Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ding Dong, Saddam is Dead

Good riddance to bad trash. A snippet of a report from Fox News sums it up nicely:

... " 'Our respect for human rights requires us to execute him, and there will be no review or delay in carrying out the sentence,' al-Maliki's office quoted him as saying during a meeting with relatives before the hanging." ...

Amen to that. Iraqis were mixed in their reactions to the death of Hussein. Even given the mixed reaction in Iraq, I would be willing to bet the people who survived his massacres were happy to see him hanged.

American TV channels are probably still debating on whether to show the hanging, all this while they apparently never bothered to show the heinous crimes committed by the tyrant either. I think many of us right here in the States would have no problem with the death of this dictator being televised. Most of us are already burning up Google searching for a video of the hanging. It's not like we didn't know what he was; many of us are happy to see justice served.

Godspeed, Iraq. Job well done.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Reform from a Non-career Politician? You Betcha!

Reform is a scary word to some politicians and when you precede that scary word with either of two others -- tax or education -- it frightens the bejeezus out of every career politician! Career politicians are simply not known for their reform efforts. The status quo is working just fine for them so why rock the boat, right?

Here's food for thought from none other than James Carville (shockingly enough): "Those who can't, meet. Those who can, do."

A very appropriate statement as it paints a picture of the meetings and press releases of career politicians who want to appear to care about reform but do little more than meet about it. I truly believe it will take a non-career politician who can to shake up the status quo in this state and finally DO.

With the primary race for Governor of Kentucky building steam in the coming new year, it seemed appropriate to ask about reform from the only non-career politician in the race. In search of answers, I talked again with Stan Pulliam, Campaign Manager for Billy Harper for Governor.

I'll give you two quotes from Stan that come very, very close to my idea of the perfect reformer for Kentucky:

"There has been a lot of speculation about where Billy Harper stands on school choice. I'm telling you now, exclusively, that Billy Harper supports school choice."

and

"Trading one tax for another is not tax reform. Billy Harper has pledged
that he will never support a tax increase."

Unfortunately, school choice is currently unconstitutional in the state of Kentucky. Without bold legislative moves from that fractious bunch in Frankfort, we may simply be stuck working within the existing structure to improve education; however, with Billy Harper's help, we might just be able to do that.

It seemed a bold move on the part of Harper's campaign to advertise so early and even more so to lead with an issue-oriented ad on education reform. After reading "The Harper Report" online, I can see why the campaign launched the way it did. No matter how you slice it, education reform is a key to improving the quality of life and that benefits us all, no matter what your politicial affiliation.

I like what I read in the report. These are good, common sense ideas that I can get behind. I wondered though how the state of Kentucky would finance all these great reforms without raising taxes? As most Conservatives know, it's actually pretty simple: cutting tax burdens and attracting new businesses will increase state revenues. Those increased revenues could then be channeled into education reform.

The quality of education in Kentucky is a social issue that must be addressed. Overall, this state tends to end up ranked in the lower half of just about every study concerning the academic achievement and quality of education. This impacts every one of us regardless of party affiliation. Let's face it, to make our state great, we must increase state revenues which means attracting new businesses. What is attactive to any new business looking for a place to locate operations? One important criterion is the quality of the potential workforce in an area. A well-educated populace is very attractive in this regard.

Saying, "Hey, at least we're better than Arkansas!" each time the education rankings are published is no longer good enough. We will never reach the quality of education that we hope for by allowing the status quo to continue in this state. By raising the quality of education in our state, we can improve the overall quality of life in this state. With an improved quality of life, we all win: our children, our college students, our young and upwardly-mobile workforce, our disadvantaged trying to improve their future, and our elderly all benefit regardless of their political party affiliations!

If Billy Harper garners the Republican nomination to compete in the race for governor, he could be the unifying factor that allows us to make education reform and improved quality of life a reality for all Kentuckians.

We in the state of Kentucky have been held back by the status quo and career politicians for far too long. I'd be willing to bet that you won't see a single career politician in Frankfort who hides behind the appearance of reform endorsing Harper. Billy Harper will only be endorsed by career politicians in Frankfort who actually DO want reform for this state and its people.

Nickolas's Bias Exposed

An interesting email hit my Inbox this morning from a fellow Conservative that really must be shared!

Apparently, there has been some unrest among Democrats who read the Bluegrass Report blog that Nickolas owns and operates. Given, Nickolas's infamous proclivity for bashing fellow Dems on occasion, it wasn't too surprising to find him promoting the primary campaign of Kentucky State Treasurer, Jonathan Miller, by bashing Democrat Kentucky State Senator Daniel Mongiardo. Mongiardo is the running mate of Democrat Steve Beshear -- who was Lt. Governor under Martha Layne Collins years ago -- who is also seeking the Dem nomination in the primary election leading up to the race for Governor of Kentucky next year.

(You may recall that Mongiardo was defeated by Republican Jim Bunning in the 2004 race for Kentucky's US Senate seat in 2004 after launching some pretty heinous attacks on Senator Bunning in 2004. Talk about a nasty campaign.)

Many of Nickolas's fellow Democrats were a bit puzzled by and somewhat miffed to find that he'd already chosen to support Miller in the primary and was bashing another Democrat that, some of Bluegrass Report readers felt, was a better candidate. And, here's where it gets interesting: A Democrat blog called "The Rural Democrat" has written an investigative piece exposing Nickolas's bias against Mongiardo:
"Mark Nickolas the owner/operator of the Bluegrass Report political blog and the man behind two failed Governor [sic] Campaigns opened himself up to scrutiny when his bias toward LT Governor candidate Daniel Mongiardo became evident during the past few months. The key to the lock box is McCormick Consulting a Democratic fund raising and public relations firm."

If there's anything I enjoy more, I can't imagine what it might be... I love to see Democrats who care about their party go in search of the hypocrites among them. In some ways, it's like watching some surreal video of a political pundit doing some crime scene investigation.

We in Kentucky are all too familiar with Nickolas, He is notorious for writing posts on that blog that are unsubstantiated claims and hit pieces. I think of it more as a gossip column than "an unfiltered and candid look at politics, politicians and the media in Kentucky" that it purports to be. At any rate, it's nice to see a Democrat -- obviously someone who values the truth -- exposing a fairly well-known hypocrite right here in Kentucky.

Nice work by William Hayes at The Rural Democrat. Your party should be proud of the work you do. Just as Conservatives dislike hypocrisy and corruption in the Republican party, it's nice to see someone on the other side of the fence weeding out the same in his own party.

By the way, folks, word to the wise: There is currently an appeal for donations underway at the Bluegrass Report blog. If you're a supporter of that blog, please do your homework before donating any money to anyone who claims to hold a non-profit tax status. The "Foundation for Kentucky's Future" is identified by the Secretary of State's office as a business -- their record of filing as a non-profit business entity can be found here. However, check with the IRS (1-877-829-5500) to ensure that the "Foundation for Kentucky's Future" is truly a non-profit; otherwise, your donations will not be tax-deductible. This claim to 501(c)4 status has been the subject of great controversy for quite a while now. It is my understanding that the IRS was alerted to the claim months ago and has been investigating.

(Thanks for the heads-up on "The Rural Democrat" post, Steve!)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

If you thought McCain-Feingold was scary...

