing of name and policies to go with it. It wasn't the building itself that was a problem. It was what went on there. The substance, not the name.

In this case, i.e., the renaming of the war, if he has the intention of changing the tenor of the war, why is Iraqi Freedom so bad? Does he not want the Arab people to see it that way? Does he not want the Arab world to think of the USA as spreading freedom, but rather imposing a "new dawn" on them - changing what they hold sacred?

And in the best light, the words themselves, "New Dawn" sounds like an admission that the Iraqis are now free - that operation is over - and now we're in the phase that uses the free Iraq to build a safer Arab world. But, that would mean that Bush was right. Hmm. I guess that too is a reason for the change. Instead of saying that "Operation Iraqi Freedom" was a success, he can say that his, "Operation New Dawn" was a success in changing the Arab world. Let's pray he uses the "new dawn" well, and continues to make it a dawn of rising freedom, instead of covering the light with a dark cloud of disengagement with the freedom seekers; and instead of bringing on the thunder of oppressive governments clamping down harder on "their people" who now see the light of freedom rising as possible and worth dying for.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


What is it about the UK that Obama is in love with? At first, its health care system and socialist framework stands out. But now, we see him copying a poor play in their foreign policy book too. In a PJTV news article, I read
Last month, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and her senior staff privately met in Washington, D.C., with a select group of Muslim, Arab, and Sikh organizations. Among the mix were three organizations directly associated with an outlawed terrorist entity — the Muslim Brotherhood........

This program was imported from the United Kingdom. The Obama administration has decided to replicate the UK program to win over Muslims and to get them to collaborate with the federal government.
I gave the article a full read, trying to see if the plan to talk with this group of Muslims will be helpful. Unfortunately, all I see is them talking to the enemy, giving them their playbook.
The program requires bringing in Muslim groups as “partners” in a two-way information sharing program.

Walid Phares, director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, criticized the partnership concept:

“Through the so-called ‘partnership’ between the Jihadi-sympathizer networks and U.S. bureaucracies, the U.S. government is invaded by militant groups.” He warned that this policy embraced by the Obama administration “is how American national security policy has been influenced” by Muslim groups, who are duping administration officials.

A former U.S. intelligence officer told PJM:

The “counter-radicalization” program is something that the other side created for us. … It initially started in Britain. The Muslim Brotherhood groups suggested it. We went over there and got it. We thought it was a great idea and now we’re using it. It’s the enemy giving us a way to destroy ourselves.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the ideological foundation for today’s terrorist organizations in the Islamic world. Founded in 1928, it is the oldest Islamic fundamentalist political group in modern times. Originally called the Society of the Muslim Brothers, today it is a hardcore supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah and considered the inspirational “father” of al-Qaeda itself.
It's nice to know we're in such good hands (forgive the sarcasm).
Reaction to the Napolitano meeting with the radical organizations was largely negative. Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), a member of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Pajamas Media that while she applauded the administration’s effort to address domestic radicalization, she was “appalled” at the meeting with the radicals:

It is clear government agencies and officials do not get it. … [The meeting] is a dangerous policy and weakens our national security.

A former intelligence officer for the U.S. government told Pajamas Media:

The fact that the government reaches out to these groups, more than any other factor shows you how broken our intelligence apparatus is.

Steve Emerson, an internationally regarded anti-terrorism expert and the founder of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, said:

[The meetings displayed] a fundamental naïveté and glaring lack of critical knowledge about the source of jihadism in the world today, which is the Muslim Brotherhood. … I’m not sure she understands what the Muslim Brotherhood is. It’s the parent of al-Qaeda and all terrorist groups, and confirmed by all the intelligence chiefs.

Rep. Sue Myrick:

Some of these groups DHS is involving in their meetings are presenting themselves as moderates, when in fact they are radical Islamists whose actions are part of the problem, and who will never be part of the solution. It is clear government agencies and officials do not get it.

Part of me hopes that its merely naivete and stupidity that is the cause of this flawed strategy rather than a deliberate step toward giving America over to the terrorists. I don't want to be conspiracy theorist, but some of their comments and actions sometimes makes me wonder. An example is wanting to retreat from Iraq before we achieved victory. More than once I've thought to myself, "who are they for?" Closing Gitmo, promising the terrorists that they won't be tortured, wanting to prosecute CIA agents for torture even though they were following the rules given to them, and giving the enemy their Miranda rights are more examples among others that make me question their allegiances.


It makes me happy to read articles like this one from American Thinker: Tea Party Movement Untamed. It speaks of the ways in which some would continue to try and dismiss and demonize the Tea Party movement, but even more importantly, the way it presses on. Here's one piece of it,
"During CNN and BBC radio interviews, I as a black conservative was confronted with, "And what about those racist signs at the Tea Parties?"

Yes, the feelings, thoughts, and opinions of Tea Party patriots are all over the place. What a mess! Well, I say, how wonderful! I mean, think about it. Millions of Americans who have been passively watching our country slipping away for years are suddenly passionately seeking to restore it. So frankly, I do not care if the movement is a bit wild and free. Scott Brown's shocking, historic win in Massachusetts confirms that we are making a huge difference."
I guess the tea brewed in this party is stronger than many thought. I keep praying that the light will shine on the darkness - that the lies will be replaced by the truth. In big and small ways, I see that happening and the normal powers can't seem to stop it. I believe that going back to the founding principles of this country means acknowledging once again God's place in the impetus, strength, and inspiration in America's founding. Without Jesus, there is no freedom. Freedom is a right that comes from God, not people. If He is not acknowledged and leaned on for the preservation of that freedom, it will disappear. All peoples who lean only on, even well intentioned leaders, is eventually put back into bondage because even the best of leaders are fallen and are susceptible to the temptation of abusing their power.

