Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

I keep recommending National Review's James Lileks to you and in the latest issue of the magazine itself, not NRO, he delivers yet another gem.

Remember Nancy Pelosi's risible pitch for a "Yea" vote in the House for Obamacare, "We'll have to pass it in order to find out what's in it."?

Well, in another context, Lileks alludes to it and then offers this passing comment about it:  "...a phrase that should be spoken only by a doctor in reference to a stool sample..."

Gotta remember that one.

Homer Garofalo

Consider this pearl of wisdom and insight delivered by Janeane Garofalo:
"Herman Cain is probably well liked by some of the Republicans because it hides the racist elements of the Republican party. Conservative movement and tea party movement, one and the same." 
"People like Karl Rove liked to keep the racism very covert. And so Herman Cain provides this great opportunity say you can say 'Look, this is not a racist, anti-immigrant, anti-female, anti-gay movement. Look we have a black man.'"
I've never been much of a fan of The Simpsons, but my son was and he used to quote this interchange between Lisa and Homer and it always made me giggle: “(Lisa) “I’m going to become a vegetarian” (Homer) “Does that mean you’re not going to eat any pork?” “Yes” “Bacon?” “Yes Dad” Ham?” “Dad all those meats come from the same animal” “Right Lisa, some wonderful, magical animal!”"

Sage: But what about Clarence Thomas?
Janeane: Racists
Sage: Colin Powell?
Janeane: Racists 
Sage: Condalisa Rice?
Janeane: Racists
Sage:  But Janeane all of those black people are from the same Republican Party.
Janeane:  Right Sage, some wonderful, magical non-racist Republican Party!
By the way, who is Janeane Garofalo?

As Long as We're Talkin' Baseball...

Check out this brief remembrance of Dodger great, Sandy Koufax

The occasion for the piece is, of course, the beginning of this year's playoffs and the memory of Koufax's principled refusal to pitch game one of the 1965 World Series between the Dodgers and the Twins.  This year the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur was just this week, but that year it conflicted with the opening of the Series and the Jewish Koufax was determined to honor it nevertheless.

My own personal memory of Koufax comes from the 1966 season.  We were living in Dover, Delaware at the time.  My father was stationed there as an enlisted man in the US Air Force and that summer he took me to a double-header between the Phillies, my first favorite team, and the visiting L.A. Dodgers.  (A few years later we moved back to the South for good and I became and have remained a Braves fan ever since.)  While I didn't yet know many of the players besides those who were on the Phillies' roster, I certainly knew who Sandy Koufax was.  I remember praying, literally, that Koufax and Don Drysdale, a one-two punch seldom equaled, would pitch both ends of the matchup.  It didn't matter that I was a Philly fan.  Alas, they didn't, but my Dad let me wander down from our seats to alongside the field during the pre-game warmups and sure enough, before my very young and very wide eyes, there they were, Koufax and Drysdale, loosening up, playing catch with their teammates.

"God, I love baseball"

Obama and the DEMOCRATS!

Among the several aspects of the GOP presidential debates thus far that have bothered me most is, one, they focus on each others' shortcomings too much and on Obama's not enough, and, two, they attack the Democrat Party and its congressional leadership almost not at all.

Even if the Republicans manage to unseat Obama in 2012, if they don't strive for and achieve, or nearly achieve, a veto-proof Congress as well, not much can or will change.  In fact, the crisis will continue and time, even more so than cash, is what we are desperately short of.

Anyway,  Peter Ferrara has some thoughts about this over at The American Spectator.  But unless the candidates' rhetoric and tactics change soon, I'm not sure I share his optimism about the outcome.

Braves and BoSox Blow Out

I wish I could write "bow out" instead, but while their final games, which will mark for them the beginning of what will be a very long off-season indeed, were close, there was nothing artful about what happened to either team in September.

I don't follow the Red Sox closely, but the Braves' problems were captured perfectly in their heartbreaking, 13-inning loss to the Phillies:  Their rightly vaunted, but still very young bullpen finally ran out of gas and they simply could not get a big hit, or even manufacture a run, when it counted, their most obvious shortcoming the entire season.

Oh well...wait until next year...again.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Politically Correct Executions, cont.

By the way, if you are interested in the FACTS of the case about the cop-killer who was executed in Georgia last week, check out Ann Coulter's latest column in which she details them.   I suspect you didn't, and won't, read them anywhere else.

Yours, Mine, and Mine Too, cont.