...just wait for Pelosi's "lobbying reform!" This is bad news for the ability of citizens to pool their resources to make their voices heard throughout America and, more importantly, on the Hill. Should this "reform" become reality, we at the grassroots level will effectively have our little mouths duct-taped shut. From Mark Tapscott's article, "Pelosi preparing new shackles on free speech," on Examiner.com:
... "The key provision of the 2006 bill was its redefinition of grassroots lobbying to include small citizens groups whose messages about Congress and public policy issues are directed toward the general public, according to attorneys for the Free Speech Coalition.

All informational and educational materials produced by such groups would have to be registered and reported on a quarterly basis. Failure to report would result in severe civil penalties (likely followed soon by criminal penalties as well).

In addition, the 2006 bill created a new statutory category of First Amendment activity to be regulated by Congress. Known as “grassroots lobbying firms,” these groups would be required to register with Congress and be subject to penalties whenever they are paid $50,000 or more to communicate with the general public during any three-month period.

In other words, for the first time in American history, potentially millions of concerned citizens involved in grassroots lobbying and representing viewpoints from across the entire political spectrum would have to register with Congress in order to exercise their First Amendment rights." ...

Bloggers (whether Independent, Liberal, or Conservative), this could very well be applied to us. How many people read your blog every day, week, month, year? How many emails do you circulate among friends who then circulate it even further to their friends? The scoop in a nutshell comes from an email that hit my inbox today (I've added the links):

"Dear fellow conservative:

Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and liberal Washington insiders plan to silence the conservative movement under the guise of lobbying reform unless we act fast.

In her “First 100 Hours” as Speaker, Pelosi plans to rush legislation written by liberal special interest groups such as Public Interest, Common Cause and others who brought us the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, which regulates political contributions. The Pelosi/Reid plan would regulate speech to the general public. This is worse than McCain/Feingold!

The first or second conservative organization, group or individual to be fined or even subject to criminal penalties for failure to register or report will cause us to stop or at least pull our punches on what we say and do. This will effectively shut down the conservative movement, and the liberals know it.

The Pelosi/Reid plan is perhaps the most comprehensive regulation of political speech ever proposed, and would make small grassroots causes report quarterly to Congress the same as K Street lobbyists representing wealthy interests before Congress. Communications to as few as 500 citizens would trigger reporting under lobbying laws.

The reporting requirements and more severe penalties being written in response to recent congressional corruption scandals would apply to those who have no Washington lobbyists, who make no political contributions, and who do not provide gifts, travel or anything of value to politicians.

This is intended to cripple the conservative movement, for which the grassroots are our valuable – sometimes our only – means of affecting public policy.

Reid says he plans to introduce in the Senate the same bill that was passed in 2006. Senators Joe Lieberman and Carl Levin, co-sponsors of the Senate version in 2006, told America not to worry because the bill is targeted at only “paid efforts” to inform and motivate citizens to contact Congress on policy matters. Their bill doesn’t define “paid” except by excluding communications to fewer than 500 citizens, with no other conditions or qualifiers.

That, of course, means that your emails, blogs, editorial ads in newspapers, direct mail and other forms of the new and alternative media, regardless of costs, could trigger reporting and potential penalty (civil and even criminal) provisions.

Besides adding new, unprecedented reporting to Congress, the Pelosi/Reid bills provide loopholes so large corporations, labor unions and even foreign interests could spend hundreds of millions of dollars communicating to shareholders, officers, employees and members, yet still not report those expenditures the same as even the smallest, most financially burdened conservative causes and even individuals.

Many small, start-up and under-funded conservative causes and individuals will not be able to afford costs of quarterly compliance, so will not be able to engage in their communication efforts, or will face stiff fines and potential criminal penalties simply by engaging in First Amendment rights.

Critics who can afford to report quarterly to Congress, often the deserved object of grassroots criticism, will be under the thumb of lawmakers. That, in First Amendment terminology, would “chill” First Amendment rights, resulting in censorship of political speech.

This is why Pelosi, Reid and liberal Washington insiders want to regulate grassroots speech.

I am starting a new effort called GrassrootsFreedom.com to help organize the conservative movement on this one issue, and stop Pelosi, Reid and their liberal friends from silencing us.

We must flood Congress with petitions, emails and phone calls. We must also generate OpEds against this bill. We need to call into talk radio shows.

Mark Tapscott wrote an excellent piece for The Washington Examiner and Amanda Carpenter also wrote a brilliant piece for Human Events." ...

"I also enclose a letter signed by 47 conservative and other leaders, such as Dave Keene, Paul Weyrich, Morton Blackwell and Don Wildmon to Public Citizen opposing this legislation." ...

Remember, during the Clinton presidency the liberals made an attempt to silence conservative talk radio. Conservatives labeled that the “Hush Rush” bill. And if Pelosi and friends are successful in silencing the grassroots conservatives, you can fully expect their next target to be to abolish or at least cripple talk radio with the Fairness Doctrine to silence conservative talk radio.

Well, one NewsMax.com piece discusses how this new bill could even regulate and impede conservative talk radio." ...

"We only have a few days to alert the entire conservative community. GrassrootsFreedom.com will be sending you more news, and will be helping lead the charge. Please get this information to your grassroots networks, and let’s stop Pelosi, Reid and the Washington Establishment from trying to silence us.

Sincerely,

Richard A. Viguerie

P.S. GrassrootsFreedom.com will have more information, petitions, etc. up soon, and I would appreciate hearing back from you particularly describing any action you take to help stop this assault on our freedoms and the conservative movement in particular."

I think many of us have known for a long time that without grassroots efforts, Conservatism would have been relegated to obscurity years ago as the mass media driven messages numb citizens into submission to Leftwing propaganda: "Big Government is your friend, citizen. We, the Government officials who know best, will take care of you. You need not be an individual and aspire to a better life for yourself and your family; we will provide what is required for you to live the meager life that will serve your needs."

This effort by Pelosi and Reid simply smacks of Orwellian double-speak: "We will protect you from those critical thinkers who confuse and mislead you. Those nasty 'lobbyists' will bother you no longer. We will ensure that the information you receive is fit for your consumption. Rest your little brain, citizen."

So apparently, under Democrat leadership, free speech will no longer be free. "Censorship" will be the word of the year in 2007 -- that is, if it is not removed from the online dictionaries and published reference material in the libraries by the Government to protect us from lobbyists. If that doesn't scare you, you're not paying attention, citizen.

Remembering President Ford

My prayers and condolences go out to the Ford family tonight for the loss of a great man. He was kind, gentle, and steady when this country needed it most. He was a humble and likable man, picked by the fickle hand of political fate for the highest office in the land, unelected to both the Vice-Presidency and the Presidency.

When I heard the news this morning that President Gerald R. Ford had passed away in the wee hours of this morning at age 93, it immediately crossed my mind that he had been one of the most respectable ex-presidents in modern American history. Yes, he was an adequate and calm presence in the White House, but the remarkable thing about President Ford was that he went quietly on with his life after office, never publicly offering unsolicited advice or "assistance" afterward. I only wish Jimmy Carter could have learned something from Gerald Ford in this respect. *sigh*

You can read all about President Ford's legacy and his time in office on websites all over the internet. I ran across this particular write-up by someone named "Noung" and found it to be quite thoughtful and accurate with regard to Ford's presidency. It certainly reflects what I recall of his contribution to American history.

