Friday, April 30, 2010

Charlie Crist Cracks - Runs as Independent

Florida Governor Charlie Crist has made a decision. He has decided to run as an Independent instead of as a Republican in the race for the open U.S. Senate seat. Crist, despite months of insisting he would never run as anything but a Republican, looking the cameras straight-on and denying any thoughts of running as an Independent, sees the polls and knows the truth. He cannot beat Marco Rubio. Instead of seeing the race through, or simply dropping out, Crist has decided the race is all about his ego and not the people of Florida.

Crist and his record as governor are not so popular with Republican voters. At a time when the GOP was fighting President Obama on a massive government spending/stimulus bill, Crist decided to align himself with Obama. Now the infamous photo of 'the hug' has come back to haunt him. When Obama went to Florida to rally support for the bill, Crist was a willing useful idiot. He appeared on stage with Obama and hugged it out. Instead of strongly disagreeing with the wasteful allocation of federal dollars, as Texas Governor Perry, for example, did, Crist sided with the liberal Democrats in Congress. Texas accepted federal monies but did not accept all that was available and voiced opposition to strings attached that would prove detrimental to states' budgets in coming years. Republicans expected better from Crist.

Some will look at the move in simplistic terms. The truth is, though, Charlie Crist isn't scorned by the GOP for being a moderate. He is scorned for being a nothing. He is the worst kind of politician - a man of no principle. He is proving again to be only out for himself and his career.

From The Note at ABC News: Deeper than ideology, or even hugs: “The more complicated truth, say top GOP officials from both wings of the party, is that an ornery conservative base is expressing its disgust for Republicans who have both flagrantly defied the party and who represent a distrusted political establishment,” Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports. “GOP officials, preparing for Crist’s move Thursday, said his unambiguous play for political survival wouldn’t reveal fissures within the party as much as it would underline the problem he already has -- that he’s the ultimate play-the-angles pol.” While it is obnoxious of reporter Martin to describe the conservative base as 'ornery', he is accurate in his description of Crist. It is all about survival.

Crist has not exactly accumulated a stellar record as the leader of the state of Florida. Now reporting is uncovering some not so above board deals given to friends of Crist. It is not just frustration towards incumbents but frustration towards incumbents going along to get along. It is expected that our leaders know when to say no. It is expected that our leaders know that simply throwing tax payer money at problems doesn't get the results needed. Republicans are waking up across the country and demanding the party principles make a comeback to guide the way forward. Crist is the wrong kind of moderate - he spends like a liberal. Moderates can still win re-elections if the candidate has a history of fiscal conservatism.

How he has fallen. Just last year he was 30 points up over unknown, outside of Florida, Marco Rubio. Then misstep after misstep for his own political gain continued. He was against offshore drilling before he was for it and now he is against it again. He went back and forth with the teachers' unions. He is a leaf in the wind.

Now, Republicans who donated to his campaign in good faith, taking the man at his word that he was running as a Republican, are asking for the money returned. Senator Cornyn, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who endorsed Crist early on in the campaign, is requesting a refund of $10,000. Senator Cornyn thinks his request is just the beginning.

The race will be interesting. We can only hope the victor is not the Democrat in the race.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

POTUS Campaigns For Financial Reform

The problem with a president who continually campaigns for this and that, who never stopped campaigning even after he won the election, who lives in a state of perpetual campaigning, is that the people are simply tired of him. We are tired of the daily barrage of photo ops and the trips here and there that are to signal his concern for the average American.

After going to North Carolina for a 'getaway' vaca with Michelle, just like any ole average couple, he dropped by the home of Reverend Billy Graham. This was their first meeting. Do the Obamas understand that average Americans do not agree that Graham's son, Franklin, should have been disinvited to the national prayer breakfast for speaking out about fanatic followers of Islam immediately after the attacks of 9/11/01? Both Grahams were present for the visit. This year, by the way, Franklin Graham was the chair of the event to which he was disinvited.

A protest against the impending Obama visit drew over 1,000 people, though we would not know about it from the standard media coverage. Here is an article from a local newspaper.

We have seen the thin skin of the president as he is criticized. In Iowa, he mocked his audience of supporters because he didn't receive any applause for mentioning 'hard choices' that will have to be made to improve the economy. This is his habit. He uses the 'hard choices' argument to pave the way for raising taxes and breaking his premier campaign pledge of not raising taxes on anyone making less than $250,000, then $200,000. Seems this is the cut-off for the 'rich' versus regular working Americans in the mind of President Obama. Only the lemmings bought that pledge but there are numerous sound bites from the campaign trail to point to the fact that the president repeatedly made that promise. The 'debt commission' is the cover for his excuse to bilk everyone, 'rich' and poor alike, for more taxes to waste in Washington as he continues his big government power grabs.

Here is an interesting take on the Obama method. It is a sign of impeding doom for his presidency that he does not feel the need to strive to appear in the best possible light. He possesses a personality that enjoys tearing into his opposition - the more personal the attack, the better - and that is not complimentary to his office. Traditionally, the vice president is sent out to do the president's bidding. If Obama change means resorting to lowering the standards of the office, then we all are the lesser for it.

A little human interest story HERE tells of some behind the scenes action. Seems a 'local hire' by ABC News covering the Iowa event got into a bit of trouble with the Secret Service agents and sent along to the local law enforcement people.

Obama told the audience in Quincy, Illinois, "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money." That is his opinion of the Wall Street crowd. I ponder, has he said the same to his pal, Oprah, the billionaire? Or maybe his big supporter, Warren Buffett? Or George Soros? HERE is a clip of his speech. To say it is disturbing for the president to give voice to his opinion that business success is somehow wrong - that there are limits to how successful a person can be - would be an understatement. We are a capitalist nation. America is the land of opportunity and no one is a better example that Barack Obama. What would be his reaction is, say, the next president told him that since he has achieved the highest position of power in the world and made millions along the way by capitalizing on his own rise to power, then he is not entitled to any more profits - such as those he is sure to receive at a future date from books he and his wife will write upon leaving office? Would he be ok with that? Of course not. He should demand nothing less from others than what he expects for himself.

Obama supporter Buffett does not agree with the financial reform bill for which the president is campaigning. He is more in line with some of the GOP opposition to items in the bill. Senator Ben Nelson, from the state of Nebraska - Buffett's home - was the lone Democrat to vote with the GOP to keep the bill from going to the floor for debate. He held out for changes along with the GOP being spurned by the president. As it is written, the financial reform bill is another lengthy hodge podge - more than 1300 pages - that has solely partisan support. The only bipartisan support is seen in its opposition. Is this yet another piece of legislation that politicians will tell us must be passed so that we may see what is in it?

A Book Review

"A Century Turns" by William J. Bennett

Published by Thomas Nelson

This book is easy to read and not at all as dry as one might expect a book about the years between 1988 to 2008, from an historical standpoint. A key factor in the author's writing style is that he has first person reference to many of the events. He provides the reader with behind the scene tidbits yet does not project a judgemental observation.

Bennett describes events from his own life and how history has shown his views to be correct or not. For example, he describes the decision of Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard and form Microsoft. Bennett was a proctor at Harvard during that time and advised Gates to stay in school. Bennett also tells about a meeting with George W. Bush during the time Bush was considering people as a running mate. Bennett declined Bush's inquiry when asked if he was interested in the vice president slot of the ticket in 2000.

This book is a refreshing look back at events that have shaped our country as described in honest and thoughtful language. The book cuts through the bias from media reports of events and provides some honest reporting of history. Bill Bennett has a natural gift of storytelling and combines it with a true appreciation of our nation's history. The reader is the beneficiary.

I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Arizona Enacts Illegal Immigration Legislation

President Obama has instructed Attorney General Holder to look into a potential
federal challenge to the new law in Arizona to deal with illegal immigrants. When the bill was signed into law by the governor, Obama weighed in that is was "misguided". As is his pattern, Obama weighs in without the full context of a subject.

