Friday, July 31, 2009

Beer Diplomacy Brings Back Memories of Great Beer-Drinking Moments in the Movies

Here's a recent article from (with 5 YouTube video clips):

President Obama will meet with Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. at the White House on Thursday for what's being called the "Suds Summit." The three men [the actual number turned out to be four, when you count Vice-President Biden] plan to gather ‘round a picnic table, share a few beers, and, in this relaxed atmosphere, work out their differences. No one can say whether Obama's gambit will work, but to celebrate the great tradition of bonding over brewskies, Slate presents the top five beer-sharing moments from movie history....

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Hope This Letter Goes Viral!

Like so much material that's e-mailed these days, this letter was sent by a "friend of a friend," but is worth reading. In whispered voices throughout the land, people are wondering if these are the last days, especially when you consider how quickly the health of our once-great Republic has declined.

Family and Friends,

I doubt that there are any who are not aware of my overall political feelings, and although I am always willing to discuss political issues, I have never been one to join political movements or become seriously engaged in campaigning for candidates or issues. I would consider myself one of the “silent majority.” However, I feel that we are at a point in our country where I can no longer remain on the sideline; I can no longer remain silent. Edmond Burke, an 18th Century British politician and philosopher stated, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” He further declared, “No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” I believe that this statement applies to me and to the situation I am currently facing. I have, therefore, decided to speak out and to invite all others I know to join in a chorus of protest that will send a clear message to our elected leaders that the course they currently have set us on is a course leading to disaster.

Over the past year Congress has passed bills that were hundreds, if not thousands of pages long; bills that were purported by our leaders as “Must Pass” legislation or the country would fall apart. As a result of this emergency legislation, we now have spent hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out private companies, stimulate the economy, and this is in addition to a massive budget that creates a two trillion dollar yearly deficit. After all of these crisis actions we learn that our representatives, not only do not read the bills they vote on, but in most cases they don’t even know what is in them. On several occasions, we have representatives, who later admit that they were not aware that a particular item was in a bill that they sponsored, co-sponsored, or helped draft and then later voted for. This type of reckless legislative action is justified because “we are in such a crisis that there are no other alternatives.” Today, everything has become a crisis, and as one government official stated, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” These crises have resulted in some of the worst legislation ever written in our country, being passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. Now Congress is about to pass a health care bill that will destroy the best health care system in the world. Is there a need to reform some of our health care laws? Of course there is. But what is being proposed in Congress will not improve health care—it will only ration health care and set the government up as the final arbitrator of who gets health care and what care they receive. And don’t kid yourself that it will be cheaper. I would like anyone to name one government program that has ever been implemented that did not cost several times more than what the proponents said it would cost. If this current health care proposal is such a great plan, why has Congress expressly exempted its members from the plan and set up a separate plan for themselves? Are you aware that Congress has a history of exempting itself from requirements and mandates that it imposes on the rest of the citizenry? It reminds me of the book I read in high school titled Animal Farm by George Orwell. The book published in 1945 is perhaps the most satirical allegory of Soviet totalitarianism. I have not read this book for over 40 years, but I have never forgotten the tenant which originally declared: “All animals are created equal!” This tenant was somehow later changed to read, “All animals are created equal, but some animals are created more equal than others.” I believe that our life long politicians have started behaving like Orwell’s pigs who set about creating a society where all were equal, but very soon the ruling pigs become “more equal” than the other animals. I believe that this proposed health care bill will be the final nail that will forever seal tight the coffin containing the Constitution of the United States. If this health bill passes, a bill that will have the government controlling 1/5 of our economy, the march forward to total government control of our lives will be almost impossible to stop—and the Constitution will soon become a worn out document which, having outlived its usefulness, will have to be buried. In fact, that is the same type of language our president has implied about the need to limit the health care for senior citizens who have reached the point where they need to accept the fact that it is time to just pass away.

The destruction of a constitutional government has happened before, and is currently happening in other countries, where there is a crisis and the citizens are voting into power individuals who claim that the only way they can solve the crises is to give the government more power. Soon the governing elite have sufficient power and they are able to replace the constitution with a more appropriate document that fits the current needs of the county and unfortunately the citizens agree that they have no choice but to approve the necessary changes. This situation is what happened in Nazi Germany and what is currently happening with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Please do not kid yourself that this could never happen here. A year ago, I would never have believed that we would be in a situation where the government could have taken control of many of our banks and two of our national automobile manufacturing firms. We now have a car czar along with twenty of more other czars who actually wield more power than the various cabinet secretaries. These czars are neither elected by the people, nor confirmed by Congress!

I could go on and on about my fear for the direction this nation is heading, but I think you get my point. Edward Everett Hale, an American clergyman and writer said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, that I ought to do. And what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do.” I believe the time has come for me, and for every other concerned citizen to get off the sidelines and start doing something to ensure that the freedoms we all hold so dear are not snatched from us and from our children by despots claiming to save us from the crisis of the day.