It occurs to me that I need to say something more about Ms. Warren's comments. (Read'em again in my previous post.)

While, yes, it's true that we all together paid for the roads we drive on, the fire and police departments that protect us, our workers' education, etc., the key difference between the rest of us and the successful businessman Ms. Warren is targeting in her rant is that that businessman, that entrepreneur, after paying his share for our common roads and more, took some or all of what he had left over, plus whatever extra he could raise from investors who thought he had a good idea, each  understanding that there was a very real risk that his idea might not work and that he and they might lose everything, nevertheless put it to work and built a business that produced a good or service many of us wanted or needed, a business that provided, as a result, real livelihoods for those same commonly educated workers.

The difference between Ms. Warren and me (and I pray you too) is that I want to encourage this fellow, pat him on the back, cheer him on, thank him even for what he's risked and accomplished and provided for us all.  She, instead, wants to deliver to him a sermon about how his success is not really his at all, that, in fact, a goodly portion of it, she, as a representative of the state and with the power of the state behind her, intends to confiscate and put to whatever use she thinks best.

It apparently never occurs to simpletons like Ms. Warren that if her philosophy wins the day, that same fellow, and thousands more like him, might just as well calculate from the very beginning that, you know, it's just not worth it.  He has, after all, already paid his fare share.  Meanwhile, all the good and services and JOBS that he could have delivered will be lost.

People like Ms. Elizabeth Warren, and there are far too many of them in this country, most of whom call the Democrat Party home, make my blood boil.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Yours, Mine, and Mine Too

You've probably already heard about attorney, former Harvard Law professor, former Obama advisor, and current Massachusetts Democrat senatorial candidate, Elizabeth Warren's socialist rant, but just in case you haven't, it went like this:
I hear all this, you know, "Well, this is class warfare," this is whatever." No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own -- nobody.
You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for.You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory -- and hire someone to protect against this -- because of the work the rest of us did.
Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea.God bless -- keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
How much you want to bet that if either you or I walked into Ms. Warren's home without first being invited and proceeded to help ourselves to the contents of her refrigerator, for example, she'd not be quite so, uh, sociable?  In fact, how much you want to bet she'd call the police?  You know, the same police the rest of us paid for?

So silly and stupid are people like Ms. Warren that it is virtually impossible for them to realize that only in a country as great and generous as our own is the silliness and stupidity that describes them not only survivable, but sometimes rewarded with things like sinecures in government positions or distinguished chairs at Ivy League schools, or even seats in the US Senate.

When we are no longer able to subsidize such idiocy, well, then we'll know for sure we're in big trouble.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action!

Just in case you needed a reminder that most actors we think of as mature, serious, and wise, appear so only because they've played a role or two that called for them to act mature, serious, and wise.

Take away the directors and the writers and you get...well, you get actor Morgan Freeman with the altogether predictable charge of racism aimed at the root of the Tea Party, noty to mention any and all objections to the presidency of Barack Obama.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Saving the Sweet Science

If you're interested, and you should be, you might try this little Friday afternoon diversion by Paul Beston on the history, recently sad plight, and dubious future of boxing in America.

Growing up I was a boxing fan, inheriting that interest from my father who came of age during Joe Louis's reign.  He maintained throughout his life that Louis, not Ali, never Ali, was the real "Greatest".  (I very respectfully disagreed.)  Significantly, my father's enthusiasm for the sport wasn't a result of being reared in the big city, nor a sympathy borne of a shared ethnicity with any particular fighter.  He, like most Americans then, just knew who the big-name boxers were, even if they knew little about boxing itself.  From the 1920s until the 1950s, boxing shared its otherwise monopoly of America's sporting attention with baseball alone.  Every real American, fan or not, simply knew who the all-star ballplayers were.  So much so, in fact, that, as we've seen in countless films, knowledge of a player was one sure way to test whether the strange fellow wandering along the front line in Europe was an genuine G.I. Joe or a German imposter.  So it was with boxers as well.

Anyway, whither boxing?

Who knows?  But I, for one, am routing for a comeback.

Kinda like the one I'm hoping for the country itslef.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Politically Correct Executions

Yesterday two men were executed by their respective states for committing the crime of murder. Both were afforded the presumption of innocence, trial by a jury of their peers, and, as is always the case, almost uncountable appellate reviews.  

"Ga. executes Davis; supporters claim injustice"

"White supremacist executed for Texas dragging"

Only one of the cases excited the attention and passions of liberals and anti-death penalty activists.

