Rumblings On School Choice

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal posted an article on the growing school choice movement among both Democrats and Republicans.  South Carolina state Senator Robert Ford says that the new civil rights struggle is about the quality of education in public schools, he feels that in order to receive a quality education, African-American children need school choice.  He states, “We need choice like Obama has. He can send his kids to any school he wants.”

The article points out:

“The danger for Democrats still opposed to school choice is that Mr. Ford represents widespread frustration among black voters who see Mr. Obama in the White House and now expect real change to occur in their communities. Black voters could come to support conservative education policies (if not GOP candidates).

Typically, school-choice fights involve Republicans and a handful of Democrats pushing vouchers for a limited number of poor kids in inner cities. That’s fine as far as it goes. But, as is evident in Washington, D.C., it doesn’t go far. With just a few thousand families receiving vouchers, congressional Democrats are confident that they can kill the school-choice program in D.C. without provoking a voter backlash.”

South Carolina is looking at a program of tax credits to allow lower and middle income familites access to better schools.  Let’s hope this program catches on in other states.

The Neverending Minnesota Senate Election

It looks as if the neverending Minnesota Senate election may be coming to an end.  According to The Hill, Senator Coleman and Al Franken will face off before the Minnesota Supreme Court on Monday.  According to the article:

“At issue in the appeal is whether or not the panel overseeing Coleman’s election challenge erred in including some absentee ballots while disqualifying others. Coleman’s campaign alleges that the court inconsistently allowed ballots.”

The basic issue here is “one man, one vote”.  Frankly, I don’t think there is a way to get a fair verdict on this vote.  The only real way to handle this particular election is to throw the vote out and have a do-over.  The audit trail of too many votes has been lost, and an equal standard for counting the votes has not been applied.

The Coming Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings

Yesterday’s Power Line has notes by Paul Mirengoff on a discussion between John Hinderaker (one of the authors of Power Line) and Andy McCarthy concerning the upcoming hearings in Congress on Sonia Sotomayer.  The conclusion they draw is very simple.  Paul states:

“I’ve argued many times that Republicans must apply whatever standard the Democrats use when a Republican president makes a Supreme Court nomination. For if the two political parties don’t employ the same standard, one of them will have an unearned advantage when it comes to what is arguably our most important institution.”

Because this makes perfect sense, it probably won’t happen.  Paul points out that the Constituion sets no standard for confirmation.  Up until recently, the President’s choice for judges was approved almost automatically in deference to the President.  That changed when Democrats came to rely so heavily on the Supreme Court to bring about changes they could not enact through the normal political process.  At that point, the Democrats wanted more input into judges even when they did not control the executive branch.  That’s how we got where we are today.

The article concludes:

“A system of deference will yield a Judge Bork or a Justice Scalia. A system where Congress denies deference will yield a Justice Kennedy. And one can only imagine who (if anyone) such a system would have produced if the vacancies President Bush filled had come open in 2007.

But the days of deference are over and Republicans would be fools to even think about reinstating them during the presdency of Barack Obama.”

I have no idea what the correct response to this nomination is.  I do know that the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayer will put the white male on the endangered species list as far as finding employment or getting a fair hearing in her court.


Little Green Cars

Yesterday’s National Review posted an article by Larry Kudlow about what has happened to General Motors.  He points out that the taxpayers now own General Motors, but that we will never get our money back.  Mr. Kudlow points out:

“Instead of putting the failed car enterprise into bankruptcy six months ago — where Carl Icahn or Wilbur Ross could have bought it — the Bush administration chose Bailout Nation. Under Team Obama, that bailout has morphed into full-scale government ownership. Twenty billion dollars of TARP money is already invested in GM, with another $50 billion on the way. And that number could easily double unless GM car sales miraculously climb back to 14 million this year. That’s highly unlikely, with car sales now hovering around 9 million a year.”

The article points out that with the government running General Motors (the government has had no experience running a car company), the extreme environmentalists will pressure the company to make ‘green’ cars which most Americans won’t buy.  However, if you enact energy policies that bring the price of gasoline back up to nearly $5 a gallon, people may buy these cars.  That is what I see the Obama Administration moving toward.  They have blocked all drilling of domestic oil, and they really don’t have a solid alternative energy to fuel our cars and industries.  We are heading into a period of severe lifestyle changes for the average American–and they will not be positive changes.

