What Goes Around Comes Around

What goes around comes around. Sometimes that is good, sometimes it is not. What happened in Britain’s Parliament yesterday was one of those times when it is not.

Yesterday Fox News posted a story about the vote taken in Britain yesterday regarding getting involved in Syria. The article points out that with the exception of Vietnam, Britain has historically gone to war as an ally of the United States whether or not Britain had any national interest in the dispute. For Britain to refuse to get involved in Syria as it was becoming apparent that America probably would was a new direction in Britain’s foreign policy.

So what is this about? Up until 2009, when President Obama was sworn into office, American and Britain had a ‘special relationship.’ Britain joined us in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though they had no national security interest in either place.

The article at Fox News states:

For instance, although Britain recognized that Al-Qaeda posed a serious threat to the UK, we intervened in Afghanistan because, as Tony Blair succinctly stated at the time, an attack on America was seen as an attack on Britain, such was the strength of the Special Relationship.

With Iraq throughout the nineties and in 2003, America decided Hussein needed dealing with, Britain stepped up. When Clinton expressed broader foreign policy objectives and decided Milosevic needed taking care of in Serbia, Britain was there. There were other reasons too, but Britain’s attitude was “where our ally goes, we go.”

Let’s look at what has happened since 2009. One of President Obama’s first moves in office was to return the bust of Winston Churchill to the British. That bust had been presented to President Bush after 911 as a reminder that Britain stood with us. It was insulting to return it. President Obama declared that America has no stronger ally than France. France? Not a single senior member of the Obama administration attended the funeral of Margaret Thatcher. When Argentina started making noises about wanting to take over the Falkland Islands, the Obama administration, speaking through then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sided against their best ally, and with Kirchner’s Argentina, demanding Britain sit down with Argentina and negotiate sovereignty of the British territory under the pretense of neutrality.

The Obama Administration has treated Britain shamefully. It is no wonder that he did not get the support for intervention in Syria from the British Parliament when he needed it. The President who came into office saying that he was going to ‘undo the damage George Bush had done to America’s image around the world’ has now succeeded in making even America’s friends dislike her.

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The Syria Debate Continues

Chances are that America will do something in Syria. Hugh Hewitt has stated that he feels an attack will come on Tuesday. He supports American action. Another voice that does not support American action is Frank Gaffney who heads the Center for Security Policy.

This is a video of a conversation between Frank Gaffney and Glenn Beck taken from the Center for Security Policy Website:

Frank Gaffney points out that although our reasons for attacking Syria may be morally compelling, the aftermath of the attack will not be good for America. Mr. Gaffney states that the outcome will bring either the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, or Iran to power in Syria. Glenn Beck points out that if we were doing this for humanitarian reasons, we would be helping the Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Please watch the video above. Frank Gaffney gives one of the best arguments I have heard for the concept of “peace through strength.” He points out that if your enemies know that you have the will and the way to take action, they are less likely to create a problem.

I don’t know what the right answer in Syria is. I have a son-in-law in the military, so I have a personal concern. The only answer I have is to pray that our leaders have wisdom in dealing with this situation.


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The Need For Fiscal Accountability At Some Of Our Colleges

The cost of a college education has skyrocketed in recent years. Parents and students are going into serious debt to finance a higher education. So where is the money going? Some of it is going to repairing buildings on campus, building better physical education facilities, better science laboratories, and other things that provide a better environment for the students. However, not all colleges are spending their increased tuition money responsibly.

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted an article about a recent controversy at Westfield State College. Since one of my daughters and one of my sons-in-law graduated from Westfield State in the 1990’s, I am somewhat familiar with the school. It is a small state college with a beautiful campus. Their website shows tuition, housing costs, and fees for resident students ranging from about $15,000 per year for state residents to about $23,000 per year for out-of-state residents. I believe that when my daughter went there in the 1990’s, the cost was about $6,000 a year.

So what is the controversy at Westfield State?

The article at the Daily Caller reports:

John P. Walsh, owner of a cosmetics company, has decided to withdraw his $100,000 donation to Westfield, a public university in Westfield, Massachusetts.

The reason? Walsh is fed up with the spending habits of Westfield President Evan Dobelle, who charged thousands of dollars in luxury hotel and shopping bills to the university’s credit card.

…Dobelle charged the university $8,000 for a four-night stay in a luxury hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. He has also traveled out-of-state on Westfield’s dime some 76 times during his 5 years as president, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Dobelle has defended the expenses, calling them a necessary component of his plan to increase Westfield’s national and international renown.

After being presented with evidence of Mr. Dobelle’s financial violations, the board of trustees at Westfield State gave him their full confidence.

Obviously, more information is needed to determine exactly what is going on here, but I will admit that $6,000 for four nights in Thailand seems a bit much. I question why the Board of Trustees approved the spending habits of Mr. Dobelle.