In the varied views of those in the Tea Party type movements, one strong one is bringing God back into view in public life. Amen.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Looking more deeply into the benefits of the teachers in Rhode Island, I see now where they get the $70K salary. The numbers I gave in my previous post were for the base salary. If benefits are added, from Social Security to Medical insurance, however, the amount the district is paying for the average teacher is about $70K.


Everyone knows that teachers are notoriously underpaid when the post graduate degree necessary and the importance of the job is considered. OTOH, the Teacher's Union is also notorious for inhibiting smart policies to hire the best teachers. No one wants to pay a failing teacher, but many are happy to pay a teacher bringing out the best in their students. The Unions requires that we pay them the same.

I'm not here to talk about merit pay, however. With so much attention being given to the stability and even increase of government jobs and the salaries and benefits to go with them in this climate, while the private sector struggles, the salaries of these positions are being scrutinized. Teachers are not exempt from this scrutiny.

The thing that made me think about this was what the Rhode Island Superintendent did today.

Unionized Rhode Island Teachers Refuse To Work 25 Minutes More Per Day, So Town Fires All Of Them
A school superintendent in Rhode Island is trying to fix an abysmally bad school system.

Her plan calls for teachers at a local high school to work 25 minutes longer per day, each lunch with students once in a while, and help with tutoring. The teachers' union has refused to accept these apparently onerous demands.

The teachers at the high school make $70,000-$78,000, as compared to a median income in the town of $22,000. This exemplifies a nationwide trend in which public sector workers make far more than their private-sector counterparts (with better benefits).

The school superintendent has responded to the union's stubbornness by firing every teacher and administrator at the school.

A sign of things to come?
Given the reputation of teachers not getting professional pay, those salaries seemed really high to me.

Having been a teacher 13 years ago and being paid a measly $2000 per month, I looked more closely at what teachers are being paid now. Wanting to compare apples to apples, I took a look at the current salary schedule for the district, in which I worked in.

I recall bringing home about $2000 per month ($20,000 annually b/c that's for 10 months). I think that was about $30 K per year, before taxes and health insurance deductions etc. I think that in the 3 years I worked there, I accumulated about $7000 worth of retirement income, which is about one month's salary per year.

Of course, I was a brand new teacher and was at the starting salary level. If I entered the profession right now in the same district, I'd be earning, $45,450. The maximum I could earn after 5+ years of service is $47,871. It is noteworthy that there is a grandfather clause for teachers hired before 2005 that makes the cap $57,882 after 11+ years of service.

That means that a teacher hired prior to 2005 will be earning $57,882 after 11 years of service, but a teacher at the same school doing the same work will only be earning $47,871 after 11 years of service.

Regardless, these numbers are far lower than the $70K - $78K mentioned in the Rhode Island school district.

The numbers I cited above for the teachers in Burbank Unified School District (suburb of L.A., CA) are for teachers who have a minimal teaching credential, i.e., a Bachelor's degree plus 15 units of post graduate education. As you get more education, your salary rises. In Burbank, the very most you can make in the highest Class VI (75 units beyond a Bachelor's degree) after 24 years is $85,223. At the current increase for Class II (Bachelor's plus 15 units) after 24 years of service would be $45,453.

In class VI, the salary reaches the $70K level after 11 years.

So....that takes me back to Rhode Island. They have a similar system and just as I thought, the $70K salary is misleading. Only 10% of the teachers in Providence, Rhode Island make $70K +. The average salary is about $50K and the entry salary is about $30K.

So....what about the Superintendent's decision to fire all of the teachers because the union couldn't handle the small changes she requested
Her plan calls for teachers at a local high school to work 25 minutes longer per day, each lunch with students once in a while, and help with tutoring. The teachers' union has refused to accept these apparently onerous demands.
I'm only guessing, but perhaps she had to fire them all to fire any of them, due to discrimination type of rules. Obviously, she'll have to quickly rehire many of these teachers back. I have a feeling, however, that she won't be hiring the most experienced teachers who are making the higher salaries. Instead, they'll reduce their costs by hiring the younger teachers at the lower end of the pay scale. Now, there may be union rules about rehiring that would make her hire the teacher's with the most seniority first - I don't know. In any case, she might just get her 25 minutes more to the teacher's day for student tutoring by teachers.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


If he's trying to repair his image, he's doing it all wrong. When I read the following lead, I was actually heartened to think that they were finally changing their tune and admitting that the war in Iraq was worth it. The sacrifices of our troops and treasure yielded something wonderful. JOE BIDEN: Iraq — one of our great accomplishments. Success has a thousand fathers.

But, I would be wrong. In a revolting way that makes me want to throw up, they are taking credit for its success.
But that was 2007. Today, Vice President Joe Biden was on with Larry King. During the conversation Vice President Biden, a cut-and-runner, said that Iraq was one of the great accomplishments of the Obama Administration.
I can barely put into words how angry/frustrated/sick this makes me.

Their accomplishments?! If you can't bear to give direct to the Bush Administration, at least give it to the troops and admit that you were happily wrong about what the effort in Iraq could do. Even the withdraw was planned in the prior administration. And now, what are they doing about Iran? Don't they see the parallel? You can fight tyranny with freedom. With support from the USA and its military, the opposition that is rising up could oust the present world endangering regime. So, even while they "take credit" for Iraq, they won't apply the lesson to Iran.

Read the whole article to see all of the backtracking.