If you do not agree with me, simply delete this letter and let me know that you do not wish to receive any further correspondence from me regarding this matter. If, however, you like me, have been part of the “silent majority” all of your life, I am asking you to remain silent no longer. Pick up your phone today and call your Representative and both of your Senators and let them know you are opposed to the reckless and wasteful spending that has been passed recently by Congress, and specifically you are opposed to the health care bill that is being ramroded through Congress today. In addition, I ask that you write to members of your family and other friends that you regularly e-mail, and ask them to do the same. Together, if we each do a little, we can accomplish a much. Yes, we can make a difference!

Thanks for reading and responding to my lengthy request.

Brent Hawker

Senator Mark Udall ph. 202-224-5941
Senator Michael Bennet ph. 202-224-5852

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Obamacare Is Bad Medicine, Say Speakers at Colorado Springs Rally

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) sponsored a rally beginning at ll:30 a.m. at Acacia Park, to protest the healthcare legislation currently up before Congress. "We want folks to show up in numbers to send a loud message to our congressional delegation, Senator Bennet, Senator Udall and to all of out congressional delegation that whatever health reform we do, we want to make sure that it is free-market oriented and it protects access for patients" said Jeff Crank, Colorado Director of AFP. Here are some of the usual suspects who showed up:

Friday, July 24, 2009

Colorado's Answer to Typhoid Mary

Kristen Diane Parker, 26, an ex-surgery technician formerly employed at the Rose Medical Center in Denver and the Audubon Surgery Center in Colorado Springs, is now in custody for infecting not less than 19 patients in Denver and 1 in Colorado Springs with hepatitis-C. A Denver federal grand jury indicted Parker on 42 counts Thursday, including 21 counts of product tampering and 21 counts of obtaining a controlled substance [fentanyl] by deceit. A drug addict, she stole the fentanyl by injecting the powerful narcotic into herself, then attempted to cover her tracks by filling the syringe with saline solution.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

United Is Slow, Revenge Is Swift

On the 10th of July we mentioned the case of Dave Carroll, who wrote the song "United Breaks Guitars" after fruitless attempts to obtain compensation for damages. Little did the airline know how much ignoring this one passenger would cost them.

Dave Carroll’s ditty about United Airlines has racked up 3.7 million hits on YouTube and caused the airline’s stock price to plunge by ten per cent, costing shareholders $180 million....

Dave Carroll's song has been a YouTube hit – and a PR disaster for United Airlines. And there’s more to come. “United: Song 1 is the first of those songs,” says Dave Carroll. “United: Song 2 has been written and video production is underway. United: Song 3 is coming. I promise.”

Entrepreneurs, if you receive a complaint about your business, deal with it. Immediately. You’ve been warned.

Too Much, Too Soon

Even if I agreed with every provision of the Obamacare plan (and I have major objections to it), I'm enough of a realist to know that our healthcare system is too complex to be remedied by August. John Stossel in RealClearPolitics puts it more bluntly, and calls it "arrogance."

Beware of Churches That "Teach for Doctrine the Commandments of Men"

Cal Thomas of chastises the Episcopal Church for yielding to modern-day political pressure instead of preaching eternal values:

In the early '70s, comedian Flip Wilson created a character for his NBC television program called "Reverend Leroy" of "The Church of What's Happenin' Now." Like some contemporary "reverends," Reverend Leroy was a con artist who, among other things, once took up an offering to go to Las Vegas, explaining he had to study sin in order to effectively preach against it.

Reverend Leroy would feel right at home in the modern Episcopal Church, which recently voted at its denominational meeting in Anaheim, Calif., to end the ban on the ordination of gay bishops and permit marriage "blessings" for same-sex couples.

Denominational leaders explained they are attempting to stem the exodus from their church by embracing a new doctrine they call "inclusivity," [a word that is not to be found in the scriptures] which they hope will attract young people....

NOTE: If there is any blog material that's likely to attract hate mail, it's any discussion of religion. Bring it on! One reader wrote: "I'm sorry, but if a person want to rely of a 3000 - 4000 year old document (of which there are no original copies) to run there life, that's fine. But to use their interpretation of it to try to run other people's lives is lunacy. Yes, I'm talking about the bible and Christian fundamentalism." [spelling errors retained] The fact of the matter is, empires fall and technology changes, but human nature is a constant. That's why the many cautionary tales and parables we find in the Bible are still relevant to us.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ken Barker Goes to Bat for Veterans (Again)

Kenneth A. Barker, Jr. (also known as "K-Bar"), has been working his tail off developing networking systems for job-seekers who served in the military. He just started a new blog, "K-Bar List," which advertises jobs not announced elsewhere. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Positive News: Bystanders Save 3 People from Burning Car

CNN ran an amateur video from Milwaukee, WI, where several people from the neighborhood, including 2 fire department employees, rushed to the rescue of a mother and her 2 children.

The story, as related by the Herald Sun:

A MOTHER and her two children are lucky to be alive after being pulled from their burning vehicle by off-duty firefighters and bystanders in the US.

The 32-year-old mother was driving the SUV on Milwaukee's south side Sunday when the vehicle crashed, flipped on its side and caught fire, police said.