Because of the dramatic expansion of student aid by the federal government in recent years, colleges have been able to raise their tuition without having to worry about students’ ability to pay. While I think student aid is a really good thing, it has created an unreal situation where tuition is not subject to free market forces. We definitely need some balance here. At the moment we are encouraging young people and their families to go into serious debt to receive training for jobs that are not available. That does not make sense.

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Who Loses Under ObamaCare?

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article yesterday about five groups of people who are at risk of losing their healthcare coverage under ObamaCare.

The article quotes one of the President’s promises regarding ObamaCare–a promise which is rapidly becoming obviously untrue:

“We will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away.”

The article lists the five groups of people who may lose their healthcare coverage–spouses, part-time workers, retirees form the private sector, retirees from the public sector, and people who buy their health insurance individually.

United Parcel Service (UPS) has already announced that it will no longer provide health insurance for spouses of employees. The University of Virginia has announced that it will no longer provide insurance for employee spouses who can get insurance from their own jobs.

In 2014 grocery chain Wegmans will be dropping healthcare coverage for part-time workers. Other businesses are increasing the number of part-time employees in order to avoid the healthcare mandate that requires them to provide insurance for full-time employees.

ObamaCare is a really bad law. It needs to be stopped in its tracks. I don’t know exactly what that will look like, but it needs to be done.


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Some Sad News For Providence Radio Listeners

My morning radio listening varies between Helen Glover in Providence and Bill Bennett on the Salem Radio Network (on the Internet since he is not on the radio locally). Since Tuesday there has been someone on other than Helen, so I assumed that she was on vacation. I unexpectedly met her tonight, and she explained that WHJJ let her go.

On Tuesday the Providence Journal reported:

Helen Glover, morning talk-show host on WHJJ-AM has been let go by the station following her show Tuesday. Glover said her replacement will be local talk radio veteran Ron St. Pierre, who was laid off by rival WPRO-AM in February.

On Wednesday, Helen’s former producer, Dee DeQuattro, wrote a letter to the Providence Journal about her experience on the show.

The letter states:

When WHJJ pulled the plug on “The Helen Glover Show,” an already muffled conservative cry in Rhode Island was muted. Glover was known to blow the Republican rally horn and call the few, proud conservative Rhode Islanders together.

Now her voice may become an echo in Rhode Island radio history. However, Glover’s impact will survive. From helping to spearhead the original efforts of the Rhode Island Tea Party to leading the charge at national rallies, Glover put actions to her words.

The show was not over when the on-air light went off. She truly lived it. Glover would stand up for the underdog, and if she was true to a cause she turned out to support it. Glover often spoke at events — not to make a buck, like her radio counterparts, but out of loyalty to her listeners, who were so loyal to her.

I first encountered Helen at a Glenn Beck book signing in Providence a few years ago. I have since seen her at Tea Party events and events featuring speakers dealing with national security. Her show was informative and entertaining. She had wonderful guests, but she herself was also able to speak knowledgeably on a variety of subjects.

Hopefully another radio station will realize what a treasure she is, and she will be back on the air quickly. Helen, you are already missed.

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The Latest Executive Order From President Obama Is Not What It Appears To Be

Executive Orders are getting old. According to Snopes, a sometimes reliable source, President Obama had issued 138 Executive Orders as of September 2012. In his two terms as President, George W. Bush issued 291.

Today the Daily Caller posted an article about an upcoming Executive Order to be issued by President Obama. The Order will “ban almost all re-imports of military surplus firearms to private entities.” Other than the fact that it is gun control law the President can’t get through Congress, it sounds rather harmless. Unfortunately it isn’t. This Executive Order will effectively shut down the 110-year-old Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).

The article explains:

The CMP tightly controls the importation of obsolete military weapons. The program was created by the U.S. Congress as part of the 1903 War Department Appropriations Act with the purpose of allowing civilians to hone their marksmanship skills, should they later be called into military service.

…There are no data indicating any of the weapons involved in homicide were imported surplus military rifles. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s homicide crime statistics, rifles accounted for only 323 deaths out of 12,664 homicides in 2011, the most recent data set provided by the FBI.

“Apart from a donation of surplus .22 and .30 caliber rifles in the Army’s inventory to the CMP, the CMP receives no federal funding,” the CMP website states, adding that they have been overwhelmed by requests and orders are taking 30-60 days to ship product.

This is an end run around Congress to take guns away from innocent, hard-working civilians.

The article concludes:

The rifles that the Executive Order would affect are typically from U.S. allies and are pre-Vietnam era. Without the importation of these rifles, the CMP is likely to become defunct and thus destroying a 110 year tradition of saving military arms and their civilian ownership.

I don’t know how much power Congress has in relation to Executive Orders, but Congress needs to develop a backbone and fight this one. This Order has nothing to do with crime or keeping Americans safe–it is simply a move by a petty tyrant to take firearms and firearm training away from Americans.

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American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character

Tonight I had the privilege of hearing Diana West discuss her book American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character.