For anyone like me, in their early 40s, I'll bet the recall of information on President Ford is a bit of a struggle. Most of us were barely in grade school when Spiro Agnew resigned as Vice-President and later when the Watergate scandal broke. I don't recall much about Agnew at all. What I recall of President Nixon were a few speeches, the Watergate hearings, and his resignation all broadcast on TV. Oddly enough though, my memories of Nixon had little to do with the man himself and everything to do with the skits and jokes they used to do on Laugh-In using a Nixon impersonator who would thrust both hands in a "peace sign" up high and say, "I am not a crook."

By the time Nixon resigned and Ford was sworn into office, I was reading a lot. Curiously, I was running across a lot of Hunter S. Thompson's stuff. Thompson hated Nixon and simply loved hating him in print; however, Thompson did occasionally write a bit about Ford too. Since Thompson had been a sports writer first and foremost, a good part of his pieces about Ford centered on football -- Ford had played football for the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. I ran across most of this later in life. I wish I still had a copy of "The Great Shark Hunt" which contains a bit of that football banter between Thompson and Ford. Thompson wrote more about Ford in "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72." Both books are required reading for literature/political junkies who enjoy reading the ramblings of Leftwing loose cannons.

Ford took a beating over his pardon of President Nixon. With hindsight being 20/20, it seems all too clear to me that what he did was political hari-kari for all the right reasons. He relieved this nation of years of litigation and mud-slinging so that we could simply begin the healing process. It was time to move on after a long string of government misdeeds and lossses; President Ford took the fall for it in the long run. I truly believe he put his political ambitions aside in favor of what was good and right for this country at the time.

I suppose the majority of my memories of President Ford are made up of pop culture references: the portrait Thompson painted of him in print, the televised skits on Saturday Night Live when Chevy Chase impersonated him as an accident-prone President (far from the truth for an athlete, I'm sure), and the incessant Betty Ford Center jokes. However, my memories of him will also include a man who quietly went back to a respectable and humble personal life. The one modern ex-president who understood that his time in the limelight was over and left leadership to a new generation.

I hope that, more than anything else, every American will remember President Ford best for his spirit, his quiet character, his belief in the good of every human being... most of the time:

“I have always believed that most people are mostly good, most of the time. I have never mistaken moderation for weakness, nor civility for surrender. As far as I'm concerned, there are no enemies in politics--just temporary opponents who might vote with you on the next Roll Call.” -- Remarks by Gerald R. Ford upon receiving the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, May 21, 2001 [Source]

May you rest in peace, President Ford. Thank you for your service to our country when we badly needed a gentle hand at the stern to find the goodness in ourselves as a nation again.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Way to Go, Santa!!

I just saw this today and, even though it's late, I absolutely HAD to post this one. Enjoy an "Osama Christmas!"

What part of AMERICAN do they not understand?

If a Martian lands on American soil, is he then automatically American and entitled to all the rights and liberties enjoyed by legal Americans citizens? I know that's a ridiculous question but this issue of extending American civil liberties to non-Americans has just reached ridiculous levels. From NewsMax today, comes this gem ("ACLU Sues Texas Town for Not Renting to Illegals") of real-life absurdity:

"Two civil rights groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging a suburb's new law that outlaws renting to illegal immigrants, alleging the ordinance violates federal law and forces landlords to act as immigration officers." ...
And, note the names of these "civil rights" groups (emphasis mine):
... "The American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund filed the suit on behalf of Farmers Branch residents and landlords." ...
Do the names of these organizations not explicitly identify that their purpose is to defend Americans? Whether Mexican-American, Irish-American, African-American, Polish-American, or whatever hyphenated-American with which one chooses to identify himself, one fact remains: Americans are people who, whether yesterday or centuries ago, were either (a) born in this country or (b) entered this country legally and swore allegiance to our country. It's really that simple. What part of "American" do these groups not understand?!


I often wonder why the ACLU and other organizations like it don't simply eliminate the "American" from their names and be done with it. Sheesh.

Illegal Immigration -- Educate Yourself

Christmas is over and a new year looms. Normally, I look forward to each new year with an optimism borne of the belief that all Americans truly want what is best for our country and will strive for it against all odds; however, that natural optimism is already dwindling...

With the shift in leadership coming with the 110th Congress, illegal immigration remains a problem and will very possibly be legislated unsatisfactorily for a lot of Americans. I had hoped the Republican leadership would do the right thing and push enforcement and reform, to put some teeth into solving the current problems we face. The fence seemed promising but now I'm hearing rumblings that that plan may bite the dust when Congress begins work next year.

For anyone who doesn't understand the urgency of this problem -- illegal aliens pouring over our borders, disappearing into an underground economy, clogging our social systems and our jails -- the Federal Immigration Reform and Enforcement (FIRE) Coalition has a 30-minute education available online for you.

I hope you'll take 30 minutes to read what FIRE has provided. They, along with other coalitions like NumbersUSA, are doing their best to educate those willing to spend some time truly understanding the issue. As always, the consequences of ignorance are steep. It behooves us all to understand the risks we take by simply allowing the status quo to stand.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

For everyone the world over, my best and warmest wishes to you for a wonderful Christmas!

Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Pagan, Agnostic, Atheist, some other religion, or simply a spiritual human being, this is a wonderful time to reflect on the bounty of the year passed, to enjoy the cleansing inherent in the winter season, and to begin visualizing a beautiful year ahead and the promise it holds for us all.

May we have peace on Earth one day soon so that we may be safely with our loved ones always. God bless and keep you all close -- especially our men and women in uniform and their families.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

e. coli Connection to Illegal Immigration?

Wow! I received this via email and found it online as well. There is no "Snopes.com" entry for it so it isn't an email-circulated hoax (yet). It rings a tad of "conspiracy nut" but it also makes a tad bit of sense if it's true.

So, while I can't vouch for the veracity of this information -- pardon the pun -- it is certainly food for thought. I am certainly in favor of immigration reform and enforcement so it caught my attention and I thought I'd share.

The E Coli Outbreaks Are Not Random And .........
The Government Knows This

In early spring of 2006 I found several postings on the net by illegal alien groups calling on all illegal alien food handlers/pickers/ and restaurant workers to give legal Americans food poisoning by using their own feces.

The posts I found stated that all the illegals should give Americans "Montezuma's Revenge" which is what Mexicans call severe diarrhea.

E Coli gives you severe diarrhea.

I REPORTED THIS DIRECTLY TO I.C.E.
(Immigration and customs enforcement) at 1-866-347-2423

I spoke with a live operator who took the report including the URL for each post I had found, several were located on the http://www.aztlan.net/ website.

THIS WAS REPORTED TO ICE BEFORE THE FIRST SPINACH E COLI OUTBREAK.

All the original posts are now gone, I assume the Gov. got them pulled, BUT THEY ARE DOING NOTHING ELSE ABOUT IT.

ALL THE E COLI OUTBREAKS HAVE BEEN A SPECIFIC STRAIN, CARRIED ONLY IN HUMAN FECES AND IN SOME ANIMALS FECES

You Connect The Dots .............

Maybe the Government thinks it will stop when the new Dem. Congress gives them all Amnesty and nobody will be the wiser.

WELL I KNOW, AND NOW YOU DO AS WELL.

WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE THE GOVERNMENT COULD CARE LESS ABOUT YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES SAFETY.

What?! A surveilliance program scarier than The Patriot Act?

If you are among those who fear possible surveillance allowed under The Patriot Act, then you need to be aware of a program that is even scarier! Jim Lynch of bRight & Early has the scoop.

(Thanks, Jim!)