Videotape of the dramatic rescue shot by a bystander shows two men using metal pipes to break the windshield, freeing the woman and her 2-year-old daughter, the New York Post reports.

The woman's 4-year-old son was still trapped inside. Two brothers, who are off-duty firefighters, tried pulling the boy from the burning vehicle.

One of the brothers, John Rechlitz, said he couldn't find the seat belt release to free the boy from his car seat.

"When I pulled out of the vehicle to call for a knife, he stopped crying. I thought we had lost him. When I started cutting (the seat belt), he started crying again," Rechlitz said.

Joel Rechlitz and a police officer used fire extinguishers to hold back the fire as John Rechlitz worked to free the child.

Police and fire officials say the boy suffered burns to 30 percent of his body and is hospitalized at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. The Rechlitz brothers were treated for burns to their hands and arms.

Another Cartoon Roundup

Sunday, July 19, 2009

International Space Station's Latest Toilet Crisis

The multi-million dollar Russian-made toilet aboard the International Space Station, according to this AP story, is on the fritz, at a time when there are 13 people aboard! Astronauts Frank De Winne of Belgium and Michael Barratt of the United States have been tasked to fix the problem.

A Subject Near and Dear to My Heart

David Stokes has written an article in describing how the U.S. intelligence community is in greater peril than at any time since the Carter Administration.

Are we on the verge of a “soft” purge in our intelligence and national security communities? Are beginning to lose people - citizens who have sacrificed and served with excellence – people we would certainly need if, God forbid, we found ourselves dealing with a major terrorist offensive here at home?

The answer is yes.

When it comes to the economy we will do virtually anything to get “the best and the brightest” into key posts because they are indispensable. But are we playing by the same rules when it comes to national security? The answer to that one is no.

All indications are that morale is low – and understandably so – in the intelligence and national security communities. Why? Likely, it’s because we have allowed for the polarizing stigmatization of these patriots and their noble work, driven by misguided and malicious self-righteousness.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Does This Describe Anyone You Know?

Meryl Runion has done it again! She came out with this song, "Codependent Fool," which describes with chilling accuracy the kind of relationship that merits this label. In her own words:

"I don't like labeling someone with a trait they occasionally display. But if you spend most of your time taking care of someone else who could take care of themselves, well, you're being a Codependent Fool. I wrote this song in the height of my codependence. My codependency is more subtle now, but still shows up at times. Anytime I could say, "I'm not happy because they..." I've lost my sovereignty and am being a codependent fool."

For more goodies, check out the Speak Strong Web site.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

If You Can't Improve Efficiency, Just Make It More Complex

The Investor's Business Daily was only half joking when it ran this organizational chart earlier today.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Too Early to Write Off Palin

Ron Radosh of Pajamas Media reminds us that the establishment in both parties are scared witless of outgoing Gov. Sarah Palin. Her track record at getting crowds excited and stirring up grassroots support are enough to make most politicians envious.

Jer Dunlap, a blogger at Regular Folks United, rushes to the defense of Gov. Palin.

Bill Adams gives an Alaskan's perspective in American Thinker.

Thomas Lifson on American Thinker says that former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown should be taken seriously when he calls Sarah Palin's resignation a "brilliant career move."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tribute to a World War II Hero


We're hearing a these past few days about big splashy memorial services.

We want a nationwide memorial service for men such as Darrell "Shifty" Powers!

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506Th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you've seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn't know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the "Screaming Eagle", the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.

Making conversation, I asked him if he'd been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made.

Quietly and humbly, he said "Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 . . . " at which point my heart skipped.

At that point, again, very humbly, he said "I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . . do you know where Normandy is?" At this point my heart stopped.

I told him yes, I know exactly where Normandy was, and I know what D-Day was. At that point he said "I also made a second jump into Holland , into Arnhem ." I was standing with a genuine war hero . . . . and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day.

I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France , and he said "Yes. And it's real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can't make the trip." My heart was in my throat and I didn't know what to say.

I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach, while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I'd take his in coach.

He said "No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and still care is enough to make an old man very happy." His eyes were filling up as he said it. And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer.

There was no parade.

No big event in Staples Center .

No wall to wall back to back 24x7 news coverage.

No weeping fans on television.

And that's not right.

Let's give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way. Please forward this to everyone you know. Especially to the Veterans.

Rest in peace, Shifty.

"A nation without heroes is nothing."

-Roberto Clemente


Contributed by Sergeants of Marines James Bancroft and Timothy Joseph Harrington, and Marine Wife Mary Harrington

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"When Newspapers Peddle Influence"

The Wall Street Journal ran the following article on the Washington Post scandal:

Some time last week the Washington Post issued a flier advertising a "salon" on the health-care issue. Over dinner at the home of the paper's publisher, Katharine Weymouth, participants were promised "a collegial evening, with Obama administration officials, Congress members, business leaders, advocacy leaders and other select minds."

The paper's executive editor and its "health-care reporters" would be there too, but not in a "confrontational" capacity, you could rest assured. Everything would be safely "off-the-record." And you could "bring your organization's CEO or executive director literally to the table" for a mere $25,000.