As Ms. West explained in an August 9, 2013, article for Townhall.com:

One point I try to convey when speaking to audiences about my new book, “American Betrayal,” is the inspiration of the truth-tellers.

These are the men and women who refused to stay silent and thus enable the “betrayal” the book lays out — engineered by a de facto Communist “occupation” of Washington by American traitors loyal to Stalin and, even more heartbreaking, largely covered up by successive U.S. administrations and elites.

The reason I take pains to bring these truth-tellers to light is that they remain lost to our collective memory, even as much confirmation of their truth-telling has become public record.

Ms. West explained that she began the investigation that led to the writing of the book by exploring the idea of how we got to a point where we are fed a constructed narrative and then fed the facts that support that narrative. Any facts that do not support the constructed narrative are conveniently left out. Anyone who speaks out against the constructed narrative is marginalized through the use of smear tactics, scorn, and isolation.

When truth-tellers warned us of communist infiltration into our government in the 1930’s and 1940’s, they were labeled red-baiters. When truth-tellers warn of Islamists in positions of influence today, they are called Islamaphobes. Commentators very rarely mention that after the Soviet Union fell, the archives revealed that the so-called red-baiters were right.

Ms. West related a number of stories from the book where people who were later shown to be Soviet agents held very influential positions in government and were responsible for major policy decisions.

The article at Townhall reminds us:

We still snicker reflexively over references to “the Red plot against America.”

With archival confirmation, however, we now know there was abundant Red influence on policymaking, as well as abundant Red plots, and many of them were brilliantly carried out to completion.

Meanwhile, we still fail to recognize that the institutions which define our world today, from the United Nations to the International Monetary Fund, were fostered by bona fide Soviet agents (such as the State Department‘s Alger Hiss and the Treasury Department‘s Harry Dexter White). We also remain oblivious to the contributions of those who spoke the truth along the way.

In his book Reason in Common Sense, George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” The book, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character, reminds us of a past we cannot afford to forget.

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What Do We Do In Syria?

Everyone who has seen the pictures of the innocent people killed by poison gas in Syria is wondering what America should do. There are questions as to who actually released the poison gas, and there are questions as to the motive of whoever used the gas. It is very disconcerting that anyone would use that kind of weapon.

The Heritage Foundation has recently posted two articles that clarify what is happening in Syria and the role America needs to play. One article, entitled “Top 5 Reasons Not To Use Missile Strikes in Syria” was posted on August 25. The other article, entitled “What to Do in Syria” was posted today.

The August 25th article lists five reasons not to attack Syria:

1. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine is not adequate justification for direct military intervention. This dangerous doctrine, promoted at the United Nations, undermines U.S. sovereignty by arguing for an obligation of nations to intervene.

2. A vital U.S. interest is not at stake. The U.S. does have an interest in the resolution of the conflict, but military force should be reserved for areas where the U.S. has a compelling need to act in defense of its own interests.

3. It would not be a wise use of military force. Military force should be used only if there is a clear, achievable, realistic purpose. Missile strikes are unlikely to deter the Assad regime and prevent further abuses. Rather, the U.S. risks escalating its involvement in the crisis.

4. Missile attacks would only make President Obama look weaker. Much like President Clinton’s ineffective cruise missile strikes on Osama bin Laden’s terrorist camps, strikes would only be seen as a sign that the U.S. is lacking a clear, decisive course of action.

5. It would distract from what the U.S. should be doing. Rather than attempting to intervene directly in the conflict, the U.S. should be working in a concerted manner with other countries in the region to hasten the end of the Assad regime and deal with the refugee crisis, the resurgence of al-Qaeda, and the destabilizing efforts of Iran and Hezbollah.

Today’s article at the Heritage Foundation suggests what we should do.

The article suggests:

Rather than attempting to intervene directly in the conflict, the U.S. should be working with other countries in the region to hasten the end of the Assad regime and deal with the refugee crisis and terrorist strongholds.

Like any solution to a difficult problem, even that is not a perfect solution. Some of the other countries in the region are working with America to bring down the Assad regime, but other countries in the region are propping up that regime.

However, bringing America into Syria’s civil war at this time will not accomplish anything.



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Laws Without Common Sense

CBN News reported today that Love Wins Ministries, a ministry that serves breakfast to homeless people in a downtown part in Raleigh, North Carolina, has been banned from handing out food.

Rev. Hugh Hollowell, the group’s leader had to explain to 70 people standing in line on Saturday that he could not feed them without being arrested.

The article reports:

The police were enforcing a city ordinance that bans the distribution of food in any of the city’s parks.

Love Wins had permission to set up on the sidewalk as long as they didn’t block it and cleaned up after themselves. Now they will need to get a permit that costs $800 a day.

The city ordinance will be discussed Wednesday in town hall.

I understand that the city might not want to encourage homelessness, but the fact is that homelessness is already here. I would think that the city would appreciate the fact that Love Wins is engaged in feeding the homeless–helping the city in that effort. Hopefully on Wednesday common sense will prevail.