Any guesses as to why?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


As I've mentioned several times before, New York Times columnist David Brooks can, and often does, drive me to distraction.  Well, not so much anymore, not since I stopped reading him.

But when I did read, or listen to him, he got under my skin in a special way because he positioned himself, or perhaps allowed himself to be positioned, as one of those public intellectuals who, while identifying in the main with the conservative cause, nevertheless spend most of their time, spill most of their ink, speak most of their words decrying what is wrong with that cause and its always too-flawed champions.  With friends like these....

But something has happened and in his most recent column Brooks has issued a mea culpa of sorts: "I’m a sap, a specific kind of sap. I’m an Obama Sap."

The "something" that happened is that the Barack Obama of promise has not lived up to  expectations.  In fact, he's governed, and increasingly so, like any other pol, past, present, or future.  Brooks compares himself by allusion to the cartoon character Charlie Brown, you know the one, the "sap", who against his better judgment believes Lucy (Obama) as she places the football on the turf for him to kick, only to pull it away at the last moment...again.

I suppose you could pass this off as yet another case of hopeless naivete, and no doubt that's part of it.  But Brooks is too seasoned for it to be the bulk of it.

The telling part of his column is found at the very end.
The president believes the press corps imposes a false equivalency on American politics. We assign equal blame to both parties for the dysfunctional politics when in reality the Republicans are more rigid and extreme. There’s a lot of truth to that, but at least Republicans respect Americans enough to tell us what they really think. The White House gives moderates little morsels of hope, and then rips them from our mouths. To be an Obama admirer is to toggle from being uplifted to feeling used. 
The White House has decided to wage the campaign as fighting liberals. I guess I understand the choice, but I still believe in the governing style Obama talked about in 2008. I may be the last one. I’m a sap.
First, there he goes again.  Rather than describing Republicans as "more rigid and extreme", might he have written instead that they were "more principled and determined"?  And even if his words are the correct ones, can you think of a time, the stakes currently being so very, very high, when rigidity and extremism were more in order?  No matter, at least he recognizes, belatedly, the more essential integrity that is at the heart of conservatism, an essential integrity that, along with many other important aspects, serves to distinguish it from liberalism.  (Please notice that I wrote "conservatism", not "conservatives".  We have our fair share of scoundrels as well.)

But it is that one little word in the very last paragraph that reveals more about Brooks and his kind than anything else: style.

The very big problem with positioning oneself as a "moderate", aside from the grating habit that alm ost always attends it of preening about one's moral and intellectual superiority (sorry, I just had to get that in), is that one becomes extremely susceptible to focusing almost exclusively on style over substance.  Having forsworn a governing ideology, what else can you focus on?

Well, it would appear that President Obama's slacks have finally lost their crease for David Brooks.

But this is a time for magnanimity, not gloating.  So, I say, "Welcome home Mr. Brooks!  I'm sapped too, but the fight must go on."     

Monday, September 19, 2011


I'm pretty sure I've referred to an article or two of Roger Scruton's over the 1.75-year (one must be precise) life of this blog, but even if I haven't, you would do well to grab a cup of coffee and give these three read:

1. "Multiculturalism, R.I.P."

2. "The Rebirth of Nations"

3. "The Importance of Culture"

You will come away with as good an understanding as to why the euro and the whole project that is the European Union was foolish from its inception.  No, "foolish", is not a strong enough word. He, like me, thinks it is downright dangerous.

And don't worry, he's not going to bore you with talk about exchange rates, debt ratios, etc.

In the meantime, keep your eyes open for anything written by Roger Scruton.


"Orchestrated Sychophancy"

Love that phrase.

It's by Rex Murphy in Canada's National Post and he uses it to describe the elite media's, shall we  somewhat less pointedly say, lack of due diligence when reporting on the candidacy and then presidency of Barack Hussein Obama.

It's timing couldn't have been better as I read it just after making my way through this almost embarrassingly fawning piece by the erstwhile Executive Editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller.

The latter piece might have made me blow my top at some other reading, but this morning it just made me giggle.

As Rush Limbaugh has taken to saying, when President Obama gets his over-50 colonoscopy, I wonder if the camera returns will reveal a photo of Bill Keller.

She Lost it at the Movies

Apparently out of any serious ideas for her weekly column, the New York Times' Maureen Dowd trots out this tired caricature instead.  You know the one, Liberal Democrats are smart but often ineffectual, while conservative Republicans are stupid but...reckless gunslingers too!