Larry Kudlow also points out some things from an interview he did with Dick Cheney::

“Cheney was very critical of Obama’s big-government spending-and-borrowing policies, too, telling me that there are only two ways out: inflating the money supply or big tax increases. He doesn’t like either. Yes, Cheney believes Obama has taken Bailout Nation and government stimulus way beyond anything the Bushies ever contemplated. Nevertheless, the damage is done.

“Cheney recalled Bush’s having said that “we have to suspend free-market capitalism in order to save free-market capitalism.” So the big question is this: How long before we resurrect free-market capitalism, and how much damage will current policies do in the meantime?

“I won’t lose my faith in this country’s long-term future. But the issue of how much damage we sustain before returning to the policies of free-market economic growth is very much on my mind.” 

I totally agree.

Election “Security” Patrols In Philadelphia

This is the link to the YouTube video of the three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense of wielding a nightstick and intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place last Election Day.  According to the Washington Times, the political appointees in the Justice Department overruled the carreer lawyers on how the case should be handled.  According to the article:

“A Justice Department spokesman on Thursday confirmed that the agency had dropped the case, dismissing two of the men from the lawsuit with no penalty and winning an order against the third man that simply prohibits him from bringing a weapon to a polling place in future elections.”

The video is disturbing, but the legal aspect of what has happened since is even more disturbing.  I have felt for a while President Obama will be a one-term President.  When the chickens come home to roost on his economic policies, his big plans for cap and trade, health care, and when Americans can no longer buy the cars we want because government environmental radicals are giving us small, unsafe cars, he will face a challenger from his own party as well as the Republican Party.  That scenario, however, assumes an honest election.  With ACORN being given government money to be a major part of the 2010 Census, and the Black Panthers patrolling the polling places, an honest election becomes something of a challenge.

With this kind of legal decision, we are in danger of becoming a banana republic.  We are in danger of becoming all the things we have condemned in other countries since our founding.

New Confirmation Rules

Today’s Wall Street Journal has a very good op-ed piece about the rules the White House has put in place for the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayer.  The President’s first rule is that the discussion should be about her biography–growing up poor, child of a single mom, getting into Princeton and Yale, etc.  The article points out that her background is very similar to that of Justice Clarence Thomas, but somehow the left has treated his story differently.   The article reminds us:

“By the president’s measure, the nation couldn’t find a more empathetic referee than Justice Thomas. And yet here’s what Mr. Obama had to say last year when Pastor Rick Warren asked him about the Supreme Court: “I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas. I don’t think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation.””

Hmmm.  The double standard has reared its ugly head again.

Rule Number 2 is that the Republicans are not allowed to criticize Judge Sotomayer.  She is the first Latina women to be nominated for the Supreme Court and is thus above reproach.  The article mentions:

“The Beltway media also dutifully latched on to this White House talking point, reporting threats from leading Democrats, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who intoned that Republicans “oppose her at their peril.””

Where was this idea when Miguel Estrada was nominated to the Court?  Mr. Estrada withdrew, after the Democrats waged seven filibusters against a confirmation vote (holding up his nomination for two years).

I would hate to see the Republicans become as petty as the Democrats were in dealing with Supreme Court nominations, but there are some valid questions about this nominee.  Hopefully they can be asked in a civil manner.  I don’t believe the Republicans in the Senate can stop her appointment, but I do believe they have an obligation to make clear what her stand is on discrimination and other issues.  There is an article out on the internet today that she is a member of the group La Raza, which is somewhat radical in its beliefs.  I don’t know if that is true or not, but if it is, it is troubling–she needs to be asked about it.  Again, I believe she will be confirmed, but we need to make sure the voters of America understand who she is. 

U.S. To Respond To North Korea With ‘Strongest Possible Adjectives’

The above headline is a quote from Andy Borowitz quoted on the Huffington Post and on the American Thinker.  The article at the American Thinker is written by Ethel C. Fenig and titled, John Bolton, prophet.

It is a shame that politics kept John Bolton from being our ambassador to the UN.  He might have made a difference in that feckless organization.  At any rate, he has successfully sized up the situation with North Korea and Iran in regard to their nuclear porgrams.  The article at American Thinker quotes his comments:

What the North has lacked thus far is the political opportunity to test without fatally jeopardizing its access to the six-party talks and the legitimacy they provide. Despite the State Department’s seemingly unbreakable second-term hold over President Bush, another test after 2006 just might have ended the talks.