Friday, December 22, 2006

"Dream Candidate"

As he sat in the Nashville airport waiting for his flight home to Oregon for the holidays and I sat in my car waiting to join my parents for a celebration lunch, Stan Pulliam and I chatted by cell phone.

Who is Stan Pulliam? He is the campaign manager for Billy Harper. As young as 13, Stan was reading about successful political campaigns during family vacations while the other kids where playing on the beach. I suppose he's been headed for a career in politics for quite some time. He says he enjoys getting to see a lot of this country and meet new people while doing what he loves. Native Oregonian and a solid Conservative, Stan is a political transplant to Kentucky. He's been here two weeks so far and seems to be enjoying it.

I'm sure Stan is a lot of things to a lot of people but, at this point in time, he is a man to be reckoned with here in Kentucky. He will be a very important person to Kentuckians who want to see Republicans retain the governorship. It's my opinion that those Kentuckians will be very glad he's here!

Recently, Stan was the campaign manager for Conrad Burns in Montana. You may recall that Burns lost to Jon Tester by a very narrow margin. One percentage point separated winner from loser in that race. So, I wondered if Stan would have done anything differently.

"A campaign manager's job is to put his candidate in the best possible position to win; after that, it's up to the candidate to push through to the finish line," Stan told me.

I didn't need any more explanation than that because, unfortunately, Burns made a number of gaffes during the summer that probably cost him that one percentage point. The campaign manager cannot be a ventriloquist; he simply hopes that he's backing the man who represents all the right things in word and deed that are important to his constituents. In this case, that simply didn't happen. Stan was very diplomatic about being put in a very tough position a number of times by his candidate. I admire that.

Stan sees the losses taken by the GOP this year as a good reminder to all Republicans: "Return to what you got you there in the first place," is his summation. I couldn't agree more. It seems to me that, when we buried Ronald Reagan in 2004, the Republican leadership in this country buried Reagan's principles. Republican leadership forgot what matters to American Conservatives; they forgot what put them in office.

Stan Pulliam's intelligence and enthusiasm come through the phone so vividly that it is immediately contagious. I was ready to jump out of the car and dance in the rain over the possibility that we may be able to put a Reagan Republican in the Governor's mansion next year. No kidding. It wasn't just Stan's enthusiasm either, folks, it was also the understanding I gained about the type of man Billy Harper is and what he brings to the table in his run for Governor.

Stan describes Billy Harper as a Reagan Republican. As a campaign manager, he even sees Billy Harper as a "dream candidate." Why? Well, because the man is, in word and deed, what many Conservatives admire and expect from a Republican. When Billy is in front of people, he is exactly who he is -- there's no pretense about what he believes and what he sees as good for this state and this country.

Stan describes Billy as "Reaganesque" in his attitude toward fiscal Conservatism and strength. Billy is a man who doesn't stomach pork and believes it needs to be cut from legislation. In a state that is always so far behind others in education and commerce, that's a relief to hear. We should eliminate pork from the menu and put those dollars back in the pockets of citizens or set a place at the table for real, meaningful improvements in this state, or both!

While I had Stan on the phone, I simply had to ask about the early run of TV ads. When I first saw Billy Harper campaigning for governor before the end of the mid-term elections, I was flabbergasted. Not only was he campaigning VERY early on but he was starting his run with an issue ad! That isn't the way a typical campaign is run.

I expected the answer to be that they were building name recognition for Harper. And to some degree, that was part of it; however, there was something more:

"Billy believes in taking the lead on issues. He wants to get things done. He's not one to wait for issues to come to him," Stan told me.

It does seem that the traditional politician waits for the issues to come to him. It's my opinion that true leadership demands that define the vision, set the course, and take the lead on bringing it all together successfully. I haven't seen much of that lately from Republicans on the Hill and from Republicans in Frankfort. It's refreshing to think that someone wants to break that mold.

It's easy to see that a man who is a leader in the private sector could bring the same leadership to politics. That seems like a no-brainer, right? If Billy Harper can effectively lead nine businesses, he should certainly be able to lead a state. However, Frankfort is run more like a barroom brawl these days and nothing at all like a successful business. So, the question in my mind is this: Can an avowed political neophyte lead this state toward positive change while dealing with the in-fighting that has become synonymous with Frankfort?

It is time that someone, whether Republican or Democrat, provide the leadership that will enable concrete steps to be taken toward improving the future of Kentucky. If Billy Harper can do that, then he's my dream candidate too!

History Lesson

If I weren't laughing right now, I'd be crying... Enjoy this little lesson in history.



(Thanks for the heads-up on this one, Mark!)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

JibJabbing 2006

I love this site! There are no sacred cows there; all things political are equally jibbed and jabbed at with sharp comedic wit. And so it is with a look back at 2006!

Samson Blinded

Too often, I read about what's happening in Israel and get the feeling that Israeli politicians are no different from ours here in the States. When they need to make bold moves, they back down from the heat and allow the status quo to stand... leaving a mess for the next generation.

I fear that the failure of Israel to remain a strong and vital democracy in the Middle East will mean a failure for all of us in the years to come. They face trials daily that we have never known here at home. Strong leadership there will be meaningful to us all.

With that in mind, I occasionally browse for websites and blogs that will provide insight into the mindset of people in the Middle East. I had yet to run across this particular blog so it was certainly interesting to find this note in my Inbox the other day:

... "I'd like to welcome you to look at Obadiah Shoher's blog. Obadiah - an anonymous Israeli politician - writes extremely controversial articles about Israel, the Middle East politics, and terrorism.

Shoher is equally critical of Jewish and Muslim myths, and advocates political rationalism instead of moralizing.

Google banned our site from the AdWords, Yahoo blocked most pages, and Amazon deleted all reviews of Obadiah's book, Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict. Nevertheless, 170,000 people from 78 countries read the book.

Various Internet providers ban us periodically, but you can look up the site on search engines. The mirror www.terrorism-in-israel.org/blog currently works." ...


Given the busy holiday season, I haven't had the time I would like to have to delve deeper just yet but, at first blush, the blog is an extremely different voice on the situation in the Middle East. It's almost refreshing to read strong words that are clearly labeled "Machiavellian" in nature. I hate to say it but it may just be time for Israel to put some of that philosophy into practice for their sake and that of other democracies who would like to see the Middle East conflict resolved in our favor.

(My thanks to Eugene Gershin for the information.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Changing the Future while Appreciating the Present

For those of you who may pay more attention to the mainstream media than to the online media, you may not be aware that Americans are doing more than intervening militarily to stop Islam-fascism. We are a charitable lot and nothing speaks more to that than our efforts to help the oppressed in other countries where Islam has taken a turn toward evil than the work of Spirit of America. The Spirit of America is doing great things for those people with money donated by people like you and me.

Here's an update on efforts in Iraq's Al Anbar province:

BILL ROGGIO EMBEDDED IN IRAQ - MSG FROM FALLUJAH
Bill Roggio is a journalist embedded with the Marines in Al Anbar, Iraq. He's been meeting with some of the Marines Spirit of America has helped. Bill's blog is here. Following is a message from Bill after his meeting with Marines Major Britt Rosenberry:

Since Fallujah was wrested from the control of al-Qaeda and the insurgency in November of 2004, the Coalition and Iraq government have worked to restore security and basic services the warn-torn city. Major Britt Rosenberry, stationed in Camp Fallujah, has 3-man teams who patrol with the Army and Marine Infantry throughout the entire Al Anbar Province. They interact with the citizens and concerned with their plight.