You pick.

Her point, of course, is to discredit as quickly as she can the candidacy of Texas Governor Rick Perry and to help make her case, she invokes the John Ford film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.  I'm afraid, however, that she misunderstands that superb movie (no surprise).  For her, it is little more than a shallow Manichean horse opera.  Dowd: "At the cusp of the 2012 race, we have a classic cultural collision between a skinny Eastern egghead lawyer who’s inept in Washington gunfights and a pistol-totin’, lethal-injectin’, square-shouldered cowboy who has no patience for book learnin’."

What that picture was actually about was something far more serious and enduring.  So enduring, in fact, that were it possible, Alexander Hamilton himself could have provided the voice-over for the film's trailer.  Hamilton, from The Federalist:
It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country to decide, by their conduct and example, the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.
While Hamilton was clearly on the side of "reflection and choice" (who isn't?), he was not being simplistically rhetorical.

Neither should MoDo. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ford Tough

Here's something I thought I'd never see. 

It seems Ford Motor Company is now encouraging you to buy their products over Chrysler's and GM's because they didn't get a government bailout.

I say I thought I'd never see this because contrary to popular belief, Big Business doesn't control everything, or even much of anything from behind the scenes.  Rather, Big Government does.  No, wait, Big Government does so now without even feeling anymore the need for the pretense of curtains, and Wizards, and Emerald Cities.

Big Government, straight-up and in your face, can and much too often does make the lives of small and large companies alike miserable, not to mention much more expensive as well.  It does this through the passing of laws, the imposition of regulations, the interpretation of those regulations, prosecutions, threats of the same, congressional hearings, etc.  As a result, Big Business normally finds it much more in its interest to placate rather than antagonize Big Government.  Hence all the multiples of millions, passed on to the consumer always and necessarily, spent on DC lobbyists.

Therefore, my surprise at Ford's ad.

God bless'em.

All other things being equal, buy a Ford, would ya?

From Ponzi Scheme to Private Accounts

Charles Krauthammer has penned a thoughtful piece about the fate of Social Security with the refreshingly honest subtitle, "Of course it's a Ponzi scheme."

(The fact that even fellow Republicans lept to attack Texas Governor Perry for his stating of the obvious about Social Security really bugged me.  It said something revealing about the other candidates, about the lack of substance in their campaigns, that they, like the Democrats and their elite-media allies, are not really interested in serious discussion and debate, that instead they're mostly just looking for "gotcha" moments to use to try to discredit their strongest opposition. (By the way, let no one confuse this for support of the Perry candidacy.))

Anyway, back to Krauthammer, he offers four propositions, the last of which includes three measures he argues would effectively "save" Social Security from its looming insolvency: (1) Change the cost-of-living-increase formula, (2) means test recipients, and (3) raise the retirement age. 

All three measures are sound and would no doubt improve the program a great deal.  But, and this is important, it would remain a Ponzi scheme all the same.  Krauthammer's analysis is based on a faulty premise found in his second proposition: "The crucial distinction between a Ponzi scheme and Social Security is that Social Security is mandatory."

With all due respect to Dr. K, ths is not the crucial difference between the two.  In fact, there is really no difference at all which he makes clear in the first of his propositions: "In a Ponzi scheme...dividends don’t come from any profitable or productive activity — they consist entirely of money paid in by later participants." (my italics)

Importantly, it is in this very description that the real solution lies.  For Social Security to survive, it must be changed from a Ponzi scheme in which dividends consist entirely of money paid in by later participants into private savings accounts in which dividends come from profitable or productive activity.

That is, for it to survive it must be changed into somehting like an IRA or 401K in which each participant's contributions (i.e., taxes) are invested not in the future demography of the US population, but in the real stocks and bonds issued by real companies that produce real goods and services at a real profit.

Is this politically risky?  Ask former president George W. Bush.  But times have changed as has the  electorate's willingness to listen to real solutions. (No thanks to Democrats, by the way, who continue to demagogue the issue.)

So, if I may, here's a fifth proposition that now, under new circumstances, just might safely navigate the always politically perilous waters that surround the issue of Social Security:  (1) In the near term, offer an option to privatize individual Social Security accounts (in the long term this must, I repeat, must become the norm or it will remain a Ponzi scheme); (2) Continue to mandate a minimum monthly contribution (i.e., tax); (3) reduce the government's role to the still important one of underwriting private accounts to some minimum level.  That is, the government would operate for investment accounts as it does now for bank accounts throught the FDIC.