Even in Washington, it's unusual to see an actual price tag placed on a chance to "alter the debate," as the Post's flier tastefully put it. Stranger still is it to see the city's scourge of public corruption -- the Post broke the Watergate story and the Walter Reed scandal, among others -- seemingly offering its own good offices for hire.

It was a moment of rare, piquant hypocrisy. Let us take it slow and savor every drop....

ResurrectionSong [blog] has additional commentary.
American Thinker reports that the Washington Post's "salongate" is an "ethical lapse of monumental proportions."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

How Much of the Stimulus Money Have You Been Showered With?

They say results may vary, but this Varvel cartoon illustrates how much the public has to show for the present stimulus package.

New Web Site Carves Out Niche, Debunking Mormon Urban Legends

"As I say, it never ceases to amaze me how gullible some of our Church members are"
- President Harold B. Lee, "Admonitions for the Priesthood of God", Ensign, Jan 1973

The BYU Daily Universe has a story about a new Web site,, which examines cherished tales such as the one about Elvis Presley expressing a desire to be baptized after reading the Book of Mormon! Its founder, Casey Cummings, came up with the idea while serving as an LDS missionary in Austria.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Someone Dares to Write a Satire About President Obama!

Daniel Greenfield of the Celebrity News Network has written an obituary in advance of its time:

He was the first black President of the United States, and he also became its last President when in 2019, after his term in office had been extended indefinitely by HR:0666 or “The Hope and Faith in Obama’s Everlasting Presidency Act,” he was forced to leave office because the government had run out of money to pay for itself.

Though he lived a very public life, few could agree on even the basic facts of his life, such as where he was born, who his father was, or what his real name was, or even what race and gender he was. For a man who spent most of his life before the camera, his death leaves us with few answers about who Barack Obama really was. Obama himself did not help matters by using multiple names, multiple birthplaces and even passports...

There is no denying that Obama cheerfully used fraud and strong arm tactics throughout his political career, but the chief weapon in his arsenal was flattery. Many of his supporters remember the special feeling of being made to feel that he was their friend. As one former aide wrote, “He taught us to laugh, he made us believe, and then he took all our money”.

This conflicted legacy helps explain Barack Obama’s popularity, even after his corruption and abuses of power destroyed the United States government, ending the era of the United States for good-- he was ranked 4th on the prestigious Dow Jones’ “Most Likable Celebrities in North America in 2019” index.

It helped that Obama left the White House voluntarily after learning that there would be no more money left for his trips abroad, and that due to the failure of the Federal Reserve and the secession of 23 states from the Union, no national budget would be possible. He did of course leave with everything of value in the White House that his family and associates could grab or pry out of the walls, but by then most Americans were too busy dealing with the problems of the Great Partition to notice. Even the farewell party that burned down most of the White House seemed a small thing in the wake of the Detroit Food Riots or the discovery of the Red River Gulag....

In Arizona, Obama’s former political rival, the 102 year former Senator, John McCain, sent his own condolences. Once considered too old compared to Barack Obama, McCain noted ironically that he had in fact outlived him, while also passing along the wishes of his now 126 year old mother. As well as his daughter Meghan McCain, off in space as the First Woman on Mars.

From the United States of Alaska, to the Democratic People’s Republic of Minnesota, from the bloody trench warfare of Westchester County to the farthest South American outposts of the Empire of Texas, the messages of sympathy came in tribute on the passing of the man who had made their existence possible.

These are just excerpts from a much longer article. The more you read, the richer it gets.

"United Breaks Guitars" Becomes a Hit on YouTube!

Dave Carroll, a Canadian musician and songwriter, has been making the rounds of the morning talk shows promoting his overnight hit song, "United Breaks Guitars," which was his way of getting back at an airline that damaged a musical instrument valued at over $3000. The song, which appeared on YouTube on Monday, got over 1.3 million hits in the first week, and lifted Dave out of obscurity. At first the airline was indifferent to his plight, but now he has gotten their attention!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My First Coverage of Michael Jackson's Death and Funeral

For those who wonder why I didn't join the media circus surrounding these events, these cartoons sum up the past week quite nicely.

As the Pundits Write Obituaries for the Republican Party...

Reality check: Neither the Republican Party nor the conservative cause are dead and gone yet! Sen. McCain proved that the coalition he was trying to build didn't have the votes to put him over the top, but that doesn't rule out the possibility that some other candidate can come up with a better idea. Here at "Bloodthirsty Warmonger," we love constructive suggestions, and Jennifer Rubin of Pajamas Media has seven of them.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Death by Chocolate

FOX News ran a story about a 22-year-old man who drowned in a vat of boiling chocolate in Camden, NJ.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bravado on Steroids

Taliban to teach US Marines "a lesson" | Tuesday, July 07, 2009 |

Posted on Tuesday, July 07, 2009 11:41:07 AM by gandalftb

KANDAHAR: Afghanistan’s Taliban said Monday they launched a guerrilla operation to thwart a major assault by US Marines on their Helmand strongholds.

Operation Foladi Jal, Pashtu for “iron net”, would teach the Marines “a lesson”.

Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi told AFP.

“In response to Operation Khanjar by the invading forces, we have launched Operation Foladi Jal,” Ahmadi said. “Their Khanjar will get stuck in our Foladi Jal,”. “In this operation we’ll teach them a lesson so they will never again dare to come into our areas,” he said.The operation would include improvised bomb explosions and “hit-and-run guerrilla attacks”, Ahmadi said.

“We will not engage them in front battles. We would rather hit them by mines and guerrilla attacks,” he said. Ahmadi, the rebel spokesman, admitted that Taliban fighters had abandoned some areas.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Death Toll in China's Xinjiang Province Reaches 156

The Reuters/Yahoo article starts with these words:

"Chinese police dispersed 200 people gathering outside a mosque in the Silk Road city of Kashgar, the day after ethnic riots killed 156 in the capital of the Muslim Xinjiang region, state media said on Tuesday.

"Calm had settled over Urumqi, capital of western Xinjiang region, after 20,000 police, troops and firefighters reclaimed the streets from rioters who burned and smashed vehicles and shops, and clashed with security forces over Sunday night."

EDITORIAL NOTE: Tensions between the Muslim Uighur minority and Han Chinese have been building up for years. The Uighurs charge that the Chinese population has benefited from government support and discriminate against them, but it could well be that the Han Chinese are responsible for most of the economic development that has taken place and for that reason are envied by the Uighurs. Since this is something the Communist regime doesn't wish to talk about, the casualty/arrest figures are probably understated.

TEA Parties - Just Because the Dinosaur Media Didn't Cover Them Doesn't Mean They Didn't Take Place

Washington, D.C. TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party, 4 July 2009
WorldNetDaily provides coverage of the rally pictured on left and many others.

More than 2,000 tea parties from coast to coast attracted hundreds of thousands tax and Big Government protesters on Independence Day – perhaps the biggest July 4 political event in America since the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence.

From Washington and New York on the East Coast to Los Angeles and Monterey on the West Coast and all points between, Americans had their say yesterday about bailouts, cap-and-trade bills and new federal spending programs that they believe are mortgaging their children's futures and robbing them of personal freedom.

The turnouts that defied traditional July 4 diversions, heat and rain encouraged organizers looking forward to the next scheduled tea party events Sept. 12 in Washington, D.C.

In San Antonio, Texas, between 3,000 and 4,000 gathered in intense heat throughout the day at the Rio Cibolo Ranch. Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, better known as "Joe the Plumber," was one of the featured speakers along with Gov. Rick Perry, who became the first elected official to sign the "Contract with the Constitution," a document that espouses 10 principles including limiting the role of the federal government, protecting the right to bear arms and amending the Constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Keep an Eye on This Story

This story has been run by the Times of London and the Jerusalem Post, which gives it some credibility, so while we are not 100% certain, nevertheless it marks a milestone of sorts.

July 05, 2009
Saudis OK Israeli Overflights?
Clarice Feldman

Sounds hard to credit, but the Times Online is saying that's the case:
The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.

Earlier this year Meir Dagan, Mossad’s director since 2002, held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility.

The Israeli press has already carried unconfirmed reports that high-ranking officials, including Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister, held meetings with Saudi colleagues. The reports were denied by Saudi officials.

“The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia,” a diplomatic source said last week.

A One-Page Summary of a 1500-Page Monstrosity

This was published in, 6 July 2009

"Here's how to get a dubious bill into law, or at least past the U.S. House of Representatives, which of late has deserved to be called the lower chamber:
-- First, make the bill long. Very long. So long no one may actually read it, supporters or opponents. Introduce a 310-page horse-choker of an amendment at 3 in the morning on the day of the roll-call vote. So it can't be examined too closely or too long. Only after the bill passes may its true costs emerge. ...
-- Make sure that the bill itself, which was already 1,200 pages long before this super-sized amendment was added, surpasseth all understanding. (Which may be the only thing it has in common with the peace of God.) ...
-- Insert all kinds of exceptions into the bill so those special interests that stand to benefit by them -- whether regional, economic or ideological -- will join the stampede.
-- Coat the bill and the campaign for it with high-sounding sloganspeak, if not hysteria. Warn that The End Is Near unless this bill is passed, at least if you consider the year 2100 near. ...
-- If necessary, change the subject at the last minute. Say, from climate change to creating jobs. And, hesto presto, though the vote may be close (219 to 212), a confusing bill can be on its way to becoming even more confusing law. Which is just what happened the other day in the U.S. House of Representatives. ...
-- Forget the actual content of the bill, since few if any can understand it anyway. Instead, just recite talking points. It's a lot easier than actually thinking. ... Whoever said you never want to see sausage made or laws passed did a grave injustice to sausage-makers, who are surely engaged in a much more wholesome enterprise."
--Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editor Paul Greenberg

Sunday, July 5, 2009

We All Know How This Story Ended

The Young Tyrant - a Lesson from History
Jeffrey Folks

A charismatic young leader, supported by a coalition of intellectual elitists on the one hand and a dependent underclass on the other, has gained control of the country. With each month that passes, the leader and his court reveal themselves to be more hostile to the interests of the middle class. Vast new spending bills are introduced to fund an extension of government power. New taxes of all kinds, the extension of old taxes to cover a broader array of goods and services, the introduction of stealth taxes and special emergency levies, the borrowing of vast sums of money: all of these excesses deeply disturb the public, especially the middle class who are asked to bear all the burdens, even as the abuses are cheered on by an foolish elite and an acquiescent underclass.