This generation of kids are the key to Iraq's future success. Al-Qaeda and the insurgency has been conducting a "Taliban-like campaign" to close down schools, keep children uneducated. They harass and intimidate principals (called headmasters) and teachers. This year, a headmaster was kidnapped in front of the students and later assassinated.

One of Major Rosenberry's highest priorities is the children. They are highly susceptible to insurgent propaganda, and ripe for recruitment by the insurgents. "Schools are easy targets," said Major Rosenberry. "The Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army patrol the city, but are not always providing overwatch to fixed locations." To counter the intimidation of al-Qaeda closing schools, they are secretly opened in homes. But this comes at a cost. Some children may travel up to two hours a day for two hours of instruction. And the provincial schools, whether they are established or clandestine, need supplies. School books, notebooks, pens pencils and other school items are in short supply.

To fill this need, Major Rosenberry asked for help from home. "Don't send the fat pill," the care package filled with candy, Major Rosenberry told friends and family back home. "Send us notebooks and pens."

Not only do the school supplies help the Iraq children, but they help to defeat al-Qaeda and insurgency. "When fighting an information war, it is important to back up words with actions," said Major Rosenberry. Providing the school supplies allows the Coalition and Iraqi security forces to live up to their commitment to keeps schools open. The mission also introduces the children to the Iraqi security forces and U.S. soldiers and Marines. "They get to see we are human. They laugh, we makes jokes. We take off the gear and by the time we leave we're exchanging hugs. When we return, they recognize us."

Read about (and see photos of) what Spirit of America is doing to assist our servicemembers and the people oppressed by Islamo-fascism here. They are truly what America is all about and are well worthy of any charitable giving you may be doing this holiday season.

While we can help the Spirit of America assist our military in changing the future of people oppressed, we can also appreciate the present. The gift given so freely by those in uniform should never go unappreciated. There is an old saying that we can give "time, talent, or treasure" to causes about which we care deeply. For those of us who are short on treasure this year, here is a great opportunity to support our troops during the holidays: Send a thank you card. "Let's Say Thanks" will send a free postcard from you to US military personnel stationed overseas showing your support and appreciation for their service to our country. It's another way you can support our servicemembers as they support you. It's free of charge and means so much.

Holidays and Those Who Serve

During this holiday season, I find myself thinking very often of the years when I was a Navy wife and my husband was overseas during the Christmas/New Year holiday season or when I was a child and my Dad was away during family celebrations. It was rough each and every time. It was always somewhat less than happy back then. It is in that spirit that I write tonight.

Remember them. While you celebrate your Christmas and New Year with friends and loved ones, remember those who serve and the families that will celebrate these holidays without their loved ones present. They serve so that you and I can celebrate the season in relative safety and freedom. Their families miss them as much as you or I miss loved ones who have passed away or those family members who live far away and cannot be home. Maybe even more so because military families in wartime never know for sure if they will see their loved one again. It's a tough life that servicemembers and their families live and few appreciate how hard it is for them. Remember them this holiday season.



God bless them all -- those who serve and those who wait here at home; they are all angels in their own way. We are truly blessed by them all.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Community-minded Candidate

I have worked on grassroots efforts in a number of local campaigns. I have never once seen a candidate take it upon him/herself to open the campaign office to help a charity.

I know very little about Billy Harper so far except what I've seen in his campaign commercials. I will be talking with his campaign manager next week to learn more. You bet you'll be reading all about that conversation on ConservaChick. My opinion so far, based almost solely on this seemingly simple act described in the following press release, says a lot about Billy Harper's character. He certainly seems to be very community-minded. I like what I see so far!
HARPER OPENS DOORS TO ASSIST LOCAL CHARITIES
Harper for Governor campaign [link added] accepts canned good and monetary donations for area charities

PADUCAH, KENTUCKY— Inspired by this morning’s Paducah Sun article by Leigh Landini Wright, Billy Harper, Kentucky businessman and gubernatorial candidate, eagerly opened his campaign for doors to accept canned goods and monetary donations to be delivered to area charities throughout the holiday season.

According to the article, Karen Mayer, the Executive Director of the Family Service Society, said applications for Christmas assistance are up by 100 this year. She said they are in desperate need of the toys and food, as they are about 250-300 toys short.

“I welcome fellow Kentuckians to join me in the spirit of giving to local families, charities and organizations in need. Hopefully, by having a drop-off location it will be easier for people to donate this holiday season,” said Harper.

Harper encourages those who can, to please bring or mail canned goods, toys and monetary donations to the Harper for Governor Campaign Headquarters, located at 960 N HC Mathis Drive, Paducah, throughout the holiday season, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Donations will be delivered to local Kentucky families, the Family Service Society and the Salvation Army.

Harper chaired Leadership Kentucky, an association of business leaders from across the state and has also served as chair of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. During that time, Harper was instrumental in the design of the Kentucky Education Reform Act, which helped dramatically improve Kentucky’s education system starting in the 1990’s.

More recently, Harper brought business people, teachers, and school administrators together from across the state to help write the Harper Report on education. The report made 52 recommendations to the state that would help improve education for all Kentucky students and today nearly half of those recommendations have been put into effect throughout the state.

Harper is a professional race car driver on the International Hot Rod Association and National Hot Rod Association circuits. He developed a “Race for Education” program designed to improve attendance among middle school children — and it has. Every participating middle school reports that the number of children in attendance per day has increased from five percent to 50 percent. He also uses his racecar as a teaching tool during engineering and career days at the Paducah campus.

Worthy of the Support of EVERY American!

Other than the clarity the FairTax plan shines on the manipulation of tax rates, I cannot think of any good reason that every American is not chomping at the bit to implement the FairTax. Some sources estimate that the FairTax would provide more federal tax revenue than our current income tax system. This higher tax revenue could be applied to getting the US out of debt, keeping Social Security afloat for eons, and helping the folks at poverty level build a better future for themselves and their families.

Why would it generate higher tax revenues? Well, it's simple: EVERY American who buys new goods outside of their allotted "prebate" will be paying into federal coffers. This includes Americans who do business in the underground cash economy (currently not taxed because it's not reported). Additionally, foreign visitors to our country -- some of whom get a better exchange rate on their currency against the dollar -- will be paying that same tax when they purchase new goods. Think of all the foreign tourists who come into Louisville for the Kentucky Derby each year, those who visit when the Olympics are held here, those who tour our major cities -- they would be paying into the future of our country with each purchase. And, make no mistake about it: this is no Value-Added Tax (VAT) like they have in Europe where visitors can reclaim the VAT portion of their expenditure after they leave the country. This is a federal sales tax on new goods purchased in the United States. Period.

Just those two new sources of tax revenue alone more than make up for the loss of taxing the income of every American who abides by the law and accurately reports their income (from all sources). It's a win-win for Americans and our government regardless of political party.

John DeJong of NotMeUSA provides a better example and some very practical reasons for supporting the FairTax plan regardless of your party affiliation.

Why our Political Leaders Should Embrace the FairTax Plan
by John DeJong of NotMeUSA.com

The Fair Tax Plan (HR.25/S.25) has been out for well over a year now and yet there are still many people who have never even heard of it. One would think that a plan as bold and beneficial as this would be sounded from one coast to the next. Yet that is not the case. As a point of fact there are many liberal political leaders who continually ridicule the FairTax Plan whenever it is mentioned. They’re acting under the misguided belief that this wonderful plan favors the “rich.” That is the farthest from the truth as one can come.