That the accounts become private, i.e., individual's can exercise control over them with full legal title, should please conservatives.  That the contributions remain mandatory and are insured to some minimum level should please liberals.

If you've got a better plan, let's hear it.

Meanwhile, it's Friday, thank God, enjoy the weekend 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Politician

I was reading a piece by Ron Ross in the American Spectator about the dearth of Democrat Party leadership and this passage caught my attention and made me laugh:
This is not a new problem for Democrats. Although they have managed to win presidential elections over the past few decades there is usually something off kilter with their candidates. For example, there is something a bit weird about Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Howard Dean, John Edwards, and Barack Obama. They are not what most people would consider normal. Each in his own way has at least a borderline personality disorder. All of them have difficulty being up front and honest about who they are and about their true objectives. (my italics)
This tickled me in large part because it rang so true.

I've always thought politics, in a democracy anyway, a passing strange business.  Think about it, success in politics is defined by winning and holding the good opinion of a majority of the people, a majority of the people the overwhelming share of which you don't, won't, and can't ever know.  And were it possible to know them, you're as likely as not to discover that you're not only contemptuous of their judgment, but even of their capacity for judgment.

Normally, we think of maturity as arriving at a place in one's life where the judgments of others about who and what you are, especially the judgments of those you do not respect, means less and less.  In politics, it's just the opposite.

But like most things in life, this is not an either/or proposition.  That is, it's not like there are two kinds of people, those tempted to run for political office and the rest of us.  Instead, it's a question of more and less.  Some people are more like this, others less.

Anyway, among the many reasons I'm a Republican is that insofar as our candidates are genuinely conservative ideologically, they are on balance more honest and sane than the Democrats'.  Not perfectly so, just more so.  As conservatism in America is so closely identified with the founding and its purposes, a founding most Americans still cherish and celebrate, conservative candidates needn't be secret about their ideology with the electorate.  (Although far too many professional pols think they must nevertheless and counsel GOP candidates accordingly.)

A liberal, by contrast, enjoys no such liberty.  Whether he wants to race toward socialism or just amble in its direction, he must, if he hopes to be remain electable, hide his intentions from the voting public.  That kind of routine dissembling and/or self-deception demands and attracts a certain kind of man.

Precisely the kind of man described by Ross in the list above as weird.

Change in the Weather?

A refreshingly cool breeze anyway.  Check it out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Me, Myself, and I

I thought the President's Jobs Bill was about, well, jobs.

Evidently, it's about Barack Obama.

To a cheering crowd in North Carolina, President Obama convinced his supporters of the efficacy of his bill with arguments like these: "If you love me, you got to help me pass this bill," and "Give me a win? Give me a break."

"What's the matter with kids today?"

The future?

Prepare to be depressed.

Let me ask you, absent the grace of God, can there be any doubt as to the political party and/or ideology with which these kids will one day identify?

Let me also ask you, can there be any doubt about the fact that you and I will in some fashion or another be called upon to pick up the tab for their undisciplined lives?  Either as a victim of their crimes or as the deep pockets that fund their incarceration, rehab, unemployment, or all of the above?

The Great Reckoning looms.

I'll Take Manhattan

Well, Queens and Brooklyn anyway.

Retired Republican businessman Bob Turner upset Democrat State Assemblyman David Weprin 54-46% to fill New York's Ninth Congressional District, the seat vacated in July by disgraced Democrat Congressman Anthony Weiner. The seat had been held by Democrats for over 80 years.

True, it was a special election, under unusual circumstances, with small turnout.

But a win's a win and, we hope, a weather vane.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Before you get too concerned about the US Census Bureau's newly-released "poverty" statistics, remember that, as many others have pointed out before, in this country, obesity of all things is currently one of its signs.

Remember also these characteristics of contemporary American poverty.

Oh, this in no way absolves the Obama Administration and the Democrats for their abysmal record of job non-creation.

The Spoils of Diversity

Finally, a judiciary that looks like America.

Well, sort of like America.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman had these inspiring words to offer yesterday as we remembered 9/11 ten years later:
Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?
Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd. 
What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. Te atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons. A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?
The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it. 
I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.
The "obvious reason", of course, is that he's gutless.

Would someone please explain to me how I'm supposed to compromise with a man, a man who is not alone I might add, who thinks like this?