BIG TURMOIL in Iran today as the regime marks the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution. There's clashes reported throughout Tehran and other parts of the country. Karoubi and Khatami were allegedly attacked by security forces, though everything is very difficult to confirm as there's a virtual blackout, with news media and the Internet blocked (even Gmail!).

The festivities started with Ahmadinejad announcing that Iran is now "a nuclear state".
I could say, "I told you so," but it's not like I'm happy about that. It'll be hard to know the details or have real clarity on what's going on or what he's said for awhile, b/c of the news blackout.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I just read another article (by Sam Stein, Huffington Post) regarding the interview I was referring to in my previous post. It is a little more fair, in that it provides more context for his comments. OTOH, it could even more damning in that it goes to show his double speak on compensation. I don't back off my disbelief of his hypocrisy and judgement and "shock" of high salaries, but if you could take him at his word, some of his comments make sense. Following is the full text of the portion of the 30 minute interview by Bloomburg Business Week that in question. The portion in bold is the part that was left out of the other article on this. The principal in the idea makes sense to me. Someone tell me if I'm off on that.
BLOOMBERG: Let's talk bonuses for a minute: Lloyd Blankfein, $9 million; Jamie Dimon, $17 million. Now, granted, those were in stock and less than what some had expected. But are those numbers okay?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, first of all, I know both those guys. They're very savvy businessmen. And I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That's part of the free market system. I do think that the compensation packages that we've seen over the last decade at least have not matched up always to performance. I think that shareholders oftentimes have not had any significant say in the pay structures for CEOs.

BLOOMBERG: Seventeen million dollars is a lot for Main Street to stomach.

THE PRESIDENT: Listen, $17 million is an extraordinary amount of money. Of course, there are some baseball players who are making more than that who don't get to the World Series either. So I'm shocked by that as well. I guess the main principle we want to promote is a simple principle of "say on pay," that shareholders have a chance to actually scrutinize what CEOs are getting paid. And I think that serves as a restraint and helps align performance with pay. The other thing we do think is the more that pay comes in the form of stock that requires proven performance over a certain period of time as opposed to quarterly earnings is a fairer way of measuring CEOs' success and ultimately will make the performance of American businesses better.
Then, this article written by Sam Stein of the Huffington Post, pointed out some of his previous statements that support his tone regarding bonuses.
In February 2009, Obama gave a speech on executive compensation in which he declared that, in American, "we don't disparage wealth. We don't begrudge anybody for achieving success. And we believe that success should be rewarded." In March 2009, Obama told the Business Roundtable that the job of a lawmaker is "not to disparage wealth, but to expand its reach." And in a brief statement on executive compensation in October 2009, Obama repeated the lines: "We don't disparage wealth; we don't begrudge anybody for doing well. We believe in success. But it does offend our values when executives of big financial firms -- firms that are struggling -- pay themselves huge bonuses, even as they continue to rely on taxpayer assistance to stay afloat.
Again, if he stuck with the same message, I could get behind it. I just don't trust anything he says. Also, it bothers me when he says that bonuses for his friends who, in his opinion, are business savvy are okay, but generally for he massses, they are not. Also, in regards to the big bonuses, I don't like them any more than the next guy, but weren't they required due to previously written and signed contracts? Would the idea outlined in bold in the above interview keep that from happening again?


It's really quite astonishing to me how someone can be so hypocritical, not only from speech to speech but within the same speech - sometimes even the same paragraph! But, I suppose I shouldn't be b/c President Obama and Gibbs have both done this repeatedly. The tendency seems to be getting worse. I suppose that's because he has to start changing his tone a bit if he wants to get anything done, but he wants to save face by somehow saying he's not changing his stance. In the end, he looks like a fool. Admitting he was wrong and approached things incorrectly would go a long way toward achieving bi-partisanship and trust from the American people (at least a bunch of them).

Again, I found this information off of a link from Instapundit:
ABC NEWS: Wall Street Bonuses President Obama Once Called ‘Obscene’ and ‘Shameful’ Now He Doesn’t Begrudge. Posted at 10:31 am by Glenn Reynolds

Highlights of the hypocrisy:
As recently as just a few weeks ago, President Obama called massive Wall Street bonuses “obscene,” language that fit right in with his previous descriptions for them such as “the height of irresponsibility” and “shameful,” an “outrage” and a violation “our fundamental values.”
And, then now,
I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system.”
In context, this statement was attached to the typical cronyism and treating friends and/or his inner circle differently than everyone else,
Asked about the $17 million bonus given to Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the $9 million bonuses going to Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO, the president said, “I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen. I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system.”
And, this boggles my mind,
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs denied that President Obama had changed his tone at all, pointing out that the president has said "countless times" that he doesn't begrudge wealth or success.

Gibbs insisted that the president was not saying he doesn't begrudge the bonuses.
How can one say those two things simultaneously with a straight face? And, we've seen him want to poke his influence into it's baseball, too.
Discussing the bonuses, Mr. Obama told the reporters, "listen, $17 million is an extraordinary amount of money. Of course, there are some baseball players who are making more than that who don't get to the World Series either. So I'm shocked by that as well."
And then, he says,
Back then, a White House official told ABC News that on the subject of executive compensation, President Obama told bank executives, “you guys are like overpaid pitchers on a team doing poorly. The concern is less when your team is successful -- but you guys didn’t win the World Series this year.”
I find that ironic because, according to his logic, he's getting overpaid, too. I don't think anyone could say that he's "winning the World Series" during his first year in office. OTOH, perhaps his is being consistent in his logic in his own warped way. Recall,
Asked about the $17 million bonus given to Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the $9 million bonuses going to Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO, the president said, “I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen.
These CEO's had to also be a part of the financial meltdown, but because he knows them to be "savvy businessmen", it's okay for them to get the bonuses. I have no doubt that many other of these executives are savvy businessmen too, but b/c he doesn't know them personally, their bonuses are "obcsene." I see the way he looks at himself is the same consistent, but warped logic as how he sees his CEO friends. He sees himself as smart and savvy and so for him, that's enough for accolades.