I would argue that it is 'misguided' for the Federal government to stay on the sidelines and not correct the problems faced by border states like Arizona. I would argue that it is 'misguided' for the President of the United States to insert himself into the argument before he has read the actual bill. While it is obvious that the Democratic leadership in Washington no longer feels obliged to read legislation, I would argue that not reading bills is also 'misguided'.

Frank Antenori, Arizona State Senator, said, "in Arizona, we actually read bills". He claims the new law does not allow profiling, that those here illegally would come under scrutiny only if stopped by police for suspicion of unlawful acts. He said the law 'uncuffs' the hands of law enforcement so that detention is possible if someone is suspected of being in the state illegally.

Arizona State Senator Russell Pierce, the author of the legislation, said that parts of the Arizona law are the exact wording from Federal legislation. Unfortunately, the Federal law is not enforced. From Sedona Biz : Russell Pearce is the author of S.B. 1070, which requires officials and agencies of the state and political subdivisions to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws and establishes crimes related to illegal immigration. It specifies requirements for employers who assert an entrapment defense for intentionally or knowingly employing an unauthorized alien.

Pearce is one of Arizona’s most outspoken advocate for stopping the illegal invasion, securing our borders and enforcing our laws. In 2004 he was the architect of The Citizen’s Initiative known as Proposition 200, also known as Protect Arizona NOW (Arizona's Citizens and Taxpayers Protection Act), to require: Arizona's Fair and Legal Employment Act; Arizona’s Employer Sanctions legislation, the toughest work site enforcement bill in the nation to stop illegal employers and to protect jobs for Arizonans.

In 2009 he was recognized as the number one legislator, “Hero of the Taxpayer” by the Americans for Prosperity, a taxpayer’s watchdog group. He has been consistently rated in the very top every year he has been in the legislature. As a State legislator he was recognized by the Goldwater Institute as the number one legislator who proved to be the strongest ally against government encroachment on liberty.

He was one of only seven legislators in the nation and the only one in Arizona to receive the "Hero of the Taxpayer" award by the American Tax Reform Association, a national taxpayer and limited government association. He is currently Chairman of the Arizona Senate's Appropriations Committee and proudly states that, “I am the gatekeeper, not the gift giver. Taxpayer money comes from the hard labor of Dads and Moms."

I tend to agree with Jeb Bush. He looks at it from a practical approach. Jeb Bush said in an article published by Politico: “I think it creates unintended consequences,” he said in a telephone interview with POLITICO Tuesday. “It’s difficult for me to imagine how you’re going to enforce this law. It places a significant burden on local law enforcement and you have civil liberties issues that are significant as well.”

The law appears to be unconstitutional as well. The fourth amendment states: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Democrats, like Obama and Holder, work the issue of illegal immigration as a way to gin up their base and hope to use it as a battering ram for electoral success. This is the lowest form of politics - it exploits the poor and hopeless as well as American citizens directly affected by the consequences of illegal immigration.

It is easy to understand what led up to the action taken by the Arizona legislature and Governor Brewer. Frustrated from years of willful neglect from those in Washington tasked with keeping our borders secure, the state of Arizona is in chaos. Murders on ranches that bump up to the border with Mexico, as well as other criminal activity have overwhelmed the state's law enforcement. No serious effort from the federal level has been used since the days of Ronald Reagan. To now demand, however, that even legal citizens carry their paperwork on their person just in case an officer of the law suspects they might be an illegal immigrant, is not the answer.

The top requirement of the federal government is national security. Secure the borders. Enact a path to citizenship. Immediately deport those here illegally that commit crime. Whether those in office in Washington wish to confront these solutions or not, it has to be done. It is time for Washington to enforce the laws already on the books.

Leadership comes from the top down. This act was not done because the people of Arizona are racist or bitter or hateful people. It occurred as a last resort.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Obama Pleads for a Get Out the Vote Effort by DNC

Watching this youtube delivered by President Obama for the DNC, we learn that the Democrats are indeed quite concerned over predicted upcoming electoral losses in November. He does this video as a get out the vote effort.

What is evident is that the script is classic Obama - referencing the challenges he "inherited" and dividing voters by race and sex. He references the importance of getting blacks and hispanics and women to the polls so that they will vote for the Democratic candidates. How do they feel being taken for granted by the Democratic party?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Will POTUS Eulogize Those Lost On the Deepwater Horizon?

Is it cynical to assume President Obama went to West Virginia to eulogize the coal miners who lost their lives on the job because West Virginia supports a Democratic governor and union jobs? Or was it because it was a good venue to push for his reform measures in a new energy bill slated to go to the Senate floor this week? Just wondering if he would also appear at a memorial service for the oil drilling rig workers who died, also doing their job last week?

Maybe Team Obama should remember the political fallout over the politicization of the Paul Wellstone funeral in Minnesota for the Democrats trying to capitalize on death.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cynical POTUS Decries Cynical Politics of Financial Bill

One week ago the SEC filed suit against Goldman Sachs. For a year and a half, Goldman Sachs has been under investigation for its part in the financial difficulties facing our economy. Why did the SEC choose last Friday to file suit? Even the least cynical of political observers are nodding agreement with the rest of us- it was all about trying to jump into the administration's next large item of their agenda: financial reform. Standard courtesies typically extended were foregone. The CEO of Goldman Sachs learned of the decision through the media, not from the SEC. Typically, a firm is given a heads-up by the SEC if action will be taken. Not this time. This time, it was The New York Times that received the heads-up. And, to further make the process sleazy, the filing of the suit was done during trading hours, not after hours as is customary.

All of this action led up to the president's visit to NYC yesterday to scold Wall Streeters and try to act as though he is righteously indignant about their business practices. It was a dud of a speech and not well received, as one would imagine. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you and your party. The CEO of Goldman Sachs attended the farce of an event.

As is his habit, the president used his favorite straw men in talking about opposition to his bill as it now stands. What he didn't bother to talk about was the fact that Senate Majority Leader Reid has decided he doesn't need no stinkin' bipartisan support for it and is trying to speed up the vote. The House has passed it and now Harry is under the gun. The reason for little bipartisan support as it now stands? Reid is insisting on leaving in a permanent $50 billion slush fund to be administered by the Executive branch, for bailing out those deemed 'too big to fail". The GOP wants it taken out and so does, as a matter of fact, the president. Reid and his fellow Democrats in the senate leadership wants it left in. That is the biggest hurdle now.

On Goldman's visits to the White House:
Goldman's connections to the White House and the Obama administration are raising eyebrows at a time when Washington and Wall Street are dueling over how to overhaul regulation of the financial world. And this -
Goldman is retaining former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig as a member of its legal team. In addition, when he worked as an investment banker in Chicago a decade ago, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel advised one client who also retained Goldman as an adviser on the same $8.2 billion deal

It's just all a bit too cozy to allow the president to allege that it is in any way only the GOP that is in bed with the Wall Street titans. That stereotype no longer applies within the framework of financial reform debate. In truth, recent election cycles have shown it is the Democratic party that receives more campaign contributions than the Republican party. Obama snarls about the 'fat cats' on Wall Street as he takes their campaign contributions, hand over fist. In the 2008 election race against John McCain, Obama's campaign received just under $1 million dollars from Goldman Sachs employees alone.

How about the staunchest of Democrats - the union 'fat cats' - and their relationship to this administration? The Heritage Foundation tells that tale: Big labor's ties to this White House are already well documented. Less known is just how close Obama administration interests align with the big firms that benefit most from the TARP bailout. The Washington Examiner reports that at Goldman Sachs, the nation's largest investment bank, four of the five in-house lobbyists were Democratic Capitol Hill staffers -- the remaining one gave $1,000 to Hillary Clinton last election.

Goldman Sachs stock is down 15% since the action taken last Friday. The vote by the SEC to pursue the lawsuit right now went along party lines - the three Democrats voted for it, the 2 GOP members voted against the decision to move now on it. It's a purely political stunt to increase pressure on Republican senators to vote yes to the president's bill.