So far, the North faces no such threat from the Obama administration. Despite Pyongyang’s aggression, Mr. Bosworth has reiterated that the U.S. is “committed to dialogue” and is “obviously interested in returning to a negotiating table as soon as we can.” This is precisely what the North wants: America in a conciliatory mode, eager to bargain, just as Mr. Bush was after the 2006 test.

If the next nuclear explosion doesn’t derail the six-party talks, Kim will rightly conclude that he faces no real danger of ever having to dismantle his weapons program. North Korea is a mysterious place, but there is no mystery about its foreign-policy tactics: They work. The real mystery is why our administrations — Republican and Democratic — haven’t learned that their quasi-religious faith in the six-party talks is misplaced.

It is becoming very obvious that we live in a world where negotiations with rogue nations are not currently working (as if they ever did).  Meanwhile, we have cut our funding into missle defense, and President Obama is talking about America giving up its nuclear weapons.  Peace is a wonderful concept, but the lessons of history should have taught us that peace is only possible after bullies are dealt with decisively or when the ‘good guys’ (the freedom-loving countries of the world) have enough power and strength of purpose to keep the bullies from bullying.

Just a note on the folly of negotiating with tyrants–the deal that Chamberlain made with Hitler to devide Czechoslovakia was made without the input of the then president of Czechoslovakia, Eduard Beneš,.  Is President Obama going to negotiate a Middle East peace treaty that divides Jerusalem without the consent of the Israeli government?  Will the result be the same?

The Status Of Jerusalem

According to a blog called The Muqata, this is the Arab nations plan for peace in the Middle East supported by President Obama:

1. Removal of all Israeli communities in the West Bank
2. Creation of a demilitarized Palestinian State within the 1967 borders of the West Bank.
3. Right of Return for all Palestinian refugees to this new state.
4. Removal of Israel’s sovereignty over East Jerusalem, and its transferal to the Palestinians to be the capital of their state.
5. Removal of Israel’s sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem — and it will be run by the international community.

There are a few things to consider here.  Essentially, the Arabs want to go back to the borders of Israel that existed before they invaded Israel in 1967.  If those borders did not bring peace then, why are we to assume that they will bring peace now?  This plan is a death warrant for Israel.  This plan was drawn up without the participation of Israel.  If you are going to have a peace plan, shouldn’t all the parties involved negotiate it?  The international community has never run anything successfully, why in the world would we let them start with Jerusalem?  The right of return would destroy Israel as a Jewish state.  Jerusalem should never again be divided–when Israel controlled Jerusalem, all religions of the world had free access to their holy places there, when the Arabs controlled it, the Israelis were not allowed to go to the wailing wall.  Who is going to give the assurance of a demilitarized Palestinian State?  The UN?  They haven’t done such a great job of ending the weapons smuggling that’s going on now! 

There is something very underhanded going on here.  President Obama knows that Prime Minister Netanyahu will never agree to this ‘peace’ proposal.  President Obama wants ‘peace’ in the Middle East at any cost (even, I believe, if it means that Israel no longer exists).  Watch for the Obama Administration’s subtle attempt to bring down the Netanyahu government so that Israel elects a weaker leader that might go along with this horrible idea.

North Korea Is Testing Atomic Weapons, Does Anyone Care?

Yesterday’s The Hill ran an article by Roxana Tiron on the North Korean nuclear testing.  The lead paragraph stated:

“President Obama’s national security adviser on Wednesday said that North Korea’s recent nuclear detonation and missile tests are not “an imminent threat” to the safety and security of the United States.”

I’m sure that Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones is aware that the technology of the missles tested indicates that these missles could reach Alaska and California and possibly a few other states.  General Jones stated that he felt the threat was that the North Koreans would share their technology with other countries or terrorist organizations.  That is a serious problem, but meanwhile we have a belligerent government with an unstabe leader setting off nuclear weapons and rockets.  It seems to me that we need to rethink our missle defense spending cuts about now.

General Jones also noted that:

“Nothing that the North Koreans did surprised us,” Jones said. “We knew that they were going to do this, they said so, so no reason not to believe them.”

OK.  Then why, when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he will wipe Israel off the map, don’t we believe him?