And going back to his indictment on baseball player's salaries, will he start to begrudge actors or actresses from getting millions and millions of dollars for a part, even if in the end the movie is a flop? I don't think so......their dollars and support to his causes is too important. Without those millions, they wouldn't donate as much. And, come to think of it, why in the world is he troubled that anyone is making a gazillion dollars? Those are the salaries that he's going to steal anyways.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


This article made me smile. It's a great explanation of who the Tea Party is and isn't and why it exists and how it got its legs. It's worth a read, but I'll give you a bit of a taste with a snippet from here and there.

Upon his reaction to being at a Tea Party event,
And that grass-roots, “never-done-this-before” sense of excitement and empowerment is the first thing that really hits you. These are the most regular, decent people you’ll meet, and with very few exceptions not one of them has been involved in politics in any way. It’s just that — like so many of us — They’ve just had enough!
Regarding their temperament....first, who they are:
The people I have met at these events were generally the happy, decent, hard-working people that make up the vast middle of Silent America. They are not bitter, and they are not “consumed with rage.”

But they — I mean, we — are angry.
...and secondly who they are not,
"Of course, the media coverage has tried very hard to portray the normal, average, every-day Americans of the Tea party rallies as dangerous and angry racists and Wal-Mart knuckle-draggers, while identifying the mass-produced signs, the mass-produced T-shirts, the mass-produced members of bused-in wiccan nihilist anarcho-Maoist lesbian eco-weenie anti-war protestors as somehow the genuine voice of the American people.
Regarding the reason for their rage,
You want to know why we’re angry? What once was a social compact between the people and their representatives has rotted away into this: a people no longer paying a reasonable price for the limited number of things that only a government can provide, but rather victims of identity theft — people who open a monthly credit card statement only to discover fifty thousand dollars of vacations not taken, and jet skis and plasma TV’s paid for but never delivered. That’s why there’s a Tea Party..
They see the theft of our kids' and our kids' kids' wealth,
[They see our taxes as] their money to spend as they see fit — and not just all the money you send in taxes today, or next year, or the next ten years — they — Democrats and Republicans too — have spent all the money you will make in your lifetime, and then spent all of the money your kids will make, and the pool of work that your grandkids will do in 2060 or so — that’s mostly been spent too.
Regarding the reward of the work,
"Now, was Scott Brown the perfect conservative candidate? To many — even many who supported him — he was not. That’s not the question we should be asking. The question we should be asking — and did ask, it seems — is not whether Scott Brown is more conservative than Ronald Reagan. The question is whether or not Scott Brown is more conservative than Ted Kennedy or Martha Coakley.

He is, and by a very wide margin. That’s a win!

Victory is a ratchet. To retake this country we need every gain we can get — no matter how small — and to give up as little as possible. If Scott Brown — Republican senator from Massachusetts — turns out to be the most liberal man in the Senate then we’re living in paradise. That’s why there’s a Tea Party. And that’s why being a part of the Tea Party movement is, when it is all said and done, just plain fun."
And finally, how the movement got its legs,
"And a final note: do you know who we owe the remarkable success of the Tea Party movement to? We owe it to Rachel Maddow, and Keith Olberman, and Chris Matthews. We owe it to Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, and Barack Obama — not just for the political motivation, but because they decided to make it personal.

By calling us Tea Baggers, and racists, and Nazis, and rubes, and hicks… by pretending we’re just a fringe group of dangerous radicals, or saying — as the President did, twice, and apparently with a straight face — that he was unaware that tens or hundreds of thousands of hard-working American patriots were clogging the streets of the city he lives in — well all of these geniuses poured can after can of lighter fluid on to what might have been some old, wet charcoal — nearly impossible to light — and turned it into a wildfire that will likely remake the landscape of this country. That’s why there’s a Tea Party.
For some, it's hard, due to the diversity of the effort, to nail down who and why the Tea Party is, but I think this article does that.


The notes on Palin's hand "scandal" was stupid enough the other day. Today, Gibbs actually perpetuated itin a very childish way.

Gibbs Takes Swipe At Palin With Hand Note

CBS has an image up, saying the video is coming, soon. Tell me again who the childish ones are, here? About all this administration seems good for right now are the jokes, frankly. Maybe Gibbs should have written, "Get a job!"

Gibbs' move was a jab at Sarah Palin, who was shown to have written notes on her hand at a speech at the Tea Party convention Saturday after making an implicit criticism of the president for using a TelePrompTer.

Gibbs quipped that he had made the notes in case he and the press corps are snowed in. He said the words written on his hands included "eggs," and that he had written "toast" but crossed it out.

Palin wrote the words "Energy," "Budget cuts" (which was crossed out), "Tax," and "Lift Americans Spirits" on the inside of her left hand.
All I can say is, "You've got to be kidding."


Did any of you listen to the Katie Couric interview with Obama that interrupted the Superbowl pre-game? I hadn't then, but I just listened to it now.

There is plenty of fodder for someone like Glen Beck to pick up on that shows his true colors. He says stuff that he thinks sounds good, but it's full of more dictatorial and hypocritical rhetoric. For instance (my emphasis in bold),

KATIE COURIC: But did some of these special deals, Mr. President--
PRESIDENT OBAMA: They didn't help.