The sad fact is that if any of these doomsayers would take the time to actually read the entire plan then they would quickly recognize it for what it is—the greatest social welfare program of all time. This belief FairTax proponents share is held because HR.25/S.25 will do more for the “lower income” wage earners in the U.S.A. than any other liberal program(s) in existence today.

You see, all consumers will receive an annualized rebate (in 12 equal monthly installments) on necessary living expenditures up to the poverty level. The size of the monthly rebate will be determined by the government’s published poverty level for a particular household size, multiplied by the tax rate. What this means is that for each person the monthly rebate will be increased in order to pay for the entire household costs for the basic necessities of life. This monthly rebate is given to all citizens regardless of age, sex, race, or income level.

This is how the Fair Tax would have worked in the year 2000. An individual would have received 100% of their pay check. That is if they earned $250 per week they would have taken home $250 per week. Plus, the individual would also receive a monthly check of $160 each month to help pay for their basic necessities of life.

That’s a tax-free income and another $40 a week for your own benefit. The best part of all is what the Fair Tax Plan will do for families. Back in the year 2000 a family of four would have received an additional $431 rebate per month for their livelihood. That payment will happen each and every month until the children become adults. When one considers all of the added values with the FairTax in buying used items like cars and homes tax free; there is no better way of helping others to live the American dream.

Is that not what we all want in these United States? Is it not the entire Democratic doctrine to bring equality among the masses? So then why do your democratic leaders refuse to back HR-25/S-25 and all that it will do for America? These are the questions that you must demand of all of your representatives to answer — Democrats and Republicans alike.

The above are just a few of many more questions to be asked and I will address them all in following articles. Until then you can download and read the entire 40-page FairTax Plan brochure at the FairTax Volunteer website. While you’re there
you will also find tons of stuff and highly important political information on how we can all persuade our representatives into enacting the FairTax Plan. Of course you can also join the revolution while you are there.

The FairTax Blogburst is jointly produced by Terry of The Right Track Blog and Jonathan of Publius Rendezvous. If you would like to host the weekly postings on your blog, please e-mail Terry. You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Timing is Everything

Pajamas Media has posted a very interesting exclusive: "Iran Hunts U238 in Somalia" by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. The post includes a link to the text of the UN report on Somalia pursuant to Security Council resolution 1676 (2006).

An excerpt from this report makes it all too clear that our world is about to be in more serious danger thanks to Iran and yet another Islamo-fascist organization:

"The uranium prospecting that Iranians are undertaking in Somalia creates problems for U.S. efforts to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. It would provide them with a virtually untraceable source of uranium ore that could be made into weapons.

Al-Qaeda is also active in Somalia, the UN report confirms."

Interesting timing for this news given some of the recommendations from the Iraq Study Group, eh?

(Thanks for the heads-up, Daveed!)

"The Poisonous Report"

Tired of the constant yammering about the Iraq Study Group? Yeah, me too. The report they produced was to be expected; however, the damage it has already done will be far-reaching. No one has a better perspective on this damage than Arab reformists.

Thanks to the translation work of the Middle East Media Research Institute, we are privvy to what the study group recommendations actually mean to the movement for reform in the Middle East. Omar Salman who edits the Arabic reformist website "Aafaq" (Arabic for "horizon"), has written an editorial titled "The Poisonous Report" (the link is to MEMRI's translation). The title speaks for itself.

[...] "What the authors of the report did not know, or may have neglected, is the fact that the moment they started talking about the U.S.'s need for Iranian assistance in containing the Iraqi situation, they in fact handcuffed the Bush administration, depriving it of any cards to pressure Iran, now and in the future." [...]

His editorial is an absolute MUST-read. Don't stop at this editorial either; read this editor's other MEMRI-translated pieces. Links to those are provided in the footnotes of the editorial translation. All are very thought-provoking pieces for those of us who earnestly want to understand the mindset of Arab reformists. His insights are invaluable and it's my sincerest hope that his opinions are known to the Bush administration and are weighed just as heavily as those of the study group.

The curious among you may want to know more about Omar Salman. From the American Enterprise Institute's bio of him:

"Omran Salman currently directs the Arab Reformists Project, ‘Aafaq' (Arabic for 'horizons'). Originally from Bahrain, he served as a senior editor of the Iraq Democracy Paper in conjunction with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies from 2004 to 2005. During this period, he also worked as journalist for Voice of America, where he broadcasted internationally in Arabic. From 2000 to 2003, Mr. Salman was a managing editor assistant for al-Jazeera in Doha, Qatar. In the 1990s, he worked as a journalist and columnist for two of Bahrain’s most distinguished papers, al-Ayam and Akhbar al-Khaleej. Mr. Salman has published hundreds of articles on Middle Eastern issues in a number of Arab publications.

Dig deeper on Middle East issues and "Know-Nothing Diplomacy" at Daniel Pipes' blog. His articles are extremely interesting, well-informed, and highly educational.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lessons Ignored: Pearl Harbor and 9/11

On the 65th anniversary of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, it's important to take a step back and gain perspective on the lessons learned from that tragedy in American history. Better yet, evaluate whether America learned anything useful that was applied when we were again attacked on our own soil in 2001.

Why would I think there was a valuable perspective to be gained from the events of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 that apply to the events of 9/11/2001? There are some important commonalities:
  • A war was raging while America chose to ignore it... until it cost us dearly in lives lost on our own soil. We avoided involvement in a war that raged all across Europe and threatened democracies and, later, completely ignored the declaration of war (fatwa) from bin Laden.
  • America is never fully prepared for war. The disruption of peace is not necessarily something for which we can ever be adequately prepared. It comes suddenly while America is in the sleep of denial about the conflicts of others abroad.
  • The leak of classified information is nothing new and it's still scary.
  • Anti-war organizations have been active in this country since before the Revolutionary War. (Back then, the Rightwing was the anti-war lobby.) While they can, at times, be voices of reason, they can also be aid and comfort to the enemy; other times, they are not the source of aid and comfort. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

And so, my quest for perspective began with these assumed commonalities. It seemed certain that I would find these affirmed through research. I was quite surprised at what turned up in the course of this quest.

"Trouble," an article written by Daniel Moran in Strategic Insights, Volume I, Issue 10 (December 2002) gave me just enough perspective to affirm America's tendency to ignore conflict until it is thrust upon us. Lessons that might have been learned at that point in history are simply not that easy to apply:

    [...] History can shed remarkably little light on such disconcerting moments, except to reveal that they happen all the time. The cognitive gap between peace and war is enormous, and no form of preparation or training seems fully able to bridge it. The experience of lethal violence, of mortal danger, grief, and terror, cannot be simulated, and learning from other peoples' experiences, well, it's just not that easy. When I teach my naval strategy course I usually mention that one reason the Russian fleet lost its great battle with the Japanese at Tsushima in 1905 was that the paint on its ships was flammable. The Japanese lacked armor-piercing ammunition, but their shells, bursting on hull surfaces, set superstructures ablaze, killing the crews and rendering gun turrets inoperable. Students mostly react to this little factoid with give-me-a-break bemusement: what could you expect from Rasputin's navy, after all? But then when they find out about the linoleum on the American carriers, the response turns to one of annoyance: had people back then not learned "the lessons of the past?" Which lesson would that be, exactly? Do smart things? Don't do stupid things? [...]