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Limiting The Freedom Of People Who May Disagree With You

James O’Keefe has irked the political left on numerous occasions. He has exposed voter fraud in various locations, at one point receiving Eric Holder‘s ballot in Washington, D.C. He has also exposed some real dishonesty inside the workings of ACORN. The political left would very much like for him to go away, but they seem to be making fools of themselves in their efforts. Tulane University is the location of the latest battle in the war for freedom of speech.

On Monday, The Examiner reported that James O’Keefe was unlawfully detained on the campus of Tulane University by former Louisiana Attorney General Jim Letten. James O’Keefe committed the crime of offering Jim Letten’s wife a copy of his book.

The article reminds us of the past history between Jim Letten and James O’Keefe:

Letten had been the longest serving AG in the US until he was forced to resign, when it was found that his office had posted material on NOLA.com that contained libelous charges against Fred Heebe and other targets of Letten’s office. His second in command and another top deputy confessed to the postings. Letten was never accused of posting himself but there was a question about his investigation into the posts. Letten was asked for his resignation.

Letten’s office leaked emails and other alleged evidence to the press from OKkeefe involving the incident in the office of US Senator Mary Landrieu. Letten says he recused himself from the case, but his office did prosecute the case. He handed the case to US Attorney Jan Mann. Mann was one of the prosecutors posting on NOLA.com.

Patrick Frey at Patterico.com also reported the story. James O’keefe was fined for secretly recording an ACORN employee telling him how to handle his tax returns while smuggling under-age girls into the country to become prostitutes.

Patrick Frey reports:

O’Keefe has maintained that someone from the U.S. Attorney’s office leaked his privileged attorney-client emails, a subject he discusses at length in his book. Letten insists that he had nothing to do with it, if it indeed happened at all. “He’s just very deceitful and deceptive,” Letten said, who again said he had recused himself.

Letten wouldn’t say why he recused himself, but it is most likely because one of the defendants, including Robert Flagan, who is the son of the then acting U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of Louisiana. Letten and Flagan are social acquaintances.

Letten insisted that he recused himself from the case, but after prodding acknowledged that it was “my office who continued to make the decision.” “When someone recuses themselves it isn’t done lightly,” Letten insisted.

The decision to prosecute O’Keefe and to accept Letten’s recusal was made at “the very highest levels of the Justice Department.” “[O’Keefe] was appropriately convicted.”

Letten declined to answer if his office worked with Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute O’Keefe.

There’s reason to think that he may have. Last month, J. Christian Adams, a voting rights expert, revealed documents that showed coordination by Holder’s Justice Department with Attorney General Richard Head of New Hampshire after O’Keefe’s successful voter fraud investigations. [Editor’s note: Richard Head has worked directly with Brett Kimberlin associate and professional harasser Neal Rauhauser.]

This is another incident of the unequal justice administered by the Holder Justice Department. It really is time for Eric Holder to leave office.

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Some Perspective On The Rodeo Clown

After being banned from the Missouri State Fair for life for being a rodeo clown with a President Obama mask, Tuffy Gessling is speaking out.

On Monday Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted a story that provides some background on the incident. Tuffy Gessling has been dressing up as sitting presidents as part of his clown act since the days of Ronald Reagan. This is the first time it has been a problem.

The article at Hot Air concludes:

…Gessling figures that people have lost their ability to laugh, at themselves and their favored institutions, and a large amount of their perspective, too…Well … at least during Democratic administrations, anyway.  The hysteria over a silly rodeo skit boggles the mind, and it’s not benign, either.  Despite the fact that presidential face masks have a long history in the US for satire and entertainment, and perhaps especially so during the administration of Obama’s predecessor, this new-found abhorrence of offending the dignity of a sitting President does not bode well for political speech of any kind in the future.  Will wearing a presidential mask for satirical purposes during a possible Hillary Clinton administration be automatically assumed to be an act of unconscionable sexism, too, rather than just humor or criticism?

The lesson here is this: Toughen up, buttercups. And I’m not talking about Tuffy Gessling, either.

The history involved in the clown with a presidential mask incident makes me wonder what has happened to our sense of humor. This act has been perfectly acceptable for more than forty years. Why was the clown banned for doing something that he had been doing since the days of Ronald Reagan? There truly is a double standard here. There are much more important things to worry about in this world than a clown with a President Obama mask.

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One Reason I Love To Listen To Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt has a Salem Network talk show. He is a college law professor, a practicing lawyer, and a talk show host. Because I live in Massachusetts, I have to listen to him on the Internet at Townhall.com. I love his show.

Last night one of his guests was Karen Finney. She claims that Ted Cruz is the same as Joe McCarthy–both are very unhealthy for the country. When Hugh Hewitt asked her if Alger Hiss was a Communist, she refused to answer the questions and eventually hung up on Mr. Hewitt. That is an important question. After the fall of the Soviet Union, America was allowed to go through many Soviet records of subversive activity in the United States. Those records confirmed that Alger Hiss was a Communist, so even if you disagreed with Joe McCarthy’s style, his information was correct.