KATIE COURIC: --sort of get it passed at all costs, turn your stomach, too?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: They did not help. They frustrate me. But, you know, this is a democracy. Look, I would have loved nothing better than to simply come up with some very elegant you know, academically approved approach to health care. And didn't have any kinds of legislative fingerprints on it. And just go ahead and have that passed. But that's not how it works in our democracy. Unfortunately what we end up having to do is to do a lot of negotiations with a lot of different people. Many of whom have their constituents best interests at heart.
My reaction to those words is that he'd rather be able to impose his plan without Congress. That's what a king would do. But, at the same time, he didn't even send his plan to them to start with. Also, he's very aware of the deals and strong-arming that have to be done in order to get the votes. He knows that the bill doesn't stand on its own. Force and bribery is required. And here's another that is actually hypocritical in its own peculiar way:
KATIE COURIC Have you ruled out trying confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad in New York City?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I have not ruled it out, but I think it's important for us to take into account the practical, logistical issues involved. I mean, if you've got a city that is saying no, and a police department that's saying no, and a mayor that's saying no, that makes it difficult. But I think that the most important thing for the public to understand is we're not handling any of these cases any different than the Bush Administration handled them all through 9/11.

They prosecuted the 190 folks in these Article III courts. Got convictions. And those folks are in maximum security prisons right now. And there have been no escapes. And it is a virtue of our system that we should be proud of. Now, what I've also said is that, you know, it's important for us to recognize that when we're dealing with Al Qaeda operatives, that they may have national security intelligence that we need.

And it's important to make sure that the processes and procedures we approach with respect to these folks are not identical to the ones that we would use if we're apprehending the local drug dealer. And that's why we've put in place some very particular ways of dealing with these issues that ensure our security, but also still uphold our due process.

Does he realize his double speak? He says nothing has changed in the way things were handled in the Bush administration as though that is a plus. I thought he fervently thought that they did everything wrong in terms of these arrests. And, the presidency should not be "on the job training". He says the right thing, but then does another. They did treat the underwear bomber as we would a drug dealer.

I also can't help but notice his consistency in not caring about his constituents' or even sub-positioned authorities' opinions when he says,
I have not ruled it [holding terrorist trials in NY] out, but I think it's important for us to take into account the practical, logistical issues involved. I mean, if you've got a city that is saying no, and a police department that's saying no, and a mayor that's saying no, that makes it difficult.
Ah, too bad, it makes it difficult to work around the people's will. We see the same thing, of course, with health care.

I could go on making observations that come from reading the comments to this interview, but I think I've said enough for now.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I'm still wondering what Iran plans on doing on February 11 to "attack the arrogance of the West".
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the nation will deliver a harsh blow to the "global arrogance" on this year's anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
Perhaps this is a piece of it:

I read an from Yahoo! News, called, "Iran moves closer to nuke warhead capacity"

One sentence in that article says,
"On Sunday, Iranian officials said higher enrichment would start on Tuesday."
Tuesday is February 11.
Being humiliated is the same as attacking arrogance, right?
Tehran's enrichment plans are "additional proof of the fact that Iran is ridiculing the entire world," said Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. "The right response is to impose decisive and permanent sanctions on Iran." "
Despite its efforts in diplomacy and sanction threats, the Iranians seem to show no intention of backing off. We have little recourse except to push for more sanctions. Israel will at least say so in bold terms. France and the US are more measured in their response.
Morin said France and the U.S. agreed that there was no choice but "to work for new measures within the framework of the Security Council" — a stance echoed by Israel, Iran's most implacable foe.
It seems only a matter of time before Iran has a nuclear weapon.
Although material for the fissile core of a nuclear warhead must be enriched to a level of 90 percent or more, just getting its stockpile to the 20 percent mark would be a major step for Iran's nuclear program. While enriching to 20 percent would take about one year, using up to 2,000 centrifuges at Tehran's underground Natanz facility, any next step — moving from 20 to 90 percent — would take only half a year and between 500-1,000 centrifuges.
Ugh. The world is so messed up. One wonders how it'll settle down. The Tea Party Movement gives me glimmers of hope that America will come around, but the the world is just so dangerous right now with weapons of mass destruction in the hands of so many unstable countries, not to mention other types of means to attain world domination. There are many fires simmering out there, ready to go ablaze. We've already seen some of the damage that can be done by these man made disasters. Unfortunately, they are a puff of smoke compared to the destruction that one can imagine in a pervasively nuclear armed world. Nuclear weapons may not end up being the weapon of choice in ultimately executing an attack (cyber attacks and financial woes could do the job just as well), but its threat in the hands of leaders who are crazy enough to use it would tie the hands of the civilized world.


I found another article looking for ways to attack Palin.

Following is the text. I've put in bold the parts that make me say, "and the point is?" or "are you serious?"
Remember those quizzes you had on the state capitals back in junior high? Oh, the pressure! The temptation to write "Pierre, Olympia, Dover, Albany" on the inside of your hand was overwhelming, wasn't it? But you resisted. Maybe Sarah Palin should have done the same.

The former vice presidential candidate seems to have been caught using curious crib notes during an interview this past weekend at the high-profile Tea Party Convention in Nashville. While speaking about her top political priorities, Ms. Palin gazed at her hand in a rather suspicious manner.

Later, Web researchers zoomed in on her left palm and found the following words scrawled in black ink: "Energy, Budget cuts (with "budget" crossed out), Tax, Lift American Spirits." In an ironic twist during the speech, Ms. Palin worked in a jab against President Obama's often-mocked use of TelePrompTers. You can watch the clip below or check out a close-up here.