As if this were not enough, our young monarch has decided to conduct foreign policy in a suspiciously conciliatory manner toward declared enemies of the nation. Regimes with a history of supporting violence against the interests of the country are suddenly courted as if they were long-time friends. Organizations driven by ideological and religious extremism are "engaged" as if no stigma attached to their past and continuing conduct. Emissaries are dispatched to the most unlikely of foreign capitals to negotiate a policy of appeasement and conciliation.

Along with this, there is the troubling sense that the young prince's values are alarmingly out of line with the moral and cultural views shared by most of the public. There are reports of lavish expenditures for entertainment, pilgrimages from the capital carried on at public expense, questionable advancement of favorites. There is the suspicion that, when he is not in public view, the young leader is indifferent at best to the deeply held opinions on faith, family, and patriotism that the public holds dear. Many would go further, believing that, when not on show, he and his consort mock these ideals.

Gradually, as further taxes are levied, properties expropriated, and liberties curtailed, the conviction grows that the young ruler's actions are unconstitutional. His regime reveals itself to be greedy for funds necessary to underwrite its new spending. Even as it is criticized, this reckless spending and the arbitrary taxation that accompanies it only increase. Private resources are commandeered to reward the young ruler's political supporters and to secure his permanent power. The public now understands, as it did not at the beginning, that the young man is intent on governing in opposition to the will of the people. On top of all this, the new ruler arrogantly insists that he is beyond criticism because of the "historic" nature of his rule-a "divine right of kings" argument that no one would now credit.

Unfortunately for the middle class, the young prince is supported by an obliging court of elitist aristocrats, educated men and women who believe they possess the right to control public opinion. The courts, dominated by a generation of judges taught to think that their authority should prevail over the will of the people's legislatures, act in a similarly self-important fashion, issuing opinions popular only among a small elite. Increasingly, the administration, supported by its agents in the national legislature, the media, and the courts, begins to enforce limits on what the public can discuss, what they can publish, and how they can manifest their moral or religious values. An enforced conformity settles over the land as the hand of a centralized government reaches deeply into the life of every household.

In response to this tyranny, conservatives in the legislature attempt to block the more extreme proposals of the new leader. Public protests erupt throughout the land, but the young prince and his supporters dismiss them as tempests in a teapot. Representatives of the public attempt to present their grievances, finally setting forth their complaint in a grand remonstrance, but the king refuses to listen. Instead, he grows more and more arrogant, more and more cut off from the views of the middle class. Finally, once conservatives in a newly constituted legislature have reasserted their control of the public purse, the young ruler is driven from office in 1649.

So it was with that most blind, foolish, and arrogant of tyrants, King Charles I.

We, of course, have come a long way since the days when both Royalists and Independents tossed members of the opposition into the Tower, never to be heard from again. Yet the American people, like those who suffered under Charles I, have become restive as they watch the explosive growth of government spending and expansion of government powers. The American people hunger for a great conservative leader, a Reagan if not a Cromwell, who will speak for them in Washington and stand up against the state-sponsored (or state-sponsoring) media.

Today the power of the political elite in Washington far exceeds that of the court of Charles I., and we are in even greater danger of losing our liberties. John Milton was the great spokesman for the opposition during the days of Charles I, and Milton knew well enough what a tyrant was. "A tyrant," he wrote, "is he who regarding neither law nor the common good, reigns only for himself and his faction."

Could there be any better characterization of the actions of the present administration in Washington?

Dr. Jeffrey Folks taught for thirty years in universities in Europe, America, and Japan. He is currently writing on issues in American literature, media, family, and education.

Tired of Celebrity Overload? Check Out This Web Site has video treats like these:

Trace Adkins was on the Country Music Awards, and gave a very emotional and moving performance of "Till The Last Shot's Fired," accompanied by the West Point Glee Club. One of the most touching, moving things I've seen. If you can watch this and not tear up, there's something wrong with you. You can download this on iTunes and help raise some money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Something is wrong when a Google search on Michael Jackson turns up more than 62 million hits, but few Americans have ever heard of our nation's oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, John Finn, who turns 100 this month. Great Americans is honored that we were asked by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to celebrate Independence Day by sharing this timeless profile in patriotism as an online video exclusive.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Gov. Palin Gives Her Two Weeks' Notice; Sanford Still Governor of South Carolina

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska made the puzzling announcement yesterday, causing many a pundit to scratch his head and put the speculation machine into full gear. FOX News sums up the situation to date, and we can rest assured that this is not the last time we will hear from her.