I hate to be negative, but I believe nothing will be done about the North Korean tests.  China has no real incentive to prevent the spread or use of these weapons.  China has no reason to want to protect South Korea–during the Korean War, we were fighting Chinese forces.  The only real answer to this problem is to allow Japan to have nuclear weapons.  Not a great idea, but one that at least might cause the North Koreans to pause before doing anything drastic.

The Uighurs

This information that follows is from a website called The Long War Journal.  I am unfamiliar with the website, but the information there I have also seen in various other places.  My reason for citing this information is so that everyone can be aware of the type of people the current administration is considering resettling into America.

On April 20 of this year, Abdul Haq, the leader of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party (“ETIP”), was added to the list of designated terrorists compiled by the US Treasury Department.  The UN placed Haq on its list of persons associated with Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, or the Taliban on April 15.

According to the article:

“Currently, seventeen Uighur men who are suspected members or associates of the organization are detained at Guantánamo. Five other Uighurs who were detained at Gitmo were previously released to Albania in 2006. The men are all from China’s Xinjiang region and are alleged to have traveled to Afghanistan to join the ETIP/ETIM’s jihad.”

Although these are Chinese terrorists, they have been trained in terrorism to be used against all western countries.  Although the Uighurs have denied any connection to Al Qaeda or the Taliban, Uighur detainees also admitted to training at a terrorist camp in the Tora Bora Mountains. That camp was run by Abdul Haq and Hassan Mahsum, and was most likely supported by al Qaeda and the Taliban.

These are the men that President Obama is attempting to relocate in Virginia (providing them with housing and financial assistance).  If that happens, Americans will be financially supporting the very people who want to kill them.  It makes no sense at all!  Please read the entire article at The Long War Journal for further information on who the Uighurs are.

Very Mixed Emotions On The Supreme Court Nominee

Today’s Washington Times has an article which points out that Judge Sonia Sotomayer has been reversed three out of the five times her Circuit Court sent a case to the Supreme Court.  There is also a fairly strong possibility that the Supreme Court will overturn her decision on the Connecticut employment discrimination case.

I’m not overly upset by this.  The cases that get sent to the Supreme Court are generally the complex cases that need the wisdom of the Supreme Court, I don’t think being overturned there is a horrible thing. 

My concern is this:  every member of the United States Senate took an oath of office:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

Does the appointment of this woman to the Supreme Court uphold the Constitution?  She has publicly stated that she believes that as a Latina woman, her decisions will be better than the decisions of a white male.  That sort of racial preference is not constitutional.  That is part of my dilemma.

The other part of my dilemma is that I truly believe that any President of the United States should be allowed to appoint the people to office that he chooses.  Unless there is some sort of ethical issue or moral issue, I think that this nomination has to go through.  I believe that this woman will be bad for the country–I do not see her as an unbiased judge–but she is the President’s choice. 

The New Endangered Species

If Judge Sonia Sotomayer is confirmed to the US Supreme Court, we will have a new endangered species–the white male.  There are two things about this lady that are very troubling.

1.  According to an article in the New York Times earlier this year, in 2001, Ms. Sotomayer stated in a speech:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,”

2.  According to an articel in the New York Post today:

In one of her most notable decisions, as an appellate judge she sided last year with the city of New Haven, Conn., in a discrimination case brought by white firefighters. The city threw out results of a promotion exam because too few minorities scored high enough. Coincidentally, that case is now before the Supreme Court.

In the former quote, she dismissed the value of any life experience of a white male in making judgments.  In the latter situation, white men who had qualified for a promotion were denied that promotion because they were white.

If a white man’s experience has no value and he can be denied a promotion because of his race, are all men still ‘created equal’?  Both the quote and the ruling seem to go completely against The Declaration of Independence, which is one of the founding documents of our country.  Admittedly, it took us a long time to deal with slavery, but the idea was that all men were equal under the law.  This lady seems to think that some men are more equal than others.

I suspect Judge Sotomayer will be confirmed–the Republicans do not have enough members to block her nomination–nor would they risk the Hispanic vote.  Because we do not have enough principled men in the Senate, she will become a Supreme Court Justice.  The founding fathers would be shedding many tears over what is happening to our country with this choice. 

Why I Love New Yorkers–You Just Can’t Please Them!!

On Sunday I posted an article from the New York Post about the closing of Broadway from 42nd to 47th Street to automobile traffic.  The post was rightfully concerned about this change in the New York City traffic pattern (New York City is not known as a ‘fun’ place to drive under any circumstances).  Pedestrians thought it was a great idea, cab drivers were furious.