Following the flap, the Web went wild. Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC mocked Ms. Palin by relying on her own crib notes to recap highlights from Palin's appearance. Her keynote speech, it should be noted, had the crowd on its feet. "Run, Sarah, run," the crowd chanted (as in "please run for president in 2012").

But palm-gate wasn't the only bit of news sparked by Palin. Her defense of Rush Limbaugh's use of the word "retards" raised eyebrows, as well. On Fox News Sunday, the anti "r-word" crusader contended that Limbaugh had used the word in the context of political humor and satire. Earlier in the week, the difference between her angry reaction to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's use of the "slur" and a more restrained response to Limbaugh's made from some awkward fallout. Web searches on "sarah palin on fox news" and "palin limbaugh" have both surged as the controversy swirled.

Sarah's husband, Todd Palin, has also been back in the news. The self-proclaimed former "first dude" of Alaska was revealed to be quite active in state business. According to recently uncovered emails, Todd Palin was "involved in a judicial appointment, monitored contract negotiations with public employee unions, received background checks on a corporate CEO, added his approval or disapproval to state board appointments and passed financial information marked 'confidential' from his oil company employer to a state attorney."

Is it only me that thinks people are making fools of themselves pointing out these petty and often irrelevant things? I mean really. Crib notes? Husband active in state business? Is that all they can come up with? They must be pretty desperate. Notice that it says, "according to recently uncovered e-mails". That means that they've been digging for something juicy. Considering the things the MSM has ignored over the past couple of years, it's hard to believe they're making such a big deal about something so silly.


It seems that the only thing the Obama Administration has learned is that they have to appear to be seeking the GOP's ideas on health care reform. I think William A. Jefferson's blog post at Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion makes a very good point. Following are his comments:

Monday, February 8, 2010
Negotiations Without Preconditions for Iran, But Not Republicans
Barack Obama was steadfast during the campaign and after his election in his willingness to enter into negotiations with Iran without preconditions.

But Obama is not willing to enter into health care negotiations with Republicans without preconditions.

In inviting Republicans to the negotiating table for the first time later this month, Obama has imposed the precondition that the negotiations start with the Democratic versions of health care legislation:
White House aides quickly rejected the idea that Obama wants to start over after nearly a year of contentious legislative haggling among members of his party.

Officials said the president will come to the health-care summit armed with a merged version of the two bills that Democrats strong-armed through the two chambers with almost no GOP backing.

"This is not starting over," one White House official said, who requested anonymity in order to discuss administration strategy. "Don't make any mistake about that. We are coming with our plan. They can bring their plan."

The official added: "What the president will not do is let this moment slip away. He hopes to have Republican support in doing so -- but he is going to move forward on health reform."
Obama's plan seems to be tweaks, at most, to otherwise unpopular and disastrous legislation, so that Republicans can share the blame in voters' eyes.

Put lipstick on Democrats' legislative pig. That is an easy offer to refuse.

Negotiations without preconditions. That would be the place to start.


In attacking Sarah Palin from her performance at the Nashville Tea Party Convention, this was the best they could come up with to disparage her.

Like the Tea Party Movement itself, they are trying so hard to find something juicy to pin on Sarah Palin, but it's not easy. They have to resort to silly little things that make themselves look bad.

Notes on her hand? My goodness. A few notes to keep papers off the lectern is nothing compared to a tele prompter at every single speech, including that in a grammar school classroom. It would be foolish to get up in front of a national audience without a note or two. Her speech wasn't written word for word, or even outlined. Just a "handful" of words to keep her on topic. That's pretty impressive, if you ask me.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


The political climate in America is shaping up into a predictable block. While I know that poll numbers are often unreliable, I believe that trends can definitely be assessed when looking at multiple agencies and a longer timeline.

The most recent Rasmussen poll shows that Obama's SOTU polling bounce is over.

The trends show something that I find interesting. From the numbers, it seems clear to me that there is about 25% of the electorate who is going to stand by Obama for the duration. During President Bush's presidency that number hovered slightly above 30%.

Yet, there is evidence that those who had so much hope in Obama for real Hope and Change and desperately want to approve of his performance bumped that number up to about 45% after the SOTU address. Already, however, it's back down to the 25% that strongly approve of Obama's performance as president. I attribute that to the rhetorical advantage that Obama has always had. His words sound so good to a large body of Americans, but quickly his double speak and hypocritical comments, and realization that things are not getting better sets in and the numbers plummet again.

If Obama won with about 55% of the vote in 2008, that leaves about 10% of the people who voted for him in 2008, who continue to reject him, even after his rhetorical smoothness because of his increasing lack of results. Perhaps those were a 10% block who really wanted to like Bush and McCain, but just felt like there needed to be a change in leadership to heal the nation from all of the partisan bickering.

I really do believe that a lot of Obama's appeal to the center electorate was his promises to remove the deep divide between the left and the right, as well as the hope for a post racial America. In reality, however, the divide has only grown deeper, leaving many of the centrists disenchanted and ready for another change. The Tea Party movement appeals to them b/c it does cross party lines and focuses on a common sense approach to solving our country's ills... a direction guided by the people and not the political elite.

The Tea Party's first national convention in Nashville could be a double edged sword for its reach to the center left. It is very good, in that, it is FINALLY getting some media attention. There is an increasing inability to dismiss the "Tea Partiers" as simply a radical, stupid, fake, dangerous fringe. They have political power and are affecting elections and it's clear that they're here to stay for at least one election cycle - and an important and pivotal one at that.