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Joint Session of Straw Men

President Obama's address to the Congress and the nation last night will soon be forgotten. We've heard it all before...and it doesn't work.

Nevertheless, there was one passage from the speech that resonated precisely because we've heard it all before. Like Sha Na Na only sings songs from the 50s, a liberal Democrat only sings songs from the 60s.   From the grooveyard of forgotten favorites, Barack Obama:
But what we can’t do – what I won’t do – is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades. I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety. I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients. I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy. We shouldn’t be in a race to the bottom, where we try to offer the cheapest labor and the worst pollution standards. America should be in a race to the top. And I believe that’s a race we can win. 
In fact, this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everyone’s money, let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own – that’s not who we are. That’s not the story of America. 
Yes, we are rugged individualists. Yes, we are strong and self-reliant. And it has been the drive and initiative of our workers and entrepreneurs that has made this economy the engine and envy of the world. 
 But there has always been another thread running throughout our history – a belief that we are all connected; and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation. 
We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. But in the middle of a Civil War, he was also a leader who looked to the future – a Republican president who mobilized government to build the transcontinental railroad; launch the National Academy of Sciences; and set up the first land grant colleges. And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set. 
Ask yourselves – where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways and our bridges; our dams and our airports? What would this country be like if we had chosen not to spend money on public high schools, or research universities, or community colleges? Millions of returning heroes, including my grandfather, had the opportunity to go to school because of the GI Bill. Where would we be if they hadn’t had that chance? 
How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip? What kind of country would this be if this Chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do? How many Americans would have suffered as a result? 
No single individual built America on their own. We built it together. We have been, and always will be, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all; a nation with responsibilities to ourselves and with responsibilities to one another. Members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities.
Fade out with the Byrds, "There is a season, turn, turn, turn..."

Thursday, September 8, 2011


I was going to wait until this Sunday, September 11, the actual 10th anniversary of the attack, but as I see no one else is, I thought it might be better to weigh in now before we all weary of the uncountable retrospectives.

And weary we will.  To whom now but a very few does "Remember Pearl Harbor" still serve as a rallying cry?

If there is one lesson I pray we Americans "never forget" from the events of that terrible day ten years ago, it is that it is our birthright, our charge, and our enduring challenge to remain always and chiefly a self-reliant people.

My military career included a little over three years stationed in Great Britain.  From there, I routinely traveled throughout the European continent as well.  As I saw it then, among the many things that distinguished we Americans from our European allies, that made us exceptional, was that we were nowhere as inclined as they to demonstrate an almost reflexive deference to the state.  When confronted with some bureaucratically imposed regulatory nuisance of one sort or another, your average American was much more likely than your average European to say something like, "This is bull$#!+!" and then begin to look for some way around it, if not simply ignore it altogether.

But over time, and especially over the past 80 or so years since the New Deal, we have become, I'm afraid, more Europeanized, more dependent on the national government, and, as a consequence, more docile as a people.

To take just the case of responding to an aircraft highjacking, for example, the case that describes 9/11, we have been schooled by the state since the 1960s (remember "Take me to Havana"?) that if we were ever to find ourselves in such an unfortunate circumstance, that we must in the first instance exercise extreme patience, that we must await the arrival of the proper authorities, that we must let them handle it all, and that we must by no means resist or be tempted to take matters into our own hands. 

Almost immediately after we were sure that the planes that flew into the Twin Towers were the result of no accident, it was clear to anyone with eyes to see that the long lesson counseling patience and passivity in such a situation was not only wrong, it was deadly wrong.  Had the instincts of the passengers on board been those of self-reliance instead, none of what eventually transpired would have.  Sadly, this did become clear to the people of United Flight 93, but for them it was too late.

The chief lesson of 9/11, the lesson we must never forget, should not be limited to how one ought to respond to an aircraft highjacking, nor even how a nation ought to respond to the threat of international terrorism.  Rather, it must be that only a genuinely self-reliant people are truly free and, as important, truly secure in that freedom.  Anything, and I do mean anything, that serves to degrade that self-reliance is ultimately dangerous.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Paper or Plastic? Los Angeles, that is.

One wonders whether an earthquake or just simple reality will come crashing down first on this once great state.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Do You "Believe" in Evolution?, cont.

It was the skinny blond bomber, Ann Coulter, who prompted my post of the other day on this subject, so I may as well let her finish it out.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ayres, Dohrn, Obama, Clinton, Rodham,...