So far in 2010, 62% of political contributions by Goldman Sachs employees have gone to Democrats. The White House denies the obvious link between a Google search of the words "Goldman SEC" and the paid sponsorship link that takes the searcher first to a website raising money for Obama. This proves that it is an orchestrated attempt to influence the public, paid for and implemented in advance of the Friday announcement.

There is no fix for the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debacles in this bill. Long ago these two programs were shown to be problematic at best. In 2003, then Treasury Secretary John Snow warned of serious problems with mortgage regulations and the need for a fix. In 2005, the very people writing the new bill were the ones denying any problems from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Democrats blocked any fixing then and now. They were against regulation before they were for it.

The whole 'coincidence' stinks. And the president's call for an end to "cynical" politics in his speech? Laughable. And so very predictable.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Education In The Balance

Happy 40th Birthday, Earth Day!
Some history from Independent Women's Forum:

Earth Day's founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson, saw the success of anti-war activists in holding "teach-ins" and demonstrations on campus, that he wanted to enlist the same spirit for environmental causes. Forty years later, schools across the country-and even around the world-participate in Earth Day events.
This sounds like a smashing success. And not just for Senator Nelson and environmentalists, but for all of us who benefit from a healthy, clean environment. But unfortunately, Earth Day organizers too often go beyond promoting the simple message that we all agree upon-the need of protecting our natural habitat and the desire of wanting our children to respect and appreciate the environment-and instead use this occasion to advance political ideology.

Balanced Education for Everyone promotes encouraging educators to teach all aspects of environmental protection on Earth Day in schools.

From a website on the history of the day:
Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.

Sen. Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the highest honor given to civilians in the United States -- for his role as Earth Day founder.

The president in office in 1970, putting the EPA in place as well as the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts? Republican Richard M. Nixon. Despite what the current generation of Democratic leadership insists, the GOP has been front and center from the beginning of the earth friendly movement.

For instance, the poster boy for failed use of scientific data in speeches is Al Gore. Not only does he invest in companies to make big bucks off the green movement, he is a hypocrite. Do as he says, not as he does.
Too often students have watched the politically correct Gore version of the effects of weather and climate changes on earth. He has been proven wrong many times and contrary to his insistence, the science is not decided. The questioning continues and that is a good thing. More problem-solving is good, not to be discouraged by trying to shut off honest debate. Intellectuals can disagree and continue studying problems.

In Great Britain, Gore's award winning movie - a glorified power point presentation - has been denied permission to be shown in most schools. The government found several falsehoods and decided to stop the classroom presentations.

Good stewardship of our earth is a noble aspiration. I remember the very first Earth Day. Back in the day, it was feared that a new Ice Age was approaching. Times change. The same is true of the natural cycles on earth. I enjoy recycling whenever possible and am proud of my work to increase home pickup of materials for recycling in our former town - a parish (county) wide effort. I recycle naturally as I find it is also kind to the family budget. Turning off lights in rooms not being used saves on the electric bill. Same with energy efficient appliances and weather proofing a house. I save on the water bill by only doing full loads in the washer and dishwasher. All of this is just common sense stuff, isn't it?

It's good to have all opinions and data as we make decisions as important as our lives on earth. It is wrong for those in power to profit financially and at the ballot box, pitting one group against another. No one prefers dirty air or water.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Barbara Boxer Bows to the Tea Party

Much of the venom spewed by the left against the Tea Party people is coming back to bite them. Take, for example, Senator Barbara Boxer running for re-election in California. Monday evening President Obama went to that state to stump for her. The interesting part of the event occurred as Boxer and Obama both referenced the Tea Party activists to inspire enthusiasm for Boxer's campaign. Ironic.

Boxer pleaded with the audience to "go toe to toe" with the tea partiers. At least she didn't tell them to "get in their faces" as Obama did as a candidate in his race for President.

Obama was heckled by protesters at this event. Protesters from his own side of the political aisle. They were letting him know of their displeasure that the defense department's don't ask, don't tell policy is still in place. Obama was not pleased and that registered on his face immediately. He actually left the podium and walked over to Boxer, also on the stage, and returned. He said he was confirming with Boxer that she did not vote for don't ask, don't tell in the inception of the law, so he is sure she'll vote to repeal it. A bizarre move on his part, but he was clearly flummoxed over the display of the protesters.

He is not amused by opposition from either side of the aisle, as it turns out.

From Roger Simon at Pajamas Media:

Much has been made of Barack Obama’s claim to have been “amused” by the nationwide tea party demonstrations on Tax Day last week. Really, he told acolytes at a Democratic fundraiser (expected haul: $2.5 million), “they should be saying thank you.”

Applause. Cries of “Thank you.” Laugh track?

I believe that the editorialist for Investor’s Business Daily got it exactly right about the second part of Obama’s response to the rallies: “Thanks for What?” he asked.

Why should they [the tea partiers] be thankful? As the president himself said on his weekly radio address a week ago, “one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000; that’s another promise we kept.”

In fact, that wasn’t his promise at all.

Here’s what candidate Obama really said in September of 2008: “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

Got that? “Not any of your taxes.” The claim of no tax hikes on those below $250,000 as a result of the current administration’s policies is completely and utterly false.

A report from the House Ways & Means Committee’s GOP members notes that, since January 2009, Congress and the president have enacted $670 billion in tax increases. That’s $2,100 for each person in America. At least 14 of those tax hikes, the report says, break Obama’s pledge not to raise taxes on those earning less than $250,000. Roughly $316 billion of the tax hikes — 14 increases in all — hit middle-class families, the report says.

This comes in addition to recent data from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office showing U.S. spending and indebtedness growing at an alarming rate. Government spending now totals 25% of GDP, a quarter above its long-term average. By 2035, it will hit 34% of GDP at current trends — a 70% increase in the real size of government in just 25 years.

As is his practice, lowly as it is, Obama went on to name other politicians from the opposition party that have the nerve to do their job - oppose bad policy being pushed through by this aggressive new administration. Be berated Senate Minority Leader McConnell for meeting with Wall Street executives over the pending legislation of financial reform. Ironic statements again - Obama himself benefited mightily from Wall Street as he campaigned for President - over $1 million from Goldman Sachs employees alone. He wants to advance the talking point that it is only Republican politicians who receive money from 'fat cats' on Wall Street. Actually, in the last election, it was Democrats who received 77% of Wall Street campaign contributions.

Boxer is in a difficult re-election bid. She has three strong GOP challengers this time around and is running just about even with them. It is a statement of how difficult her race is proving to be that she asked Obama to campaign for her.

We can only hope Obama produces the same election result in California that he did in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Recognizing Israel's 62nd Anniversary

Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Message to Diaspora Communities

62nd Israel Independence Day

April 2010

Israel's Independence Day celebrates a double miracle in the life of the Jewish people.

The first miracle is the restoration of Jewish sovereignty. There is no other example that I know of in the history of nations in which a scattered people, practically left for dead, has been able to re-assert its national life.

The second miracle is what we've done since the establishment of the Jewish state. Israel is fact becoming a regional economic power and one of the world's leading technological powers.

All the powers of creativity and genius in the Jewish people are bursting forth in every area: in science; in technology; in medicine; in the arts. This incredible burst of creativity promises a great future for the Jewish people and for all mankind.

This double miracle is a testament to the life-force of the Jewish people. It's a testament to the deep wells of hope we carry inside us and to the deep connection that we have both to our past and to our future. The two miracles that have already occurred are only the beginning. If we stand together, if we remain committed to our common destiny, there's nothing we cannot achieve.

Chag Sameach!


Benjamin Netanyahu

Monday, April 19, 2010

Paddling in Texas Schools

Corporal punishment is back in the school system of Temple, Texas. This seems odd to many since the school district banned the practice before bringing it back in May, 2009, according to an article online by the Houston Chronicle. According to the assistant superintendent of administration, John Hancock, many of the parents who pushed for the change paddle their children at home and wanted consistent discipline in the classroom.