The danger is that as you let people from various edges of the Tea Party movement get up to the podium with the world watching, their words begin to define what the Tea Party Movement stands for. If they stick to the basics that pull everyone together, it'll be great. OTOH, if people take the opportunity to push their own pet issues, such as immigration and abortion, they risk splintering the united grass roots effort. Because there is no central apparatus, there are many arms of the Tea Party movement. This is healthy, in that, its agenda is being laid by the ground up. It's potentially damaging, in that their message takes on different emphasis in the minds of the people attending the Town Halls and such, even if they aren't expressed in the signs at the protests. They are united by anger and fear of the direction our country is going. They want the power to be returned to the people. They want the Constitution to become the overriding rule book again. They want our debts to be paid. They want to remain a shining light in the world, instead of falling into the same pitfalls of socialism and dictatorial government that so many other nations have taken or are stuck in. If they stick to that message, there is a large net that are and will get behind.

Basically, the Tea Party has a Back to the Basics message. Return to the Constitution; strengthen basic freedoms; return to a true separation of powers; keep a limited government; remember that our country actually has a republic and federalist model - the House represents us, not their own agenda and states get all powers not specifically given to the federal government. That would be a good place to start for a unifying message.

Let's hope and pray that the message doesn't get distorted in a way that splinters the unifying message.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Take a look at this YouTube video regarding the freedom "Green" movement in Iran. It is incredibly moving. Why on earth are we not supporting them more? They only want what we want - freedom. Believing in the power of democracy and freedom was the offensive strategy that Bush had for defeating terror and nuclear threat in this increasingly hateful world. It is the domino effect he was talking about when he said the democratic countries become allies and brings peace to the world. Iraq was the first domino. Iran wants to be the second. To me, the thousands upon thousands of Iranians standing up to their tyrannical leaders is the gateway to peace in that part of the world. If Iran can be free, anywhere can. Bowing to the Iranian President A. and putting us on an equal footing with him is not working to bring peace or disarmament. The people of Iran need us. From this video, you'd think that we are closer to achieving a free country there than in Afghanistan. The bad people in Iran already hate us; that will not change. We won't be bringing on anymore hostility (rhetorical perhaps, but not practical) than there is now, were we to support the Green freedom seekers.

Freedom is the desire of all people. The people are stronger than their government when they pull together, especially if they have the support and protection of another powerful democracy like America. If we don't support them, all the bad leaders in Iran can do when the masses rise up is kill their people. They already do in many ways. They are expecting a lot of blood shed on February 11.

SHOWDOWN IN TEHRAN: In six days, on the 31st anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, we may see the biggest and possibly the bloodiest confrontation yet between the regime and its enemies, the Iranian people.

Posted at 10:23 pm by Michael Totten

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


You knew it wouldn't be long before the Progressives to find a way to dismiss the Tea Party movement. The "astroturf" language didn't work. Calling them "the radical right fringe" didn't work. They wanted to show them as troublemakers or racists or something, but that proved harder than they thought because the Tea Party protest rallies have been so uncharacteristically non-violent for a protest.

Well, I think they may have found a ploy. As the saying goes, "one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel." From an article from PajamasMedia,
Houston has a problem.

Rather, the Houston tea party groups have a problem — a character named Dale Robertson. He is a self-appointed “leader” of the tea party movement, most famous for carrying a sign at the 3/27 tea party in Houston with the word “niggar” on it.
It reminds me of the big Tea Party Protest in Washington D.C. where CNN tried so hard to frame the Tea Partiers to be something they're not. Now, they have found someone to back up their preconceived conclusions.
Unfortunately, the press seems to find him newsworthy. He continues to show up in mass media professing to be the “founder” of the tea party movement. From his website:

"Dale, is the founder of the modern day Tea Party. Dale Robertson, a public speaker, a family man with a wife and 5 children, has lead Tea Party rallies across America from its inception."

He owns the website and has even hired publicist Tim Bueler to increase his profile.
So, they've got someone on the inside who can make the Tea Party movement look like it's made up of racists.

Divide and conquer. If infiltrators like this show up, the Tea Party could start to divide itself, trying to separate itself from such garbage. Hopefully, true Tea Partiers can clear the record before that happens. They're trying.
Unfortunately, Dale is very much not a hero to those who first encountered him in February of last year. He has been described as a fake, a con artist, and worse by frustrated tea party groups across the land. Houston’s, in particular, is so upset at being associated with the man that they sent out the following press release:

1. He is NOT a member of our Leadership team.

2. He owns a website with which we have never been affiliated.

3. He has never been a part of organizing any of the Tea Party rallies in the Houston area, or any other area that we can find.

4. We addressed some issues involving him back in April. Here it is on our website, where Mr. Robertson himself comments:

5. We do not choose to associate with people that use his type of disgusting language.
It seems to be helping, at least with the Tea Party types, who get most of their news from the blogosphere.
We shall see how long it takes before the tea party movement finally gets the mainstream media to avoid this man. They have, for the most part, corrected the blogosphere. But they have a lot work left to do to marginalize this man.

Here is the full story.


We've all heard that before, i.e., "It's the economy, stupid," when talking about why a political figure is not polling well. It's what voters are reacting to when they're marking their ballot. That may very well be true, but if America's enemies get their way, our money troubles may seem irrelevant compared to the havoc they reap. I think of the earthquake in Haiti, and how lives, their way of life, and their very country was destroyed in a minute.