    Read his conclusion of this article for an even sharper perspective on the difference in attitudes and purposes between our current conflict and that of World War II.

    Oddly enough, I later found myself reading an article published in 1997 titled "The Big Leak" by Thomas Fleming at American Heritage. What a ghastly lesson! Leaks of classified information have not changed since Pearl Harbor -- leaks have always happened to serve on political agenda or another. Aid and comfort to the enemy to turn public opinion against a war or information to the enemy to be used as a catalyst. Our current conflict has been laced with leaks that, during World War II, were warned against in national security campaigns warning that "loose lips sink ships." This article is highly informative and enlightening. Here is a snippet regarding the Nazi's use of FDR's war plan that was leaked to the Chicago Tribune after the events at Pearl Harbor:

    [...] After Pearl Harbor everyone in the United States except the FBI lost interest in the Tribune story. But the secret information revealed by Chesly Manly acquired a second life in Nazi Germany. On December 5 the German Embassy had cabled the entire transcript of the story to Berlin. There it was reviewed and analyzed as the “Roosevelt War Plan.” [...]

    Whether the leaks coming out of our government during this time of war are aid and comfort or catalysts for further action, the American people continue to fail to demand prosecution for the leaking and publication of classified information. Whether those leaks expose government programs with which we disagree or they expose our knowledge of terrorist tactics, it makes no difference. When politicians and officials privy to classified information can leak this information with immunity while we blindly excuse them under the cover of the First Amendment, we are allowing our future to be manipulated at our own risk.

    While the events of 9/11 are indeed different in many respects , both dates "that will live in infamy" share one common trait: the more things change, the more they stay the same. And so, it comes to this: I have gained some perspective, not on lessons learned from Pearl Harbor but from lessons ignored.

    When April 15th is Just Another Day...

    The following article was written by another blogger who supports the FairTax plan for tax reform in this country. He paints a very appealing and accurate picture of what it will mean when "April 15th is just another day." Enjoy!


    What Would It Mean to Pass the FairTax Plan?
    by John DeJong of NotMeUSA.com

    How would you like to keep one hundred percent of everything you earn? That is one hundred percent of your paycheck, your savings interest, your inheritance, your winnings and any money given to you from a benefactor. How much would you like never to have to worry about tax laws, deadlines, audits, penalties and punishments? Imagine a world where April 15 is just another day of the year -- won't that be wonderful?

    It will soon come to pass. Some day in the not so distant future we will all benefit from the passage of the FairTax Plan (HR 25/S 25). Once this piece of legislation becomes law the United States will experience an economic escalation that is unprecedented in history. Imagine the cost of living actually moving downward! Envision fuel prices falling and the prices for everyday consumables lowering back down to sixties proportions. How about being able to have mortgage companies actually compete with low prices against each other?

    With the FairTax in place we will see incredible job growth. There will be hundreds even thousands of jobs that foreign companies will be bringing back to America. It will be poetic justice when Asian companies start building "call centers" all over the USA. We'll see Japanese, German, Chinese and even Mexican manufacturers moving into the USA to save huge sums of money while providing Americans with jobs-a-plenty.

    Our farmers will actually be able to cultivate their lands knowing full well that their family business will stay in the family and not be sucked dry by the banks. There won't be any need for tracking thousands of expenses just for tax purposes. When the patriarch passes away his family will be able to keep the farm because there won't be anymore inheritance taxes. In fact, farming will become highly profitable again.

    The FairTax will equally lessen crime and make criminals pay taxes from their illegal income for the first time ever. Because when crooks buy with their ill gotten gains they'll be paying taxes on their purchases. For the first time ever, illegal aliens will also pay taxes despite their "under the table" cash income. Most of the lobbyists on Capital Hill will have their power brokerage decreased because tax "favors" will no longer be used to garner corporate political clout.

    I have just touched the surface on all the inconceivable benefits that are going to be reaped once we make our political leaders realize that we want and need the Fairtax. The United States was always the world's model for economic prosperity-- that was up until the mid to late 1990s. Then somewhere in that decade we fell behind several other nations. With the FairTax enacted, we will once again become the world's economic trend setter and employment magnet.

    This is the first in a series of FairTax articles that I will be writing. In each of the subsequent articles I'll focus more on informing you with better detail about the FairTax benefits. If you would like to know everything about (HR 25/S 25) in advance, then please go to the Americans for Fair Taxation website at http://www.fairtax.org/. There you will find tons of stuff and highly important political information on how we can all persuade our representatives into enacting the FairTax Plan.

    The FairTax Blogburst is jointly produced by Terry of The Right Track Blog and Jonathan of Publius Rendezvous. If you would like to host the weekly postings on your blog, please e-mail Terry . You will be added to our mailing list and blogroll.

    Monday, December 04, 2006

    Education & Integration: How do you measure success?

    If your boss asked you to stuff envelopes, you'd likely ask, "Why?" or "How many?" Certainly, you'd want to know when you've met the goal of your task, wouldn't you? Chances are pretty good you'd then ask tactical questions in deciding how to fulfill your task: "Can I use a stuffing machine? Can I enlist the help of others?"

    Interestingly enough, the question of school desegregation is really not that far a stretch from this same scenario. If you were asked to racially mix the employees throughout multiple buildings on a company or college campus, you'd want to know the purpose of the task. Otherwise, how would you know when you've successfully accomplished it? Then the tactical questions would need to be asked: "How many of each race per building? Should it be a percentage of total or an absolute quantity?"

    We must know what we hope to accomplish and be able to measure progress, otherwise we continue to repeat the same tactics in perpetuity without ever knowing if we've reached our goal. How fruitless, unproductive, and exasperating!

    Today, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments on race-based quotas in the school systems of Louisville, Kentucky and Seattle, Washington. If you like to dig deep into details, all the legal filings are online here. It seems to me that race-based quotas have become both the goal and the tactic in desegregation. This simply doesn't work.

    While absolutely and unarguably necessary in 1954, the Supreme Court's Brown vs. Board of Education ruling left these important question unanswered: Why? and, what are the metrics for success?

    Every American, whether he agreed with the decision or not, knew why it was necessary. We still understand why it was necessary back in 1954. The question then becomes, "What are the metrics for success? How will we know when we're done?" And that, my friends, is where the problem begins because that question was never answered by the Supreme Court. We have no idea how to measure success.

    It seems to me that state-sponsored segregation has been eliminated; however, some public schools remain racial "islands" because of community demographics or by parental choice. Have we desegregated the schools enough to let families educate their children in a school close to home? ...better yet, in a school of their choice?

    The best way to provide "fairness" in education at this time in history is to allow families to choose where to send their children for an education. It's time for personal choice and responsibility. Some of you may know this idea as "school vouchers." Vouchers would provide a better chance at equal education for all children not just some. Who better to make the decision on the best provider for a child's education than his/her parents? And, in the process, families would have the freedom to decide on education based on need and quality rather than on race.

    We will have no decision from the Supreme Court until the spring; however, on the occasion of the reappearance of this issue 50 years later, it's worth asking ourselves how we should measure success in education for all our children rather than repeating the same tired tactics that have allowed poor education to continue.

    People's Cube interviews "Her Majesty"

    I was a tad offended at Gwyneth Paltrow's remarks about Americans until I remembered that, like other American anglophiles, she was probably suckered in by the accent. I have a few friends and colleagues who are originally from the UK. Look, even they find it hilarious that Americans are so quick to think they're civilized intellectuals just because of their accent.