The audio clip of the exchange can be heard at Mediaite.

As I said, Hugh Hewitt is a lawyer. He asks logical questions, and explains often, “This is not a debate–it’s an interview.” If Ms. Finney is going to be a guest on the Hugh Hewitt Show, she might consider being willing to discuss actually facts rather than simply toss out allegations.

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More Delays For The Keystone Pipeline

President Obama had a reputation for voting ‘present’ while in the Illinois legislature. He is continuing that tradition in the way his administration is handling the Keystone Pipeline. The real problem with the Keystone Pipeline is that it splits two major groups within the Democrat party. The unions want the pipeline because they understand that it will bring jobs and improve America’s energy independence (which will boost the economy and create more jobs). The environmentalists oppose it because it involves fossil fuel which they are opposed to. As long as the Obama Administration can avoid making a decision on the pipeline, it can collect campaign money from both the unions and the environmentalists. As soon as a decision is made, the donations from one side will decrease significantly. (I’m sorry if that sounds cynical, but that is essentially how Washington works.)

So what is the latest delaying action?

Yesterday’s Daily Caller reports:

For more than 1,800 days, the Obama administration has been analyzing whether the Keystone pipeline is in the national interest. The Department of State’s review of the pipeline found that it would create more than 42,000 jobs and not significantly impact global warming or the environment.

But that seems to be an outlier view within the Obama administration. Soon after the State Department released its review, the Environmental Protection Agency attacked it and said it needed to take a deeper look into the pipeline’s environmental and climate impacts.

This has to be the most studied pipeline in human history.

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Bias? What Bias?

On July 29, the Washington Times posted a story about a controversy involving a history textbook being used in an advanced placement course in Florida. The textbook devotes a 36-page chapter to Islam, but has no chapters on either Christianity or Judaism.

The article illustrates some of the bias:

Here’s an example: Muhammad and his armies’ take-over of Medina states depicted “people happily accept[ing of] Islam as their way of life. It leaves out that tens of thousands of Jews and non-believers were massacred by [Muhammad’s] armies. It’s a blatant deception.”

At the same time, the book depicts Jesus as claiming to be the Messiah — but writes as fact that Muhammad was the prophet, Mr. Workman said in the Townhall article. Students in the class are also taught about the Koran and pillars of Islam.

The article quotes a school board member:

“Some of the descriptions of the battles use the word ‘massacre’ when it’s a Christian battle and ‘takeover’ when it’s a Muslim battle,” said Amy Kneessy to Fox News. “In young minds, massacre paints a very different visual picture than a takeover or occupation — when in fact both battles were very bloody.”

At some point Americans will realize that Islam supports Sharia Law. Sharia Law and democracy are mutually exclusive. There is an effort by some in the Muslim community to undermine the American way of life and impose Sharia Law on America. Hopefully, the school boards in this town and other towns will continue to be vigilant in examining the textbooks the children are using.
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The Key To Racial Equality Is Equal Education For All Children

One of the major keys to racial equality is to make sure that children of all races have access to a good education. Because of the makeup of most of our major cities, the only way to achieve that is through vouchers and school choice. Most Republicans have been encouraging these programs for years. Unfortunately, because of their relationship to the Teachers’ Unions, the Democrats have worked very hard to oppose both vouchers and school choice.

Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line detailing the latest battle on the school choice front. The source for the Power Line article is a Fox News story from yesterday.

One of the unexpected consequences of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans was the birth of a new school system. Many failing schools were replaced by Charter Schools and other schools that were not failing. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has worked very hard to provide children in New Orleans a good alternative to the failing city public schools. However, the Justice Department is blocking his efforts.

Fox News reports:

The Justice Department is trying to stop a school vouchers program in Louisiana that attempts to help families send their children to independent schools instead of under-performing public schools.

The agency wants to stop the program, led by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, in any school district that remains under a desegregation court order.

In papers filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, the agency said Louisiana distributed vouchers in 2012-13 to roughly 570 public school students in districts that are still under such orders and that “many of those vouchers impeded the desegregation process.”

The federal government argues that allowing students to attend independent schools under the voucher system could create a racial imbalance in public school systems protected by desegregation orders.

John Hinderaker at Power Line states:

This Louisiana case is typical: Holder wants to keep the archaic residue of the civil rights movement alive forever, as a club with which to beat the Southern states, and as a means of screwing African-Americans. After all, if blacks can’t escape from terrible schools, their employment prospects will be lousy. They likely will be welfare-dependent, and therefore reliable Democratic voters for decades to come. That is, as best one can infer it from the facts, the calculation that Obama and Holder have made.

Eric Holder’s Justice Department is a disgrace. They have become totally political. I would suggest that Eric Holder be replaced, except that I think President Obama would simply find someone equally bad.