I thought this kind of treatment vanished long ago. I know Houston Independent School District doesn't use paddling. But, I read that neighboring Alvin Independent School District has this option in place, too. From a network affiliate in Houston, a piece online states that parents must sign off on the policy at the beginning of each school year. According to the article, the district refused the station permission to speak with a school principal who uses the policy. The reporter did, however, speak with a high school principal who doesn't utilize the option. He said that about five to ten times a year a parent requests he use the policy. "I think that's because they revert back to when they were in school, when it was more common."

According to the Alvin Independent School District's web site, there are 16,000 students in district schools. Twenty percent of the teachers hold an advanced degree. There are 2 high schools, 1 academic alternative school, 1 behavior alternative school, 5 junior high schools, and 13 elementary schools.

In an article from a local station in Portland, Oregon, the issue is framed as an age-old one. Paddling is seen as an effective form of discipline. Parents wanted the option reinstated because "they reportedly said they wanted their kids to know there are consequences for their behavior."

From Mother Jones, a quote from Temple's assistant superintendent of administration for schools, John Hancock, said "We're rural central Texas. We're very well educated, but still there are those core values. Churches are full on Sundays...this is a tool we'd like in the toolbox for responding to discipline issues."

So, whacking the bottom of a student with a wooden board - three times - is a 'core value'? And, it's ok for a non-parent to administer this punishment in the absence of a parent? Wouldn't it make more sense for the parent to do it if that is how he or she is raising the child? Shouldn't the parent be called to the school if the student is acting so abhorrently that he or she has to be paddled? Isn't physical punishment the last option? Also noted is the fact that the community banned the practice of paddling six years ago before it was revived.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy recently held a Congressional hearing on school paddling, according to the Mother Jones article. Let that sink in - a Congressional hearing on school paddling. Now she plans to introduce legislation to ban the practice by federal law. "When you look that the federal government has outlawed physical punishment in prisons, I think the time has come that we should do it in schools."

From the Houston Chronicle article, an estimated 225,000 students were spanked in schools in 2006. Nearly one-fourth of the paddled students were in Texas.

Temple's school board president, Steve Wright, said "Without it (paddling), there weren't any consequences for students." He claims the parents long for the schools of yesteryear.

Yesteryear? Today's students live in a different world than that in which their parents were raised. The cheapening of human respect has been achieved due to today's cultural influences. A teacher today, unfortunately, does not command the height of respect that was once true. Adults, in general, are not held in high esteem by many of today's youth. That is how it is. Parents are responsible for raising their own children - this includes teaching the basic difference between right and wrong. This includes the attitude that adults in school deserve respect from students. This includes putting into practice the motto, ''lead by example". If a parent is striking a child at home to discipline the child, the child grows up thinking physical actions are the way to settle a dispute.

Reasonable adults lead by example.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bill Clinton Smears Tea Party Movement

Perhaps you heard or read the recent comments made by Bill Clinton as he jumped into the opinion - giving fray on the Tea Party movement. He made the unfortunate leap from Tea Party events to the tragedy of the Oklahoma City bombing. As president at the time of the bombing, it was President Clinton who lead our nation's people through that and then went on to draw a conclusion often made by those on the left. It's those 'loud and angry' voices that incite violence. In Bill Clinton's world, protest automatically leads to violence.

As noted in the latest published book written by Bill Bennett, "A Century Turns", then President Bill Clinton said after the Oklahoma City bombing tragedy:

"We hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us torn up and upset wit each other...They spread hate. They leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable...I'm sure you are now seeing the reports of some things that are regularly said over the airwaves in America today. Well, people like that who want to share our freedoms must know that their bitter words can have consequences, and that freedom has endured in this country fro more than two centuries because it was coupled with an enormous sense of responsibility."

Clinton, of course, conveniently omitted that one of the reasons given by the men responsible for this act of domestic terror was the handling of recent events by his own administration - the burning of the compound at Waco and the Ruby Ridge incident. Yes, the men were angry over actions taken by the government, but they were a group of less than a handful of men. This hardly indites the conservative population who strive for smaller government control of the lives of ordinary Americans.

Where was all of this righteous lecturing about the 'tone' and potential for violent reactions when the left carried out anti-war marches and protests against George W. Bush? Where was the calling for civility and calm during the last administration when a movie was made that directly shows Bush being assassinated? What about the concern over signs at protests and marches showing Bush as Hitler, as a war criminal, as a torturer and murderer? What about his death threats and violent acts towards those in support of him? What about when a group of protesters purchased a piece of property next to the president's Crawford ranch? Silence from the likes of Bill Clinton, now so concerned about protesters.

It is also interesting to read this bit of history and find the word "bitter" within the remarks. You will remember candidate Barack Obama used that term as he described potential voters in western Pennsylvania who were not shown by polls to be likely voters of his in his bid for the presidency.

So, it is quite ironic that during a speech commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing at the Center for American Progress - a liberal think tank created by John Podesta, former Clinton chief of staff with the help of Hillary Clinton and the money of George Soros - that Bill Clinton continues with the story line that it is conservatives promoting violent action and racist acts in this country. No such thing has been found to be true from the Tea Party events but that is the re-writing of history that Clinton promotes.

As a matter of fact, recent studies and polls have concluded that not only is the Tea Party movement growing - some show up to 24% of those polled consider themselves members - and t the stereotype fed by the traditional media and liberal cable networks is simply wrong. Tea Party participants are shown to be older, wealthier, more educated and politically engaged than the typical American. This is unnerving for the current administration.

And, these conclusions are exactly why the president chooses to mock and bully the opposition with the help of a former president married to a member of the current administration leadership. These Tea Party members vote. Their voices will be heard in November.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

POTUS Wants You To Say Thank You!

President Obama - the man who campaigned on civility, the man who promised to be the post partisan, transparent kind of guy, now openly mocks those who speak up against his policies and tells a group at a fundraiser that we should be thanking him instead of protesting. Interesting.

"So I've, I've, I've been a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies about taxes, taxes. You would think they would be sayin' thank you. That's what you'd think."

What is striking is the clarity Obama brings to the thoughts of a liberal politician. He actually believes, I think, that Americans should thank him for doing his job. He thinks it is the government's money that he is returning to Americans with tax breaks- if in fact there are any he has legislated - instead of the peoples' money in the first place. It is the same with others - remember it was Nancy Pelosi that proclaimed the health care bill as her Christmas gift to Americans when it was shoved through just before Christmas recess.

Believe me, Obama is not the least bit amused. From all indications, this is a man used to having his way. This is a man to whom the word 'no' is rarely uttered. He is not at all amused that now a clear majority of the American people are saying no to his health care bill and his policies in general. This president has a pattern of mocking his opposition. Remember his tone and message as he went to Massachusetts on a last minute attempt to rescue the campaign of Martha Coakley against Scott Brown. How'd that work out for him, especially after mocking those who drive trucks - and ordinary citizens of Massachusetts?
The people have awoken and all the mocking in the world will not silence them. Matter of fact, it galvanizes them. Thank you for uniting conservatives of all walks of political life, Mr. President. It is useful that you expose yourself with your true personality - that of a power hungry president who enjoys being a bully. It is not making a legacy of true leadership or respect for fellow Americans. Americans know that taxes are up and going higher, not lower.

He really won't be amused by The Contract From America.

The Contract from America
We, the undersigned, call upon those seeking to represent us in public office to sign the Contract from America and by doing so commit to support each of its agenda items, work to bring each agenda item to a vote during the first year, and pledge to advocate on behalf of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.

Individual Liberty
Our moral, political, and economic liberties are inherent, not granted by our government. It is essential to the practice of these liberties that we be free from restriction over our peaceful political expression and free from excessive control over our economic choices.

Limited Government
The purpose of our government is to exercise only those limited powers that have been relinquished to it by the people, chief among these being the protection of our liberties by administering justice and ensuring our safety from threats arising inside or outside our country’s sovereign borders. When our government ventures beyond these functions and attempts to increase its power over the marketplace and the economic decisions of individuals, our liberties are diminished and the probability of corruption, internal strife, economic depression, and poverty increases.

Economic Freedom
The most powerful, proven instrument of material and social progress is the free market. The market economy, driven by the accumulated expressions of individual economic choices, is the only economic system that preserves and enhances individual liberty. Any other economic system, regardless of its intended pragmatic benefits, undermines our fundamental rights as free people.