I grew up during the Cold War, but was young enough to be aloof enough for it not to concern me. Dad promised that because both the USA and Russia had the nuclear bomb, all would be fine, b/c of the inevitable mutual destruction. Peace through strength. And, he was right. Today, it's different. It's different because if Iran were to get the nuclear bomb, they may not care about mutual destruction. Already, suicide bombers are willing to lose their life in the name of hurting the infidels. Men, women, and children will die for the cause of destroying Western Civilization as we know it.

Remarks and events coming out of Iran in the last couple of days are concerning. First, there was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announcing that,
"the nation will deliver a harsh blow to the “global arrogance” on this year’s anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
The anniversary is February 11, 2010. (Ironic that it's the 11th) Who knows what he means by that threat, but my speculation is that it will have something to do with demonstrating that they have a nuclear bomb ready.

Then, today, (from here)
Iran has launched a research rocket carrying a mouse, two turtles and worms into space – showing that the country can defeat the west in the battle of technology and that it will soon send its own astronauts, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today.
That, in itself might be a "harsh blow to the global arrogance" of the U.S.A. But, if that's all he had in mind, wouldn't he have waited until Feb. 11, or said the "harsh blow" would happen on Feb. 3. What today's launch does show, however, is that they have the technology to shoot a rocket big enough to go into space, which could imply that they have the technology to build a rocket big enough to deliver a nuke a long ways. Therefore, I think it's plausible, if not speculative, that Ahmadinejad could show that they are now the superpower of this world, because their nuke is ready.

They would be, too, because the USA would never send a nuclear bomb, first. But, Ahmadinejad would. Any threat he made would have to be taken extremely seriously. In the absence of the desire to preserve the lives of your own people, what would stop him? There would no longer be any room for negotiation. They could dictate to the world their demands. There would be no more hope for negotiation. I think that would be the definition of dealing "a harsh blow to the global arrogance" of the United States.

It brings to mind the time of "The Kings" in the Old Testament. When the power of the thrown came from a good king, one in which had the best interests of people at heart, all was well. But, when power became an end unto itself, the king's motives were not to protect the people, but to rule over them and exert his control and power wherever he could. I see a parallel in America being the superpower of the world versus if Iran were the superpower of the world. The whole world would have a dark cloud over it.

We wouldn't be counting our dimes and nickels, but our very lives.

It's hard to say where we'd be, in terms of our relationship to Iran, if Bush were still president. But, I don't think this administration has helped our cause by bowing down to dictators, apologizing for the United States, and generally giving up our status in the world, and handing it over to a country with a bigger stick.

I pray I'm wrong, but even if I'm not, it seems like it's only time before that will happen.


We already know that the stimulus package did not deliver the jobs it promised, but news today proves it did even less than even their "jobs saved or created" numbers. Now, it's simply, "jobs being paid for with stimulus money" (whether or not they would have been lost w/o it.) From an article written by
As The New York Times notes, the Obama administration has abandoned the attempt to count the number of jobs "created or saved" by the stimulus money—i.e., jobs that would not exist but for the special funds from Washington. .....Instead they are now officially asked to do what many (or most) of them probably were doing anyway: count the jobs "funded" by stimulus money.
Nothing more needs to be said. It's all one big joke. Most of us have already awakened to it (or knew it all along), but there are still some who are drinking the Koolaide and believe that the stimulus is stimulating the economy, instead of simply financing pet projects and and growing our deficit in paralyzing proportions. Hopefully, those people will concede that the joke was on them, before all of their credibility is lost. But, kudos to the NY Times for reporting it. There is hope yet.

Monday, February 1, 2010


2010 is going to be a fun year for watching elections. Even the primary elections get exciting when new Tea Party candidates are involved. It's very exciting to see a truly grass roots movement make such an impact, without huge funds or name recognition. The Illinois governor primary's race is shaping up to be one such race. From, an article by Robert Stacy McCain, entitled, "Andrzejewski's Army,"
"Adam Andrzejewski refers to his opponents in the Illinois Republican primary as "the Redcoats," while calling his own grassroots campaign for governor "the ragtag army."Revolutionary War metaphors come easily for Andrzejewski, whose showing Tuesday in Illinois will provide an early test of the ability of Tea Party activists to deliver votes in Republican primaries during this year's mid-term campaign."
Say that name fast! Adam Andrzejewski is running as one of the Republican candidates in the gubernatorial primary election in Illinois. Instead of his difficult to pronounce name being a handicap, he has used it as a funny part of a friendly commercial,
"His comparatively modest resources may actually prove a hidden blessing in the hard-fought primary. While his opponents are inundating Illinois with automated "robocalls" and flooding the airwaves with negative ads, Andrzejewski's campaign is relying on volunteers to run phone banks and closing out with a light-hearted TV commercial featuring man-on-the-street interviews of voters pronouncing his last name.
It's pronounced "an-gee-EFF-skee
," reflecting a Polish heritage that should prove another advantage in Illinois.
While he isn't entering the election tomorrow with the highest polling numbers, (from last week) there is surely to be at least some spike after today's endorsement by Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck. He is one of the top five candidates in the primary.
"The Republican race is even more up for grabs with five candidates polling within eight points of each other. Kirk Dillard is at 19%, followed by Andy McKenna with 17%, Bill Brady with 16%, Jim Ryan at 13%, and Adam Andrzejewski at 11%. Of the remaining candidates only Dan Proft with 7% is not in double digits."
Andrzejewski said,
"We feel we're either within the margin of error or leading the race right now," said the Tea Party candidate, adding that he senses "panic" among his rivals in the crowded primary field. "We think 22 percent wins the race. Anywhere from 150,000 to 200,000 votes -- in a state of 13 million -- will win the nomination. The bar is that low."
Daily, I hear more and more instances of the Tea Party movement gaining momentum and credibility.