    I remarked on this phenomenon to one of my English colleagues a few years ago. He laughed, nodded his head and said, "Yes, absolutely. We're sooo friggin' intelligent. Our football matches are sooo refined. Benny Hill was the king of the intellectuals. And, of course, we flaunt our intelligence with phrases like, 'shut yer fookin' cakehole, you!'!"

    To clear up the reasoning behind Her Highness, Gwyneth Paltrow's comments, the People's Cube has done an eye-opening interview. Enjoy!

    Oh and, by the way, Ms. Paltrow, if you think the British are more intelligent, you might learn a bit from the Beatles about how to be more civilized: "Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl but she doesn't have a lot to say..."

    Sunday, December 03, 2006

    Economists Agree on Global Outsourcing

    Economists are an odd bunch. I've worked with a few over the years and can vouch for that special brand of "oddness" among them. We often read differing views from economists on the hot sociopolitical economic issues of our day; however, a survey was conducted that finds agreement among them on a few issues. Surprise!

    For the protectionists among us, this is probably not good news: Ph.D. Members of the American Economic Association were surveyed; 90.1 percent disagree with the position that "the U.S. should restrict employers from outsourcing work to foreign countries."

    As a free-trade advocate, this leads me to ask: Isn't it time Americans start paying attention to the US job market so that we can re-train ourselves into fields that are in demand in our own country? Isn't it our responsibility to ensure we are employable?

    PS: I'd like to provide you with a link to the full survey but the AEA is a subscription-based site. Dang those secretive economists!

    Love, out of the mouths of babes...

    Forgive me for posting such a sugary-sweet bit of internet email that I cannot verify. This was just too precious to pass up. Even if these are not actual quotes, they certainly signify the wisdom that we are often shocked to hear out of the mouths of babes!
    A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds: "What does love mean?"

    The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined.

    "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love." -- Rebecca, age 8

    "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth." -- Billy, age 4

    "Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other." -- Karl, age 5

    "Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." -- Chrissy, age 6

    "Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." -- Terri, age 4

    "Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." -- Danny, age 7

    "Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss." -- Emily, age 8

    "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." -- Bobby, age 7

    "If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate." -- Nikka, age 6

    "Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday." -- Noelle, age 7

    "Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." -- Tommy, age 6

    "Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." -- Elaine, age 5

    "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford." -- Chris, age 7

    "Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." -- Mary Ann, age 4

    "I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." -- Lauren, age 4

    "When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." -- Karen, age 7

    "Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross." -- Mark, age 6

    "You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget." -- Jessica, age 8

    Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.

    Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

    When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing. I just helped him cry."

    Saturday, December 02, 2006

    The BU College Republicans Have a Dream...

    Why does the Left in this country still believe that advocating racial preferences in the world of education and employment is not a form of bigotry that ought to be insulting to minorities? It has never made sense to me and apparently it makes no sense to Boston University's College Republicans either.

    It's nice to know that at least one group of college students has not let all that education go to waste. No matter how much Leftwing indoctrination these kids receive at college, they still seem to be able to recall the correct definition of bigot. Better yet, they've chosen to highlight the absurity of race-based admissions and scholarships with a very creative and humorous vehicle.

    The BU College Republicans are offering a $250 “Caucasian Achievement and Recognition Scholarship” to applicants who are at least 25% Caucasian. Why? Well, in their own words:

    We believe that racial preferences in all their forms are perhaps the worst form of bigotry confronting America today. Through affirmative action and its progeny (some of BU's own race-based scholarships included), not only does the majority say to any minority, "You are different," but it says, "You will always be different and, more than that, you are inferior and incapable of meeting us at our level so we'll make all these special accommodations for you." We believe this, like all racial preferences, is absurd and contradictory to our American ideals of freedom and equality. Did we do this to give a scholarship to white kids? Of course not. Did we do it to trigger a discussion on what we believe to be the morally wrong practice of basing decisions in our schools and our jobs on racial preferences rather than merit? Absolutely.
    The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best: ..."I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

    Leave it to a bunch of idealistic college kids to find a great way to remind us of this. Thanks, BUCR!

    Friday, December 01, 2006

    Fauxpublicans

    From the Patriot Post Digest 06-48:

    GOP members refuse to sign tax pledge

    Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform made it very simple: If you are an elected official and you say that you will not raise taxes, then sign a simple pledge saying so. We’d like to believe that every Republican would sign it, because one of the core beliefs of Republicanism is small government and low taxes. Yet there are 15 members of the GOP House and Senate caucuses who have yet to put their signatures on Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

    For those of you who see your representatives listed below, do demand that they sign the pledge.

    In the House: Christopher Shays (CT), Michael Castle (DE), Steve Buyer (IN), Harold Rogers (KY), Vernon Ehlers (MI), Ralph Regula (OH), Todd Russell Platts (PA), Frank Wolf (VA).

    In the Senate: Richard Lugar (IN), Charles Grassley (IA), Olympia Snowe (ME), Susan Collins (ME), Thad Cochran (MS), Pete Domenici (NM), George Voinovich (OH).
    Americans for Tax Reform is an organization that supports the idea of a flat tax as a reform vehicle. It seems entirely possible that some of these Republicans did not sign the pledge because they have pledged their support to Americans for Fair Taxation which supports tax reform via the FairTax. Therefore, to be fair, I checked the list of FairTax supporters in Congress to see if they might be supporting a different plan for tax reform instead.

    Good news! One Senator on the list above is actually a FairTax supporter: Richard Lugar (R-IN) supports tax reform but supports it via the FairTax plan. Therefore, it's entirely reasonable for him not to sign the pledge proferred by an organization that supports the flat tax. Lugar is definitely a tax reformer.

    Bad news! The other 14 Republicans on the list above have forgotten core Conservative values: they support NO tax reform whatsoever. They are not interested in our core value of low taxes, less government. They are simply Fauxpublicans.

    Jamey's Brain

    When all the flap over Rush Limbaugh's commentary on Michael J. Fox's political commercials broke over the airwaves, I found myself thinking a lot about an friend and colleague in California who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease eight years ago at the age of 39. It has been a while since I'd heard from him. In this wildly interconnected universe, I'm no longer surprised at the timing of things... I've heard from him recently and it's great news.


    Jamey is a graphic artist who does web-based animation and illustration work for a large company based in California. He has always enjoyed hobbies that require fine motor skills and concentration -- sports, video games, computers, drawing, stop-motion animation, etc. Heck, when we worked together we both spent tedious hours drawing schematics for technical publications. So, as you can imagine, the symptoms of Parkinson's disease certainly make his work and his hobbies very difficult; however, he perseveres with the love and support of a wonderful family and a supportive employer.

    He has recently undergone Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery. So far, it seems to be providing some relief from his more severe symptoms; he's regaining some independence and is able to enjoy his hobbies again. Jamey has documented his experience in his own graphic and comedic style via a website called "Jamey's Brain."

    If you're interested in knowing more about the ordeal that patients go through in search of relief from the debilitating symptoms of Parkinson's disease, this site is full of very entertaining information as well as photographs. I believe he will be adding some animation to it as well. It sure looks like Jamey's brain, with the help of DBS, is allowing him to enjoy his favorite pastimes again and to educate the rest of us along the way!

    Thanks for providing the world with a wonderful resource for learning more about Parkinson's disease and DBS, Jamey. Hang in there, my friend. It's great to see you smiling!