Today was the first day the new traffic pattern was tested by commuter traffic.  According to today’s New York Post, things went very well.  But–particularly in New York, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.  Shop owners were complaining that business was down because the tour buses were not stopping in front of their stores.  A Coca-Cola delivery man was complaining that he was not able to park closer to the places where he was delivering the soda.  He had to walk further and leave his truck idling longer.  The people you would expect to be happy about a pedestrian mall were complaining–the motorists were doing fine!! I love it!!

President Obama Has Chosen Sonia Sotomayor As His Supreme Court Nominee

President Obama has chosen Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court Nominee.  The New York Times ran an article on her in May of this year discussing some of her views as a judge.  She is quoted in the article as saying (in reference to deciding cases):

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,”

I am offended by this statement.  A person reaches legal conclusions based on the law and their education in the law–not on their ethnic background.  To assess the value of a person’s opinion on the basis of their racial or ethnic background is racism.  Ms. Sotomayor may regard it as constructive, but it is rasicm.  A white male has also lived a life.  It may be a different life than hers, but it has equal value, and each life has lessons learned by experience.  Legal cases need to be decided on the basis of the law–not on the basis of anyone’s ‘experience’–that is what the courts are suposed to do.

The confirmation hearings on this nominee need to be watched by every American.  We have a choice to be either a nation of laws or a nation of ‘experience’ and emotions.


According to today’s New York Post, in its article about Sonia Sotomayor:

“In one of Sotomayor’s most notable decisions, as an appellate judge she sided last year with the city of New Haven, Conn., in a discrimination case brought by white firefighters. The city threw out results of a promotion exam because too few minorities scored high enough. Ironically, that case is now before the Supreme Court.

That ruling has already drawn criticism from conservatives, and is likely to play a role in her confirmation hearing.”

This case was covered here on on April 27th which linked to a George Will column in the Washington Post on April 26 of this year.

Stay tuned!! 


State Tax Rates And The Law Of Unintended Consequences

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on what has happened in Maryland since they ‘raised the taxes on the rich’.  According to the article:

“The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would “grin and bear it.”

“One year later, nobody’s grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller’s office concedes is a “substantial decline.” On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year — even at higher rates.”

We need to look at the states as testing grounds for the consequences of government policies.  When you raise taxes, revenue goes down.  This has been proven statistically (see The Laffer Curve:  Past, Present, and Future at  The article at Heritage was written in June of 2004 and still holds true.

New York State is experiencing a loss of high-income people because of changes in their tax policies, and Maryland is doing the same.  Our state governments need to learn how to cut spending and lower taxes–not increase spending and raise taxes.

Lest We Forget

Today’s Independent World, which I am assuming is a UK paper, has an an interesting article on Father Patrick Desbois, a 53-year-old French priest, who is documenting for the world the slaughter enacted by the Nazi mobile death squads, the feared Einsatzgruppen, which roamed and murdered Jews and Gypsies with impunity in the remote villages of the former Soviet Union between 1941 and 1944.

For the last 10 years the priest and his helpers have painstakingly gathered the testimony of the survivors of this period. 

The article points out that:

“Today these witnesses have grown old and infirm and many are already dead. Living in countries where the average life expectancy for a man is little more than 60 years, those who experienced first-hand the Nazi genocide in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and Ossetia are steadily dying out. When they are gone, Father Desbois fears, so too will the memory of what they saw – and with it a truth which exists only in the conscience of Europe’s poorest people.”

This is a story that needs to be told.  These were not the cold, impersonal gas chambers and ovens of Poland, these were mass slaughters of people followed by mass burials (in some cases of people still alive). 

The article is hard to read.  It’s hard to believe that men can treat other men so badly, but it is worth reading because it is a part of history that has not been widely told. 

According to the article Father Desbois has stated that:

“The reason for taking up this work is simple: to restore the dignity of the uncounted and largely unmourned dead who were slaughtered and piled into pits like animals, and to allow the Kaddish – the Jewish prayer of mourning – to be recited over their final resting places. But there is another reason too; to prevent a repeat of the Holocaust.”

Thank you, Father Desbois, for revealing a part of history that needs to be revealed.