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Picking Winners And Losers When Enforcing The Law

CBN News posted a story today which illustrates what happens when the people in charge of enforcing the law do not respect the principle of equal justice under the law. The case involves the death of two ducks in a waste pool next to an oil drill site.

As you read this story, please keep in mind the following, reported by Fox News on August 16, 2011:

Case in point: In the Bay Area, when activists in the 1980s demanded a cleaner planet, the state responded with the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area. The state-approved wind farm, built with federal tax credits, kills 4,700 birds annually, including 1,300 raptors, among them 70 golden eagles, according to biological reports generated on behalf of the owners.

…Pine Tree is one of the wind farms in Kern County and is operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. According to an internal DWP bird and bat mortality report for the year ending June 2010, bird fatality rates were “relatively high” at Pine Tree compared to 45 other wind facilities nationwide. The facility’s annual death rate per turbine is three times higher for golden eagles than at Altamont.

“Politics plays a huge role here,” Smallwood said. “Our leaders want this power source so they’re giving, for a time being, a pass to the wind industry. If you or I killed an eagle, we’re looking at major consequences.”

I am asking you to keep this in mind as you read this story. Bud Brigham, head of Brigham Resources, was charged with killing two ducks who died in a waste pool next to one of his drills in North Dakota.

The article at CBN News reports:

“A Justice Department appointee apparently chartered a helicopter to go search for this,” Brigham told CBN News, “and flew around to all the different well sites in western North Dakota.”

…Those in the helicopter found 28 dead birds in the waste pools of seven oil and gas companies, and the prosecutor used the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act to charge the companies with criminally killing the 28 birds.

When Congress passed the act, it was intended just to stop poachers or hunters deliberately killing migratory birds. But that didn’t stop this federal prosecutor going after Brigham and the other oil executives.

In Brigham’s case, he and his company were charged with killing two ducks.

“And for two mallards there were cash fines, but also, as CEO, I could potentially serve two consecutive six-month terms in prison,” Brigham said.

As previously mentioned, there have been no charges brought against windmill companies.

Fortunately, the judge in the case tossed it out, stating that if the government were allowed to put Mr. Brigham in jail, they could theoretically imprison a cat-owner whose cat had killed a bird.

Those people in the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency who sent out the helicopters to find the birds and those in the Justice Department who prosecuted the case need to be removed from office. This sort of activity does not represent equal justice under the law–it represents the government picking winners and losers–something the Obama Administration is known for doing.

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Something To Consider

I really haven’t made up my mind as to whether or not it is better to defund ObamaCare or simply delay it. The danger of defunding it is that if that causes a government shutdown, the Democrats have a perfect opportunity to change the subject. If Democrats successfully change the subject, they win, ObamaCare goes into effect, and all Americans lose a great deal of both their freedom and their money.

The Heritage Foundation posted an article today explaining why they believe it is better to defund ObamaCare than to delay it. The article points out that ObamaCare is “a massive, government-centered restructuring of American health care.”

The article lists some of the problems with simply delaying ObamaCare:

Simply delaying Obamacare:

  • …doesn’t stop Obamacare from harming people. Regulators could continue to enforce the Health and Human Services (HHS) anti-conscience mandate and issue new Obamacare rules that raise costs and premiums for struggling businesses and families alike.
  • …is a gift to the Obama Administration. Federal bureaucrats have missed nearly half of their self-imposed deadlines to get the law up and running. Why provide them more time to make sure thousands of regulations are entrenched in the private health care sector?
  • …doesn’t stop Obamacare programs from launching. A 53-page Obamacare timeline shows that in 2014 alone, 27 separate Obamacare programs and requirements are scheduled to take effect.

In the article, Heritage’s senior policy analyst Chris Jacobs explains that defunding ObamaCare should not cause a government shutdown. He points out that conservatives do not want to shut down the government, they simply want to defund ObamaCare. My problem with that is my belief that the Democrat party will not allow the Republican party to defund ObamaCare without shutting down the government. Considering the bias in the American media, there is no way the Democrats would have to take responsibility for shutting down the government–the Republicans would be blamed.

I agree that ObamaCare needs to be stopped immediately. I am just not sure it can be done by Republicans who control one part of one branch of our government. I support their cause, I am just not sure if defunding will be successful, and I wonder what it will cost Republicans in the long run.

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The Real War In The Middle East

Michael Ledeen posted an article at PJMedia today about the Syrian civil war.

Mr. Ledeen reminds us of the history of the war in Iraq:

We invaded Iraq in the name of the War Against Terror, which President George W. Bush defined as a war against terrorist organizations and the states that supported them.  That should have made Iran the focus of our strategy, since Tehran was (and still is, now more than ever) the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.  Nothing would have so devastated the jihadis as the fall of the Iranian regime, which–then as now–funded, trained, armed and gave sanctuary to terrorist groups from al-Qaeda and Hezbollah to Islamic Jihad and Hamas.  Unless we defeated Iran, it would not be possible for Iraq to have decent security, no matter how total the defeat of Saddam and the Baathists, and how well-intentioned the successor government.  As you can plainly see.