This document provides 10 statements demanded by the American people as it relates to fiscal responsibility and national freedom. You can go to the website and sign the petition yourself.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Presidential Memo Signed for Patient Rights

Last night, a story emerged from a memorandum issued to the Health and Human Services Secretary. The memo instructed her to draw up appropriate rules concerning visitation rights of hospital patients.

I say it is high time this was done.

The memo will, no doubt, be characterized as a new act of favoritism towards the gay community. The memo is more that that, though, and to characterize it otherwise is not fair. Let's look at the first paragraph of the memo:

There are few moments in our lives that call for greater compassion and companionship than when a loved one is admitted to the hospital. In these hours of need and moments of pain and anxiety, all of us would hope to have a hand to hold, a shoulder on which to lean -- a loved one to be there for us, as we would be there for them.

This is basic human compassion. Who hasn't visited a loved one in a hospital and not immediately felt the gratitude of the patient? Support of a loved one is critical in the recovery process. We are all human beings. Who could deny a sick person a gesture of kindness from a trusted and loved friend or partner?

This is not radical change, people. This is common sense decency. Yes, the gay community will be the largest beneficiary of the memo. So? Are members of the gay community lesser human beings? If you answer yes to that question, check yourself.

You may ask who else will benefit from this memo? Members of the religious community - the Catholic faith in general, with nuns and priests - and also just about everyone in specific. Heterosexual or homosexual, why should anyone be restricted to visits by only those recognized by law as 'family' or spouse? What about those without living legally recognized family? Why shouldn't dear friends be allowed to be their support community?

This memo won't change any laws and will not even be noticed, except by those for whom it is written. Hospitals receiving federal funding - Medicare and Medicaid - will be required to abide by the new guidelines. This allows loved ones of any description to carry out the health care wishes of patients.

Common sense and decent human compassion. For all.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Harris County GOP Coming Together

I see that my friend David and I have the same train of thought this morning: it is time to pull together as a political party in Harris County and get to work. It is time for action. It is time to chose your side and get busy.

Yesterday I received an e-mail for the newly re-elected chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, Jared Woodfill. I was encouraged to open it and read his message. The day after a hard fought primary battle, Woodfill sent a letter reaching out to all. His message was one of action - he encouraged Republicans to volunteer and to contribute to the party for victory in November.

Here's Woodfill's letter:
Let's Unite For A Common Goal

Primary elections can be a healthy thing within parties. Ideas are debated, candidates are vetted, and ultimately a nominee is chosen. Now that the runoff election is behind us, our Republican ticket is set and we're ready to move forward. From top to bottom, we have an excellent ticket ready to promote our shared conservative values and defeat the Democrats in November. To emerge victorious, we must continue to take principled stands, educate voters on issues, and provide action steps for the public; not for political expediency, but because it's the right thing to do. If we stay this course, I believe that the voters will ultimately respond and elect our excellent slate of candidates.

As a Party, there is much work to be done. We must register, train, and ultimately get voters to the polls. Right now, there are two ways you can help us achieve these goals:

1) Sign up to volunteer. There are a number of volunteer opportunities, so please fill out our online form.

2) Make an online donation to help with our Victory 2010 efforts.

Thank you for your commitment to the HCRP. I look forward to working with you towards victory in November.

Like my friend David, I'm not telling you that every candidate is 'excellent'. What I am telling you is that the time is now. It is critical for the Republican party in Harris County to win in November. Slowly the Democratic party has picked up ground in the county and this trend has to stop. In November, there will be no Obama tsunami to blame. If Republican victories do not happen, it is our own fault.

I, too, encourage you to get involved in individual campaigns. Donate to the party as a whole if you wish, but campaign involvement by individuals is crucial. All of the candidates running could use your help and would be grateful for it. Donate money to them, whatever you are able to, but it is also important to show up. Visit your candidate's campaign headquarters. Don't want to block walk or attend campaign events? That's ok. Go to their headquarters and volunteer to answer the phone or mail out flyers. Stuff envelopes, spread the word, encourage your friends and relatives to do the same.

It sounds hokey but it is absolutely true - one person can make a difference. To sit home and do nothing, to assume others are doing the work, is a mistake we cannot afford to make.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stirring the Pot at the Tea Party

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the first Tea Party protests. What an interesting year it has been. For those of us political wonks out here, this has been a stellar study in the American political system as it relates to the political discourse now in place.

What began as a rant on a financial news show on a cable news network suffering from low viewership soon morphed into a wildly popular Internet video. Millions of Americans who previously yawned and whose eyes glazed over at the mention of the word 'politics' became inspired. What had been a slowly simmering feeling of frustration and betrayal by ordinary citizens at the hands of their government was nicely packaged in that video. The cable news financial reporter guy was a hero.

With a newly elected, immensely popular president - certainly with the national media - the reporting of the new movement was slow, if not ignored. Only after a summer of boisterous town hall meetings did the story become so obvious did it become too much to ignore. So, what was the media response? The response was to begin the slandering of the movement. Just as those McCain voters were ridiculed by then candidate Obama as those who cling to their weapons and religion - which meant they were racist and ignorant, scared people - the Tea Party participants were described as right wing fringe, far right wing Nazi loving, racist, homophobic morons. In other words, small government conservatives.

From The Washington Times, an article on the media coverage of the movement over the span of the last year pulls together some conclusions.

With attendance increasing, not declining, and the numbers swelling to tens of thousands in some locations, the Tea Party is openly courted by the GOP and demanding respect from the Democrats. All but the far left side of the Democratic party now acknowledge the movement as a game changer in today's American politics. This fact was most recently brought home to waning skeptics as the senate seat held by Ted Kennedy for decades fell to a Republican.

The times, they are a-changin'.

While the national media has been only too happy to oblige Democrats and the members of this administration with reports of incidents with the fringe of the movement - a fringe that exists within both parties - and painting a picture of the movement as nothing more than angry white people. The favorite meme is that the Tea Party members are simply Obama haters. How simplistic and predictable.

It now becomes known that the Tea Party participants are found to be mostly Republican - 57% but 28% are self proclaimed Independents and 13% Democrats. Surprise! The latest Rasmussen and The Winston Group polls point to the obvious - at least to anyone who has looked at pictures or videos of Tea Party gatherings. There are those from all walks of life, all demographics, and it is multi-cultural. Despite what the hateful liberal blogs and the mainstream press would have you believe, this is America.

Now comes the influence of the venomous political atmosphere fed by left-leaning blogs. There is a web site devoted to encouraging people to disrupt Tea Party events with deliberate displays of the media meme. The plan is infiltration of events by non-supporters equipped with misspelled and hateful signage. Classy. is the web site. Why has this surfaced, at this time? After a year of enthusiastic Americans congregating together to protest the big government power grabs of this administration, the number of Americans identifying as supporters of the Tea Party is growing. From the most recent polls, just short of a full quarter of those polled - 24% - identify as members of the movement. That is up from the last major polling, which showed 16% as such. The Gallup poll states: Tea Party supporters skew right politically; but demographically, they are generally representative of the public at large. This particular poll found 28% of U.S. adults call themselves supporters of the movement.

Some professional white men allow themselves to be swept away with the hate. An upscale hotel manager from Manhattan used his personal twitter account to tweet his intention to go to the site of the Boston Tea Party rally today to disrupt the "retards", his word, in attendance. Not only is he hateful, he's a coward. Once the word got out on the Internet, he took his tweet down, then closed the account.

After the tactic of ignore them and they'll go away didn't work for Democrats in Congress, yesterday an account of an interview with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer verified the obvious - members of Congress are retiring in a larger number than expected. They see the writing on the wall. This is a very bad year to be running as an incumbent in either party. Business as usual is over. The people have had enough. "Do I think the negative atmosphere that has been created by the Tea Party and by others certainly goes into the thinking of members? I think it does. I think you have to honestly point out that it does," he told reporters Tuesday. That from yesterday. Hoyer also admitted that the recent retirement announcement from Rep Bart Stupak was fueled by negative numbers from those disappointed in him within the movement and also from liberal groups. Stupak sold his soul for nothing and his voters were not going to stand for it.