Upbeat Story: Youth in Payson, UT Launch Neighborhood "Extreme Makeover"

In the midst of soaring gas prices and a weakening economy the youth of the Payson Utah Stake faced a choice. They had been planning a trek to Martin's Cove, but even after saving for two years the travel expenses alone were far larger than their budget.

Facing that problem, a group of youth leaders assembled and confronted the task of finding a different project. The youth came up with a number of ideas for the conference. But over time, only one seemed to stick – service.

Hearing of similar service projects and wanting to mirror the popular television show, the youth decided on an "extreme makeover" idea. The project theme was then coined – "Service with all your heart, might, mind and strength."

After the long process of planning, the time for service actually came on Thursday, June 18. Not even the 5:30 a.m. alarm could stop the youth from coming out. Walking around Payson, 140 youth in orange and blue shirts were easily spotted at 16 different sites. Groups such as "Ammon's Helping Hands" and "Lehi Landscaping" were found all over Payson re-roofing houses, pouring concrete and landscaping, among other projects.

For the rest of the story and illustrations, see the LDS Church News article.

The "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" TV show has inspired other public service projects:

Rotary Club Transforms Drop-In Center on Molokai
Family Room for Homeless Gets Extreme Makeover (Orange County, FL)
Sigma Pi Fraternity Brightens Up Big Brothers/Big Sisters Office

Tom Adkins Pronounces "White Guilt" Dead

White Guilt: A Eulogy by Tom Adkins

I have been out of the loop for a few days as I was traveling but I happened upon this op-ed written by blogger Tom Adkins in the Philadelphia Inquirer. I thought it was pretty funny so I thought I'd share:

"There go my fellow conservatives, glumly shuffling along, depressed by the election aftermath. Not me. I'm virtually euphoric. Don't get me wrong. I'm not thrilled with America's flirtation with neosocialism. But there's a massive silver lining in the magical clouds that lofted Barack Obama to the presidency. For today, without a shred of intellectually legitimate opposition, I can loudly proclaim to America:

The Era of White Guilt is over.This seemingly impossible event occurred because the vast majority of white Americans didn't give a fluff about skin color and enthusiastically pulled the voting lever for a black man. Not just any black man. A very liberal black man who spent his early career race-hustling banks, praying in a racist church for 20 years, and actively working with America-hating domestic terrorists. Yet white Americans made Barack Obama their leader. Therefore, as of Nov. 4, 2008, white guilt is dead. So today, I'm feeling a little "uppity," if you will. For more than a century, the millstone of white guilt hung around our necks, retribution for slave-owning predecessors. In the 1960s, American liberals began yanking that millstone while sticking a fork in the eye of black Americans, exacerbating the racial divide to extort a socialist solution to the country's problems. But if a black man can become president, exactly what significant barrier is left? The election of Barack Obama destroys the validation of liberal white guilt. The dragon is hereby slain.

So today, I'm feeling a little "uppity," if you will. From this day forward, my tolerance level for having my skin color hustled is exactly ZERO. No more Rev. Jeremiah Wright's "God Damn America," Al Sharpton's Church of Perpetual Victimization, or Jesse Jackson's rainbow racism. Cornel West? You're a fraud. All those "black studies" programs must now teach kids to thank Whitey. And I want that on the final.Congressional Black Caucus? Irrelevant. U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.)? Shut up. ACORN? Outlawed. Black Panthers? Go home and pet your kitty. Black separatists? Find another nation that offers better dreams. To those Eurosnots who forged careers hating America? I'm still waiting for the first black French president.No more quotas. No more handouts. No more complaining that "the man" is keeping you down. "The man" is now black.

It's time to toss that massive, obsolete race-hustle machine upon the heap of the other stupid '60s ideas. Drag it over there, right between free love and cop-killing. Careful, don't trip on streaking. Just dump it. And then wash your hands. It's filthy. Obama's ascension also creates another gargantuan irony. How can liberals sell American racism, class envy and unfairness when our new black president and his wife went to Ivy League schools, got high-paying jobs, became millionaires, bought a mansion, and are now moving to the White House? How unfair is that? Now, like a delicious O. Henry tale, Obama's spread-the-wealth campaign rendered itself moot by its own victory! America is officially a meritocracy. Obama's election has validated American conservatism.

So ... Wham!!! That's the sound of my foot kicking the door shut on the era of white guilt. The rites have been muttered, the carcass lowered, dirt shoveled, and tombstone erected. Dead and buried" - (Source)

Posted by Conservative Black Woman, 11 November 2008

Friday, July 3, 2009

Zero to Sixty in 2.5 Seconds!

If you have serious money to burn, and want a car unlike any other, take a look at the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport. Joe Brown of Wired has the story.

Here's a mouth-watering excerpt from the review:

"By now, the Veyron's stats are legendary: 1,001 horsepower from a mid-mounted, 8.0-liter, 16-cylinder engine that gets air stuffed down its ravenous gullet by four massive turbochargers. All-wheel drive. A seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission that switches gears faster than a state staffer ducking questions about the Appalachian Trail. Depending on how you define 'production car,' it is the fastest in the world. In the quickest Lamborghini ever produced, the Murcielago LP640, you can hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. In the Grand Sport it takes a hair under 2.5. How does it feel to command that pace? Godlike.