Mr. Ledeen points out that we have again arrived at the same place.

He further explains:

So, as in Iraq, if you want to win this battle in the terror war (Syria), you must defeat the Iranian regime.  And, as in the early years of this bloody century, you can do it without dropping bombs or sending Americans to fight on the ground, because the overwhelming majority of Iranians want to rid themselves of Khamenei and Rouhani and all the rest of their tyrannical oppressors.  They can do it, with a bit of political, technological and economic support.  They could have done it in 2003, when they were on the verge of declaring a general strike against the regime.  Colin Powell and W abandoned them, and it never happened.  They could have done it in 2009, when millions of them took to the streets in demonstrations larger than those that led to the downfall of the shah.  Hillary Clinton and O abandoned them, and a brutal repression ensued.

We keep trying to take down the tree by only removing its branches because they are easier to chop off. Well, they are not really easier to chop off, and we are never getting to the root of the problem. Unless our Middle East policy drastically changes, we will be fighting the Muslim Brotherhood there for the next fifty years or more.

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How Over-regulation Impacts Local Food Producers

I have lived in Southeastern Massachusetts for almost 35 years. When my husband and I and our daughters first moved here in October 1978, our neighbors told us we had to go see “The Big Apple.” Having New York City roots, we found this rather odd until we realized that The Big Apple was a local orchard and farm growing a variety of produce. Later, one of my fondest memories is driving the daughter of the owners (the Morse family) home one night and following their beautiful Christmas star through the snow to their house.

What I am trying to say is that The Big Apple is a local tradition. It has fresh cider, doughnuts, rides through the farm, apple picking, and a wonderful atmosphere. Unfortunately, government over-regulation may put The Big Apple out of business.

Today’s Attleboro Sun Chronicle posted a story about the impact of new government regulations on small family farms.

The article reports:

With new rules proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, The Big Apple would likely face expensive water testing requirements, paperwork and other changes covering not only its fields and orchards but its farm store, which washes fruit and serves up specialties like candy-coated apples.

“There’s a lot of paperwork,” Peg Morse said, adding that meeting the regulatory requirements could require as many as three or four additional full-time workers. The new rules would also require stepped-up water sampling and testing.

…The proposed new irrigation and water testing standards alone could cost the farm more than $20,000 per year, they say.

Currently, the Morses test water once a year. The new rules would require weekly testing of each and every water source the Morses use.

Since they draw from three irrigation ponds and two wells, John Morse sets the cost of testing, alone, at $400 per week.

There are lots of other changes, too, he says.

The farm will have to replace its wooden apple picking boxes with plastic ones, upgrade its machinery and change the way it applies fertilizer.

Proposed rules require nine months between the time manure is applied to a field and harvest time. With New England‘s short growing season, such a rule doesn’t make sense, Bonanno says.

The Morses say they’re worried about the new rules and how they would affect not only their business but their customers. All the added expenses would have to be paid by someone, and most likely would be passed on to the consumer.

“We might have to charge $12 for a bag of apples we now charge $6 for,” John said. “Who’s going to pay that?”

The article reminds us that if we drive the local farmers out of business, America will be forced to import more food from countries that do not have the strict agricultural standards that America has. Our attempt to increase food safety may in fact result in having a food supply that is less safe.

The bill involved in these changes is H.R. 933. The good news is that there is an amendment to the bill, H.AMDT.221 to H.R.1947, which requires a scientific and economic analysis of the FDA’s Food Safety and Modernization Act prior to final regulations being enforced with the focus of the analysis being on the impact of the bill on agricultural businesses of all sizes.

If the original bill is enforced, we will lose many sources of local produce throughout the country. In Southeastern Massachusetts, we will lose the experience of taking our children to a wonderful place where they can see apples sorted and drink fresh cider. That would also be a major loss.

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Some Sad News From The Entertainment World

ABC News is reporting today that Linda Ronstadt has Parkinson’s Disease and as a result has lost her ability to sing. Linda Ronstadt had a truly beautiful singing voice. She could do rock and roll, country, traditional songs and operetta. She provided part of the soundtrack of my early twenties, and later I thoroughly enjoyed her performance in Pirates of Penzance. I wish her the best and hope a cure for the disease is found soon. Her beautiful voice will be missed.

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As Usual Texas Gets It Right

On Friday the Austin American-Statesman reported that Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson announced that the Texas Veteran Land Board will treat the surviving spouses of the Fort Hood massacre as if their loved ones were killed in combat.

The article reports:

Over 150 victims and family members are suing the federal government seeking to have the attack classified as an act of war, which would lead to increased retirement, medical and disability benefits. The federal government has not called Maj. Nidal Hasan, convicted in the shootings on Friday, an enemy combatant, which would open the door to Purple Hearts and expanded benefits.