Interesting times for political junkies.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Russian Boy Adopted by American Returned to Moscow

Last September Torry Hansen, a single mom, and her mother, Nancy Hansen, flew to Russia to bring her newly adopted son back home to Tennessee. This was just one of the estimated 1,600 adoptions last year from Russia.

Artyom Savelyev, from the town of Partizansk in the far eastern part of Russia, is seven years old. His adoption was arranged with the Russian government by World Association for Children and Parents - an agency in Renton, Washington. Now that agency has a suspended license as the Tennessee authorities investigate the Hansen women.

Last week, grandmother Nancy Hensen flew with the boy back to Washington to put him on a jet to Moscow. Alone. She claims the child was looked after by a stewardess on the jet. She says the mother arranged to pay someone $200.00 to pick up the child at the Moscow airport and deliver him to the Russian education and Science Ministry. The child carried a letter from the adoptive mother, Torry Hansen.

Excerpted from the mother's letter:
"This child is mentally unstable. He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues," the letter said. "I was lied to and misled by the Russian Orphanage workers and director regarding his mental stability and other issues. ...

"After giving my best to this child, I am sorry to say that for the safety of my family, friends, and myself, I no longer wish to parent this child."

As recently as January, a social worker visited the family and reported no problems. Now this action has created an international incident. Instead of arranging placement into another home through another adoption agency here in this country or a social network agency - like a religious outreach program, this mother and grandmother sent a seven year old boy back to Russia. Alone.

The mother says now that she was lied to by the Russian agency. She says the child's emotional health is not what they claimed it to be. This still begs the question - if the mother and grandmother could not handle this child, why didn't they seek help? Why didn't they relinquish the child to someone who would take care of him until another permanent placement happened?

The U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle, said he was "deeply shocked by the news" and "very angry that any family would act so callously toward a child that they had legally adopted." That is from the Fox News report.

From a report at, the Russian Foreign Minister weighs in:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the actions by the grandmother, Nancy Hansen of Shelbyville, "the last straw" in a string of U.S. adoptions gone wrong, including three in which Russian children had died in the United States. The cases have prompted outrage in Russia, where foreign adoption failures are reported with gusto.

According to,Russia is the third most utilized country in the foreign adoption world for American parents. Number one is China, then Guatemala before Russia. Russian adoption was opened to Americans in 1990. Since then, it is estimated that tens of thousands of adoptions have occurred from Russia. Last year, 1,600 were adopted by Americans.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Holocaust Remembrance Day

RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s Statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day

“Today, as we honor Holocaust Remembrance Day, also known as Yom Hashoah, we declare never again will we remain silent in the face of systematic persecution and genocide. We remember the murder of six million innocent Jewish men, women, and children during the reign of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime, along with many others who were targeted for racial, ethnic, religious, and other reasons. Though many years have passed since that horrific moment in history, the United States remains committed to offering a safe haven to those who seek protection from religious and other persecution wherever it may be found. It is vital that we continue to pay our respects to those who lost their lives by keeping them and their families in our prayers, while also teaching future generations about the importance of ending this type of prejudice that still plagues many areas of the world. This year, as we commemorate the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps, we also thank the liberators -- the men and women in uniform who, then as now, fight to secure freedom around the world. America continues to be a shining city upon a hill for all and we reaffirm our commitment to peace and freedom from persecution for all.”

Newt Gingrich Speaks at SRLC

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Rolling Tea Party in Houston-April 11, 2010

Here's a clever way to get involved in the political discourse of the Houston area from the Ft Bend Tea Party leadership:


A great way to advertise for the Greater Houston Tax Day Tea Party April 15 at Discovery Green is to JOIN US Sunday, April 11, at 1:00 p.m. for the ROLLING TEA PARTY! This is the least expensive way there is to get the word out and it would truly be awesome to have a 50 car caravan driving through Houston getting the word out.

First, you decorate your car with "Greater Houston Tax Day Tea Party," "April 15," and "" and you fly your "Don't Tread on Me" flag and join the caravan as we travel around the city.

We will start the caravan in Sugar Land in the Office Depot parking lot behind Chili's at US 59 and Williams Trace and then drive the route below picking up other cars along the way. We will wind up back in Sugar Land just in time to head to the Fundraiser at the Swinging Door (hope you join us there as well!). I will have a list of media contacts to distribute Sunday so that we can call and let them know to check us out along the route. I will also be sending a press release to let them know where we will be so please come out! We know we are asking a lot of you but, honestly, our work has just begun! Full steam ahead!

Please RSVP to rsvpfbctp@gmail.comif you can make it!

Obama Criticizes Palin on Nuclear Treaty Knowledge

With all due respect, Mr. President, is it too much to ask that you act like the holder of the highest office in the free world? Is it too much to expect you to act, well, presidential? I know you are a man of little experience in leadership and that you are a rookie in national politics but, come on.

It is beneath the office of president to criticize a private citizen, by name, for that citizen's remark in opposition to your policy. Even if that private citizen is the former governor of Alaska and the second name on the team that ran against you for your current office. Let's face it - Sarah Palin has gotten under the very thin skin of ideologues on the left side of the political aisle and you don't seem to be able to restrain yourself.

Palin criticized your recently released policy on nuclear weapons. She didn't approve of the START treaty recently signed with Russia. She expressed doubts about the trustworthiness of Russia, who has a history of going back on agreements with the U.S. For that, you criticized her after being baited to do so by a network morning news/chat show. Here's a quote:

"Last I checked, Sarah Palin's not much of an expert on nuclear issues," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Read more:

Shame on you. In response, Palin used her speech at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans today to say you aren't much on experience, either. Tit for tat. How juvenile you have allowed and encouraged the public discourse to become.

Shame on you. The mother gene in me continues to keep that phrase active in my brain as I read or hear about such incidents brought about by your thin skin towards criticism. You are the President of the United States. You won.

Grow up, sir. Lead by example. Do not criticize down. And, do not succumb to your temptations to criticize private citizens, by name, even if one is Sarah Palin.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Fill Out Your Census Form And Return It

Article 1 in the Constitution calls for the census. You are required by federal law to fill out the census form. Texas may pick up four new seats in Congress. What is going on here?

It is beyond stupid to refuse to fill out the census form. The purpose is to decipher the population and proportion congressional districts. Yes, large amounts of money are trifled away in the implementation of taking the census but that can not stop people in this country from filling out the form. states:

Since the first census in 1790, data have been collected from each household using a "schedule" or "questionnaire." Between 1790 and 1820, the U.S. Marshals conducting the census were responsible for supplying paper, ruling each sheet, and writing in headings related to the inquiries asked (i.e., name, age, sex, race, etc.). In 1830, Congress authorized the printing of uniform schedules for use throughout the United States.

In 1940, the census included separate questionnaires to enumerate the population and collect data on the nation's housing. The 1960 and later questionnaires combined population and housing inquiries into a single questionnaire mailed to each household or completed during an enumerator's visit.

In 1990 and 2000, the Census Bureau used two questionnaires. The majority of households received a short-form questionnaire asking a minimum number of questions. A representative sample of households received a long-form questionnaire. In addition to all of the questions found on the short-form, the long-form questionnaire included additional inquiries about the household's personal and housing characteristics.

Today it is in vogue to rail against the intrusion of the federal government into our lives. Fair enough. However, common sense must prevail. Do not listen to any politician insincere enough to encourage any constituent to not fill out the census form. Do not listen to any loud mouth talking head bloviate about personal privacy. Most people will receive the short form - it simply asks the number of people in your household, if you own or rent the residence, and the ages and gender of the residents. Hardly earth shattering information.

If anyone claiming to be a conservative suggests non-participation, let that person know that conservatives believe in responsible government. Responsible government involves fair representation of its citizens. The census data influences congressional districts, federal buildings, libraries, jails, and any number of services. Why deny your district its fair share? Why give another district your tax dollars?