Bill Ayres and Bernardine Dohrn have been out of the news for awhile now, but a piece by Alfred S. Regnery for The American Spectator reminds us who they are, how they're connected to President Obama, and, for me, how they're representative of that whole 1960s Destructive Generation of unrepentant middle- and upper-middle class America-hating ingrates, as well as the generation of ovine acolytes that succeeded them.

My contempt for these people, these kinds of people, knows no bounds, and, unfortunately, they're everywhere, everywhere "makin' it" in the same America they despise.

In a sane and just world...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Panty Puzzler

Confounding police, a dump of more than 3,000 panties was discovered alongside a country road in remote Ohio.

A spokesman for Bill Clinton confirmed that the former president had not visited the Buckeye state for some time.

Friday, September 2, 2011


D.C. political pundit Charles Krauthammer needs a diversion.  His is baseball and his current enthusiasm is for the hometown Washington Nationals, an almost-but-not-quite-yet team.  He writes, beautifully, about both it and them in today's National Review Online.

The other famous baseball fan pundit is of course George Will and it occurs to me that he, like Krauthammer, is a conservative.  Which prompts the question:  Are there any liberal pundits similarly interested in baseball, in any pastime for that matter, in anything other than politics 24/7?

There may well be, but it is hard to imagine, isn't it, much less come up with a name?

That, I submit, as well as anything, serves to describe and define the differences between the two ideologies.

Good Day Sunshine

By now you've heard of the bankruptcy of the solar-panel making company Solyndra.  This is bad news for the company, its workers, the White House and the Democrats who backed the company, and the American taxpayer who is on the hook for over a half-billion dollars in loan guarantees.

The bright side of this story, however, is exactly the same as the dark side and, on a far grander scale, we can say the same for the failure of the Democrats' nearly one-trillion dollar stimulus package.

The absolute worst thing that could have happened, let me say that again, THE ABSOLUTE WORST THING THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED, would have been for either the company or for the stimulus to have succeeded.  Had they, whatever short-term gains realized would have been realized, long-term failure of even greater proportions would have followed.

The lesson is crucial and, unfortunately, must be reinforced again and again:  No government, irrespective of who happens to be in control at the time, can create economic growth in this fashion.  More importanly, much more importantly, they shouldn't even try.  Our liberty is at stake.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Taking Exception with Exceptionalism

Here's a must read by Shelby Steele: "Obama and the Burden of Exceptionalism"

The money passage:
...Therefore it is not surprising that America developed a liberalism—a political left—that took issue with our exceptionalism. It is a left that has no more fervent mission than to recast our greatness as the product of racism, imperialism and unbridled capitalism.

But this leaves the left mired in an absurdity: It seeks to trade the burdens of greatness for the relief of mediocrity. When greatness fades, when a nation contracts to a middling place in the world, then the world in fact no longer knocks on its door. (Think of England or France after empire.) To civilize America, to redeem the nation from its supposed avarice and hubris, the American left effectively makes a virtue of decline—as if we can redeem America only by making her indistinguishable from lesser nations.
Did you catch that?  The Left "makes a virtue of decline."

He goes on to say that "America seems to be facing a pivotal moment: Do we move ahead by advancing or by receding—by reaffirming the values that made us exceptional or by letting go of those values, so that a creeping mediocrity begins to spare us the burdens of greatness?"

Sounds like the Great Reckoning to me.

O, Wonder!

Consider this headline alone, and, if you can bear it, the underlying story as well:  "'Chaz Bono stole my thunder': Pregnant man claims Cher's son took his spot on Dancing With The Stars"
O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!
(Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I)

Fried Rice

The Bush Administration's first-term National Security Advisor and second-term Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice resents at least some of what Dick Cheney has to say about her in his just-released memoir: "I don't appreciate the attack on my integrity that that implies."  In fact, she goes so far as to agree with her predecessor at the State Department, General Colin Powell, about the character of some of Cheney's recollections:  "I think they do fall into the category of cheap shots."

I don't know about you, but as much as I respect and admire Secretary Rice, in this case, I think I'll take the always blunt-talking Cheney's word over hers about what transpired exactly.  How shall I say this?  We know Powell is, and I'm afraid she may be as well, just a bit more concerned about public image than is the former vice president.  Apologizing for Bush's famous "sixteen words" from his 2003 State of the Union address seemed at the time unnecessary, ill-advised, foolish even.