The details of the arrangement are currently being worked out by the lawyers, and it is not clear how the decision will affect those surviving family members living outside the state of Texas.

If Major Hasan was not an enemy combatant, what was he? If he was a terrorist, then it was a terrorist attack and the families should receive full benefits. The idea that what happened at Fort Hood was workplace violence does not work. The excuse used to call it that was that the government did not want to interfere with the trial of Major Hasan. The trail is now over. Let’s call what happened at Fort Hood a terrorist attack. That’s what it was. Unfortunately it was a terrorist in our own military–a fact that the government had chosen to ignore.

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We Need An Administration That Respects Our Military Veterans

I have serous doubts as to whether the current administration in Washington respects our military, and I also have serious doubts as to their level of respect for our military veterans. This administration has attempted to cut medical benefits for veterans, and I suspect that sometime in the near future they will attempt to cut retirement benefits. One of the latest executive actions is an example of the lack of respect for veterans and their traditions.

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is altering some of the regulations it puts on the American Legion. The IRS is changing a 13-part section of Part 4, Chapter 76 of the Internal Revenue Manual pertaining to “veterans’ organizations.”

The article in the Daily Caller states:

“The IRS now requires American Legion posts to maintain dates of service and character of service records for all members… The penalty for not having the required proof of eligibility is, apparently, $1,000 per day,” the American Legion stated.

…“On the heels of Americans’ anger over revelations that the IRS intentionally targeted certain groups, it has been brought to my attention that the IRS is now turning their sights toward our nation’s veterans,” Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran said. “The IRS seems to be auditing veteran service organizations by requiring private member military service forms.”

…The American Legion, headquartered in Indianapolis, was founded in 1919 as a social and support group for veterans returning from World War I. It is now one of the leading nonpartisan forces lobbying for veterans rights.

Notice that this new rule was in no way approved of or passed by Congress–it was done in the Executive Branch. I think it is time for Congress to find its spine and begin to rein in the Executive Branch. President Obama and his minions are becoming more like a king and his court than the President of a representative republic.
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This Is Just Tacky

There has been some awful violence in this country recently. Some of that violence has been race-related. Some of that racial tension has been ginned up by government officials making statements that made things worse rather than better. Television could play a positive role here, but evidently it has chosen not to.

Yesterday the U.K. Mail posted a story about an upcoming episode of Law & Order SVU.’ The story involves a famous southern chef who shoots an unarmed, hoodie-wearing black teen she thought was following her on the Upper West Side.

The article reports:

According to TV Guide, Castille claims she killed the teen in an act of self-defense because she knew police were chasing a rapist of the same description.

Let’s get a few things straight. The publicity for the show implies that the famous chef character was inspired by Paula Deen. I am sure the writers have made the resemblance subtle enough so that Paula Deen cannot sue for defamation of character, I wish she could. We need to remember that Trayvon Martin was not an angelic teenager out buying iced tea and skittles–he was buying Arizona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail and skittles–two of the ingredients of ‘purple drink.’ Evidently he already had the robitussin, which is the third ingredient. Purple drink is a well-known recreational drug in the hip-hop culture.

This television show will not help race relations in America at all. In fact, it may make them worse. It is a shame that the media and now television have gotten so comfortable painting false pictures of events for the American people.

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About That College Thing

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article yesterday about President Obama’s speech detailing his plan for higher education. The goal of the plan is to make college more affordable, tackle rising costs, and improve the value of college for students and their families. That sounds really good until you realize that federal subsidies are largely responsible for the exponential increases in college tuition in recent years. Included in the President’s plan for colleges is a federal rating system.

Mr. Mirengoff points out:

The federal rating system is unnecessary. Plenty of private outfits — most famously, U.S. News and World Report — rate colleges on a broad array of criteria. Relevant information about colleges is easy to come by, and from sources more trustworthy than ideologically-driven federal bureaucrats.

While the first elements of Obama’s plan is merely unnecessary, the second element — tying federal assistance to the federal rating system — strikes me as pernicious. First, I doubt the federal government’s ability to rate colleges with sufficient accuracy to justify attaching monetary consequences to its ratings.

Second, Obama’s plan will increase the federal government’s ability to coerce colleges into embracing even more fully a left-wing agenda — e.g., discriminating against whites in admissions and hiring, unfairly disciplining male students based on flimsy allegations of sexual harassment, and so forth.

Third, even if the federal government were able to come up with a reasonable and unbiased rating system, it would still have no business discriminating financially against the families of students who decide to attend colleges they (and the families) believe are better suited to their particular purposes.

The federal bureaucracy is already out of control. We really do not need to make it worse. The plan offered by the President does not reduce federal subsidies to colleges–it simply redistributes them. This seems to be another opportunity for the government to pick winners and losers. The government has already meddled unsuccessfully in the auto industry and in the energy industry. We don’t need to let them meddle unsuccessfully into higher education.

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