Wing Commander Tim Fairhurst

There is an obituary in today’s that is fascinating.  It is the story of Wing Commander Tim Fairhurst, who died on April 25th of this year. In the summer of 1942, Wing Commander Fairhurst flew one of three Spitfires fitted with cameras, but with their guns removed to allow extra fuel tanks to be installed, on a  a top-secret mission in the Arctic to track down the German North Sea Fleet, which was known to be operating in the waters north of Norway.  Their first destination was Vaenga, 170 miles inside the Arctic Circle.

According to the obituary:

“The RAF ground party met the Spitfires at Vaenga, where the RAF roundels on the aircraft were replaced with red stars. On September 10, Fairhurst took off on the first operational sortie and headed for the fjords of northern Norway with the prime object of locating the battleship Tirpitz. He photographed the capital ships Scheer and Hipper and the cruiser Koln, but the Tirpitz had been moved further south. Over the next few weeks, Fairhurst and his two pilots continued to keep track of the ships as the convoy PQ 18 headed for Murmansk. One of the Spitfires was shot down with the loss of its pilot.”

These are the stories of the greatest generation–the men who fought in World War II to preserve our freedom.  Today we salute them all. 

Learning To Listen Through The Spin

Power Line has a post today on the appearance of Senator Richard Durbin on Meet The Press yesterday explaining the differences between President Obama’s approach to military commissions and President Bush’s approach.  The article is based on a National Review Online article by Andy McCarthy explaining that there really are no differences between the two policies.

The Power Line article points out:

“Moreover, McCarthy reminds us that a major reason why there have not more convictions by military commissions is the delay caused by the legion of volunteer American defense attorneys who ground the system to a halt by various court challenges.” Another reason is the fact that Obama himself stopped the pending commissions against 21 terrorists (trial was imminent in several cases) so he could first “study” them and, now, propose these illusory “changes.

Sen. Durbin is not known for being constrained by facts. However, the liberties he has been forced to take on this issue demonstrate the utter lack of merit in his underlying position that Obama’s commissions are legitimate where Bush’s weren’t.”

One of the most frustrating things about being an American right now is that you can’t depend on anything you see on a network news show to be the truth.  Now, more than ever, voters have to take the responsibility to inform themselves as to what is actually going on in our country and our government.  Most media outlets are making that more of a challenge that it should be.  The key to a healthy democracy (yes, I realize that we are a representative republic) is a well-informed citizen and voter.  If our media outlets continue to misinform us, we cannot successfully do our duty as citizens. 

Memorial Day 2009

This year we are saying goodbye to more of the veterans of World War II.  They are in their 90’s or approaching 90, and we lose more of them every day.  The Korean War veterans  are in their 70’s now, and the Viet Nam veterans are in their 60’s now.  Our new generation of war veterans ranges in age from eighteen to fifty.  We are grateful to all of you who are still with us, and we are grateful to all of your comrades who did not come home.  Thank you to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice (and to their families) and to all those (and their families) who continue to sacrifice so that we can be safe and free at home.  God bless you all.

This Should Make New York City Traffic Truly Interesting

According to today’s New York Post, yesterday was the first day of the new program of banning automobile traffic on Broadway between 42nd Street and 47th Street.  The idea behind this move is that the angle of Broadway creates odd-angled intersections in the city which congest traffic, so closing down Broadway entirely to automobiles will help the traffic throughout the city flow more smoothly.  This I’ve gotta see!

Yesterday traffic was moving well through the area, but it was a Sunday afternoon on a holiday weekend.  There are definitely doubts about how the area will look during commuter hours.  This will be interesting to watch.  I have a daughter who works in New York City, so I am counting on her to check in with me tomorrow and tell me how this program has actually impacted the traffic situation.


Short-sightedness On Energy Policy

Friday’s Investor’s Business Daily ran an editorial concerning the energy policies of the current administration.  Daniel Yergin, chairman of HIS-CERA, testified before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress last week.  He pointed out that in the past year in regard to energy prices we have experienced a ‘demand shock’ caused by rising global demand.  We have also experienced a ‘recession shock’ caused by falling demand due to the global recession.  He is predicting a “long aftershock” in our future with high demand returning with a vengeance along with a global economic recovery, leaving those who buried their heads in the oil sands in the economic lurch.

Energy is a national security issue as well as an environmental issue.  I am not in favor of pollution, but I am also on the record as a skeptic in terms of man being responsible for any climate change.  To close our eyes and refuse to develope our own fossil fuel resources is economic and national suicide. 