Think for yourself. It is your civic duty to fill out a census form and return it. If you have not done so, do it today. It is the responsible thing to do.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Professor Goodwin Liu Nominated To 9th Circuit

On April 16, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin the confirmation process of President Obama's nominee for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. This court's jurisdiction includes the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Hawaii, and Montana. It is easily considered the most liberal of courts.

It is, therefore, no surprise that a far left liberal has been brought forth to preside over the circuit. It is also no surprise that President Obama is bringing forth another diverse selection. If confirmed, the nominee is said to be on the fast track for a Supreme Court nomination. Goodwin Liu would be the first Asian Supreme Court justice. To prove that the Obama nomination is mostly a nod to a minority community, Liu has no judicial experience. He is seen by both sides of the political aisle as a far left ideologue. That is a-ok with the left but not so much with the right.

This is a test for the White House - how far are they willing to go with this affirmative action nomination in a mid-term election year? No question that Liu is a smart guy. He is a law professor at Berkeley. He is a Yale law school graduate and a Rhodes scholar. His narrative as the son of Taiwanese immigrant parents is interesting. But, most important, he would be the first Asian American on the Supreme Court, if that is pursued. Remember the constant narrative of Sonia Sotomayor's life story?

A troubling past has surfaced to concern Republicans. Liu just happened to omit 117 items from his original submission of the Judicial Committee's questionnaires. These omissions just happened to include past statements involving reparations for slavery and his criticisms of the nominations of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Just happened. This dump of documents on Tuesday provoked the Republicans on the senate committee to ask for a delay in the hearing so that the papers can be scrutinized. No deal, said Chairman Leahy.

Does anyone else think it corrupt that Senator Patrick Leahy is the chairman of the Senate Judicial Committee though he was kicked off the Intelligence Committee for leaking classified national security information to the press a few years ago? It's odd enough that he would be on this committee in the first place, much less given the chairmanship.

The Republican senators claim the omissions "create the impression that he knowingly attempted to hide his most controversial work from the committee", they wrote in a letter to Leahy. His hearing was postponed once and Leahy says no more postponements. The April 16 hearing will go forward.

Liu is young. He is 39 years old. He published criticisms of Roberts and Alito at the time of their nominations. From the Politico piece, Liu wrote, "There's no doubt Roberts has a brilliant legal mind. But a Supreme Court nominee must be evaluated on more than legal intellect." On Alito's nomination, Liu wrote that Alito's decisions on death penalty cases showed "a uniform pattern of excusing errors and eroding norms of basic fairness." Liu's lack of judicial experience - and judicial temperament - is clear.

A prominent Republican lawyer was quoted, " That does not reflect well on his integrity and the quality of his mind. If he's going to come to the game and play dirty like that, don't expect to prance your way to a confirmation."

Are we to believe that Liu just happened to forget these documents, or are they so controversial that he purposely withheld them? The White House is responsible for properly vetting each of their Judicial and Executive branch nominees. And this isn’t the first time a White House nominee has omitted crucial information from the Senate Judiciary Committee: Sonia Sotomayor withheld hundreds of boxes of documents, and Eric Holder only recently turned over amicus briefs that were highly material to his nomination. So why does Leahy consider 117 documents so trifling as to press on with a hearing? That from the Republican National Committee.

The recent history of filibusters by Democrats in the Senate of Bush judicial nominees is still fresh in the minds of Republicans. The fight between the parties will continue. Both sides are gearing up and digging in. From Politico: "Liu himself has said liberal groups should hold Barack Obama's "feet to the fire" to press for young, progressive judicial nominees." With this opinion in the public, it is imperative for Republicans to hold the White House's feet to the fire on vetting nominees. If they were supporting a move to the far left with this candidate, they should own up to it. Is this a peace gesture to the far left Obama supporters angry that the Sotomayor nomination brought a 'moderate' liberal to the bench?

Would Liu ever have been forthcoming with the omitted materials if committee staff had not found numerous omissions in his packet originally presented? Is his character in question? These are legitimate concerns.

It is not a surprise that a far left liberal president would want a far left liberal justice on the Supreme Court, especially if the nominee is to replace the next expected retiree - Justice John Paul Stevens. With the passage of the government takeover of our health care delivery system, this White House has signaled a renewed vigor in pursuing a far left agenda. It is who they are, those in leadership positions. It is also not a surprise that the Republican opposition to the far left agenda is forthcoming. What did they expect, these Democrats voicing displeasure? For eight years under the last Republican president, the last two years of his term with Democratically controlled House and Senate, the nation was subjected to unbelievably vile and strident rhetoric against anything perceived as conservative. In California, forty-two district attorneys have written a letter of opposition to his nomination.

Democrats now reap what has been sown.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Supporting GOP Chairman Michael Steele

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is in hot water, again. He is taking flack from both sides of the political aisle over today's interview on a morning chat news show. He was on the morning chat news show to talk about recent criticisms over some money authorizations presented by staff in the party.

This guy can't win.

He's damned if he does, he's damned if he doesn't. From the beginning of his term, there as been a small segment of loud and arrogant critics that feel free to condemn every moves he makes. This small arrogant and loud contingency likes to think they are the final word on what it means to be a Republican but they don't really bother to call themselves Republicans. They prefer the label of Conservative. That's fine. But, if you aren't calling yourself a Republican, do you have the right to criticize? Sure you do. This is America. You have freedom of speech. For now, anyway. But, is your criticism any more weighty than that of a Democrat? No. You both are pushing agendas.

The members of the press are only too happy to oblige with stories of discontent within the GOP over Chairman Steele. They are the most stalwart of Obama cheerleaders and they are the keepers of the stereotypes.

Here's what I think - I think Michael Steele could use a little support. Many are simply jealous of his time in the media. Many don't approve of his unfiltered speaking style. Fine. Steele could be a bit more tempered in his remarks. But, I like a person strong enough to speak up. I am tired of wallflowers at the top of the national party unwilling to go on the record. I like a person willing to take a chance. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. That's life.

Yes, it is appropriate to criticize expenditures from Steele's office that you think are extravagant or inappropriate. That is, if you are a contributor in the first place. Those most proud of their opposition to the national GOP right now are those who have bragged for several years that they no longer contribute to the party. That's fine, too. I strongly believe in voting with your wallet. I'm a fiscal conservative.

Today, Steele spoke of his race. As a black man in a powerful position, he brought in the president, too. He said he has a "slimmer margin of error because of their race", as referenced in the article on ABC The question wording of "slimmer margin" came from the interviewer, I might add, not from Steele. It was not as wannabe Chairman Ken Blackwell, also a black conservative, said that Steele was falling back on the race card. How ridiculous.

This is the article from ABC News: http//

Here is the remembrence of April 4, 1968 written by GOP Chairman Michael Steele:

Naturally, the Democrats were aghast at Steele having the nerve to point out the obvious - that he and POTUS are both black men and that minorities have a slimmer margin of error in the workforce. As a woman, I know exactly what he means. Women deal with the same thing. The point is, if you are not a white male then there are obstacles. It's the truth.

Here's a quote from Thomas Sowell, a black conservative writer: "When you want to help people you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear." Makes sense, doesn't it? Think of the current president and how he campaigned like any ole moderate. He got the votes. Then he tossed the ball to the far left in Congress and America is angry about being taken for a ride.

Steele is out there and he's passionate about GOP politics. He wants to win. He's just a guy. But, he's our guy. He brings the Democrats to hysterics because he's not an old white guy. And, Steele is not afraid to talk about the realities of race in America. I want to encourage that. I don't want to stifle Steele - I want to encourage him to ratchet back a smidge and soldier on.

The top task of the party chairman is to raise money. Steele has done an admirable job of that. Some months he has outraised the Democrats. In a political climate that is not to the GOP due to a far left ideologue in the White House, Chicago politics and recent GOP governance by some, Steele's record is praise worthy.