"The acceleration is so immediate you can feel your eyeballs deform under the G-forces. It's a sensation of isolationist joy, an out-of-body awareness that you're moving faster than the world can react. Bystanders vaguely remember seeing a flash of expensive paint a few seconds after you disappear over the horizon; entire generations of insects die on your prow. Passing other motorists becomes a dangerous entitlement that has you resenting oncoming traffic for hogging your 'VIP lane' -- especially when you realize that you can outrun not only the 5-0's cruisers, but their helicopters, too. If they wanna catch you, they're gonna have to dust off Airwolf and drag Jan Michael Vincent out of rehab."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"A Family's Valor, a Nation's Freedom"

1st Lt. Nathan Krissoff (left) and his father, Lt. Cmdr. William Krissoff

The Fourth of July comes early this year, with this tribute to a patriotic American family, written by Karl Rove for the Wall Street Journal:

At a dinner last week in California, I was reminded of the debt we owe to those who have, for 233 years, sustained our freedom and independence. One remarkable family in particular exemplifies the best in the American spirit of courage and sacrifice.

Sitting at my table was a friend, Christine Krissoff, wife of Dr. Bill Krissoff and mother of Nathan and Austin Krissoff. One of her sons, Marine First Lt. Nathan Krissoff, was killed in Al Anbar Province in December 2006. A Williams College grad, athlete and musician, he'd left for Iraq on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was 25.

I met his parents and brother in Nevada in August 2007 while accompanying President George W. Bush to Reno, Nev. The president was there to address the American Legion before meeting with local families who'd lost a loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan. Mr. Bush has met with about 550 families in private visits like this. At those meetings, he would have a senior staff member close by in case there was something that needed to be followed up on, such as getting a flag to a family member.

We entered a small room in the back of the convention center to find the Krissoffs waiting -- the father in a black suit with his arms crossed and the mother in a plain dark outfit. Their dress contrasted with their son Austin's Marine dress uniform. Like his older brother, Austin had volunteered for service after college. He was to be deployed to Iraq in March 2008.

During my White House years, I saw few people with the quiet power, intelligence and poise of Chris Krissoff. She talked about her sons, the pain of her loss, her concern for her youngest when he went into harm's way, and the stakes in the War on Terror. The entire time, her husband was quiet.

When stories had been told, tears wept, and grief expressed, Mr. Bush asked if he could do anything. At that, Bill Krissoff spoke.

"Yes," he said. "I'm a pretty good orthopedic surgeon. When my younger son is deployed to Iraq next March, I would like to be working as a Navy medical officer, but they won't let me because I am 61 years old. Will you give me an age waiver, Mr. President?" Mr. Bush pointed to me. Dr. Krissoff and I exchanged business cards and he promised to fax me his application.

I checked him out on the way back to Washington. His reputation was that of an outstanding trauma and sports medicine surgeon. He was also a marathon runner and a really fine person.

Two days later, I placed Bill's application on the president's desk before he met with Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs. I made sure Gen. Pace had the file when he left. He promised to get back soon with an answer. I told him that he would have to get back to someone else: The next day was my last day at the White House. One of the last things I did before turning in my badge was to write Bill Krissoff to wish him well.

A day later, I was in West Texas for the start of dove season. While waiting for the next flight of birds, I realized I hadn't written Mrs. Krissoff. So I sat down that night at the Gage Hotel in Marathon and did. She had already lost her oldest son. Her younger son was preparing to deploy to Iraq. Meanwhile, her husband wanted to give up their comfortable life, career and friends so he could honor their sons by joining the military at age 61. And she had given her full, heartfelt support.

A few weeks later, I received a note saying Bill had received his waiver and a chance to pass basic training. A few months later, I was invited to the commissioning ceremony for Lt. Commander William Krissoff, United States Navy Medical Reserve.

Bill emailed me this April about his duties as a combat surgeon in Iraq. He sent photos of himself with Austin, who is now on his second tour there. This is how father, mother and brother are honoring the sacrifice of Nathan. While sharing this story with the audience last week, I found myself unable to look at Christine until I finished and the crowd rose to applaud her.

Watching the smoke rise from the Battle of Bunker Hill, Abigail Adams wrote her husband John, who was away at the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. While she and others lived "in continual Expectation of Hostility," Abigail wrote, "like good Nehemiah, having made our prayer with God, and set the people with their Swords, their Spears, and their bows, we will say unto them, Be not affraid of them."

Christine Krissoff's husband and sons, wrapped in prayers and armed with swords and scalpels, have served our nation with valor. So has she. So long as our nation produces families like the Krissoffs, America will remain not only the greatest nation on earth, but also the most noble in history.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A11

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Regina Brett's Most Popular Column

A friend sent me this list of 45 life lessons (and 5 to grow on) written by Regina Brett of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. According to, she is 50 years old, not 90.

Originally published in The Plain Dealer on Sunday,May 28, 2006

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.

It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don't ask, you don't get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

To reach this Plain Dealer columnist:, 216-999-6328