According to the editorial:

“The U.S. and Canada together hold 15% of the world’s proven reserves, and that’s not even including the potential of American oil shale and Canadian oil sands — which are massive.”

There are places in southern California where oil is so plentiful underground that they have a problem with it seeping above ground and polluting.  Think what California could do by capturing that oil and refining it for use within the state!  It would create jobs and tax revenue. 

I am not opposed to ‘green’ energy, but right now we are a carbon-based economy, and to close our eyes to that fact is very unwise.   


Land For Peace In Israel

AlertNet which is part of Reuters has a story today about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refusing a US request to halt settlements in the occupied West Bank.  There are a few things here that need to be looked at.

1.  If giving up the West Bank would bring peace, where was that peace in 1967 when the Arabs had that land and attacked Israel anyway?

2.  Why are we calling it the ‘occupied’ West Bank?  Is Texas our ‘occupied’ southern border?

According to the article:

“Half a million Jews live in settlement blocs and smaller outposts built in the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, all territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War.”

Does anyone remember that Israel was originally given that land?  The Arab countries invaded Israel in 1948 (as soon as Israel became a nation) and took that land away from them.  The borders of Israel today much more resemble the United Nations mandate than the borders of Israel before the 1967 war, why are we asking them to give land back that was taken away from them as soon as they became a country?

The above map is from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This is the land originally set aside for the nation of Israel at the San Remo Conference in 1920.  A large part of that land was later given to Jordan.  Has any other country in the world ever been treated so badly as to have had their promise of a homeland cut by more than half and then have the world ask that they give more of it up?



This is a map of Israel after the six-day war in 1967.  This map is also from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The Sinai was given back to Egypt after the Israel-Egypt peace treaty in1979 following the Camp David Accords of 18 September 1978.  There have not been terrorist attacks from Egypt in Israel since that time–in fact Egypt has done what it could to stop weapons smuggling into Gaza through tunnels in Egypt.  That is the difference between what peace between Israel and Egypt is and what would not be peace between Israel and a country called Palestine.

Another thing we might remember is that when Israel is in charge of Jerusalem, all the religions of the world have access to their religious sites; when the Arabs were in charge of Jerusalem, Israelis did not have access to the wailing wall–one of their sacred sites–or other historic and religious sites.  It seems as if both sides are not playing by the same rules.

Land for peace has not worked so far, why do we think it will work in the future?

Americans Are Paying Attention

According to yesterday’s Rasmussen Reports, 77 % of American voters see unwillingness to cut government spending as a bigger problem than resistence to tax hikes!  Just 28% of all voters say that increasing government spending will help the economy.  Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Republicans and 61% of unaffiliated voters believe increased government spending hurts the economy.  49% of Democrats think more government spending is good for the economy, while just 27% say it hurts.  83% of the ‘Political Class’ believes increased  government spending helps the economy.  52% of voters now believe they pay more than their fair share of taxes. However, 54% of the Political Class disagree.

If these statistics are accurate, the 2010 elections should be very interesting!

Memorial Day Weekend

It’s Memorial Day weekend–not just the official beginning of summer or a day for shopping or cookouts–Memorial Day–the day we remember the price that was paid for our freedom and honor those who paid that price.

Maybe because I was part of a high school graduating class that had to choose between college or Viet Nam, Rolling Thunder (even though I have never been on a Harley) is a very special organization to me.  Over the years, these sometimes rather scary Harley riders have gathered in Washington to bring attention to verteran’s issues, active duty military concerns, and POW issues.  There are thousands of them and they have touched people from all walks of life. 

According to an article in today’s Washington Times:

“In past years, former President George W. Bush welcomed Rolling Thunder members Harley Davidson choppers and all in the driveway of the White House. The event became somewhat of a ritual; last year Mr. Bush was inducted into Rolling Thunder as an honorary member and accepted a cowhide biker vest. Bush administration officials and top military brass made a regular practice of riding with Rolling Thunder, tricked out in biker gear.”

This year things were a little different.  President Obama met briefly with representatives from Rolling Thunder on Friday afternoon.  The meeting was described as brief but cordial.

President Obama plans to spend the weekend with his family at Camp David.

I don’t begrudge the President time off spent with his family, but he lost an opportunity to remind all of us of the reason for the long weekend.  I worry that this administration does not seem to appreciate the heritage of America and how we got here.  Filling the White House driveway with Harley-Davidsons would have been a great start!