I would ask that we remember the political enemy. It is not fellow GOPers. It is the Democrats. I would ask that we pull together and win in November. This is an important election. Steele has seen the election of Republicans in Governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia. A Republican Senator now represents Massachusetts. Tea Party activists have had wins but it is not without the support of the GOP. To think it is their sole dedication is a mistake many make within the Tea Party movement. It is a movement, after all, not a political party. There is a difference.

And, yes, Tea Party activists are voting for Republican candidates. The GOP is most in line with conservatives of all stripes. Let the Democrats criticize. It's what they do. They think they have a hold on all people of color and all minorities. That is finally changing. We are the party of Lincoln and of Martin Luther King, Jr. Let us continue to lift up and encourage. All of us.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter

I am passing along a message from an e-mail I received from my friend, Martha. I hope it brings a smile to your face today.

All I need to know I learned from the Easter Bunny!

Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.

There's no such thing as too much candy

All work and no play can make you a basket case.

A cute tail attracts a lot of attention.

Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.

Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.

Some body parts should be floppy.

Keep your paws off of other people's jelly beans.

Good things come in small, sugar coated packages.

The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.

To show your true colors, you have to come out of the shell.

The best things in life are still sweet and gooey.

May the joy of the season fill your heart.


Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

"It's Only Been A Week" - Obama Proclaims

In Politico, Carol Lee writes a report on the Portland, Maine health care reform legislation rally, starring President Barack Obama. After reading the speech summary, one is left wondering, Is President Obama intellectually immature or is he just a school yard bully?

How does one explain the leader of the free world bopping up to Maine - I've been to Portland and it is a nice place - for a campaign style hopey changey rally? The two senators from the state, Senator Susan Collins and Senator Olympia Snowe, declined an invitation to appear with the president. Both are Republicans and both voted against the legislation. Both are frequent targets of far right Republicans because of their ability to work with the other side of the Senate aisle when it is feasible.

So, with the music soundtrack from his 2008 presidential campaign painting the scene, the president takes the stage to speak before a crowd of supporters. Do you find it odd that he has to now campaign for this sweeping legislation after campaigning for the reform over the course of the past year? It proves that the public is only now learning, drip by drip, the actual substance. The president himself was shown to be in the dark as he answered questions just before the bill was signed into law. The Constitutional lawyer in chief doesn't know exactly what he has done to the nation by high jacking 1/6 of the national economy and putting our nation's health care delivery system into the hands of Washington bureaucrats.

The president, who was fond of belaboring the point that our health care delivery system was in urgent need of reform, that we could not wait another week, or month, much less another year, to get it right - to make it true reform in a bipartisan way - now says "It's only been a week" in response to the negative poll results. He wants the public to think, once the legislation is fully implemented, the national opinion will change. Hopey, changey.

The problem is, the legislation does not go completely into action until 2014, 2015, and 2016. How convenient. If Obama doesn't win re-election in 2012, he kicks the can down the road for his successor. One of the favored talking points of the benefits of this mess of a bill was the immediate coverage of children with pre-existing conditions. Turns out, the Democratic leadership botched that. Now they are feverishly trying to use a mulligan on that one.

"It's been a week, folks. So before we find out if people like health care reform, we should wait to see what happens when we actually put it into place." What, that doesn't make you feel any better?

He uses his bully pulpit to be an actual bully, Chicago style. It is difficult to remember a past president who was so condescending and aggressively taunting to the opposite party as this one. He mocks Republicans, then praises them as the situation calls for. Whichever makes his argument better. He claimed some of the GOP ideas were in legislation. Now he mocks them for not voting for it. He doesn't, however, mock the thirty plus Democrats who didn't vote for it. He is silent about that.

This is the first major piece of social legislation ever passed with no support from the minority party. Ever. This is the first major piece of social legislation ever passed with bipartisan opposition.

During the campaign rally in Portland, Obama invoked the name of Minority Leader Boehner, mocking his description of the bill as "Armageddon". The audience booed, so Obama pretended to disapprove of that reaction. "No need to - we don't - we don't need to boo". Yeah, right. That was the purpose of the statement. He also brought up the fact that the student loan delivery system is now under federal control as it was tacked onto the health care reform legislation. Another federal power grab.

President Obama enjoys a unique moment in time. He is reigning with his party in the majority in the House and in the Senate. It is a large majority so the world is his oyster, in Washington, D.C. He knows that if his pet projects are not accomplished before the November 2010 mid-term elections, there is a distinct possibility that his agenda will be stopped. In order to get fence-sitters off their inclination to vote 'no' on the health care reform legislation, he directly appealed to them by stating, correctly, that is agenda would be dead if it was not passed. His presidency was floundering, to put it kindly, and a failed vote would have been the end of his big plans to 'transform' our nation.

The legislation passed and the celebration began - within the Democratic party and the far left ideologues. The majority of the country, however, is far from doing a victory lap. The majority of the country is telling pollsters that this is taking our country further in the wrong direction. This is why the president is still doing campaign rallies, to try to ratchet up support.

This president is a bully. Instead of leading with grace he chooses to mock and scold his opposition. Leaders lead by example. This president is not a leader. This administration is chock full of appointees who have never worked in the private sector. They have never met a payroll, created a business, worried about paying the bills. This administration is filled with far left ideologues, with a penchant for the collegiate world. This president is a politician who is skilled in knowing the right time to pursue an opportunity for advancement, which explains who he ascended to the presidency with so little experience himself. This is not a real world kind of guy.

We deserve better. We need a leader, not a far left ideologue, in charge.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Thank You, Senator Hutchison

From Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, on her decision to serve out her term in the U.S. Senate:

An Open Letter to the People of Texas:

Thank you for the great privilege and responsibility of representing you in the United States Senate. Immediately after the conclusion of the primary election for Texas Governor, I returned to Washington and resumed my obligations to Texas as its Senior Senator. Recent weeks have been dramatic as I have worked tirelessly with the majority of our Texas congressional delegation to try to stop costly and cumbersome health care legislation that I am convinced is the wrong prescription for our state and nation. While President Obama, Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi used strong arm tactics to push their legislation through, this fight is far from over.

Americans will begin experiencing the true costs of this legislation in the months and years ahead. Along with higher taxes, I am convinced we will see higher premiums for health insurance coverage, significant cuts in Medicare, and greater pressure on state budgets like ours in Texas. Republicans are committed to reforms that will improve health care without massive government intrusion in the private market. We will continue to work through the November elections and beyond to repeal and replace this legislation with true reform that will expand access while reducing costs and minimizing government intervention in health care.

For family reasons, I had planned to begin making a transition home to Texas this spring. Yet, it is clear to me that the stakes in our nation’s capitol have never been higher. President Obama’s victory on health care legislation has emboldened those who want an even bigger and more intrusive federal government. The very future of our country is at risk as we face unsustainable levels of national debt. The ongoing debate over health care, along with proposed cap and trade legislation that would devastate our Texas economy, promises to get even more intense in the months ahead.

Since the primary in March, I’ve heard from constituents and colleagues urging me to stay in the Senate for my full term, which ends in 2012. They argue that my seniority and experience will be critical for Texas. I’ve worked closely with members of Congress from Texas, and seen firsthand how hard they are fighting to represent our state and our conservative principles. I recently received a letter from every Republican member of Congress from Texas, urging: “we hope you realize how necessary your continued service in the U.S. Senate is, for Texas and for our country. Quite simply, there is no person more capable, more committed and more caring to stand up with John Cornyn and fight Texas’s fights in the U.S. Senate. We, as Republican members of the Texas delegation to Congress, pledge to you that, if you will stay and fight, we will fight alongside you.”

On a personal level, this has been a most difficult decision, but after much deliberation, I have decided to complete the term to which you elected me. I will work alongside our great Texas congressional delegation to repeal and replace President Obama’s health reform, to stop cap and trade legislation and to cut the deficit the President is building that puts our economy in peril. I will continue to use my experience to try to stop this unprecedented expansion of our federal government and its intrusion in our private lives and in the private sector.

Throughout my years of public service, I’ve tried to do what is best for Texas. And what is happening in Washington today is not good for Texas.