8/31/10

Faith as a political expedient

In 1960, John Kennedy was attacked by the Christian Right over his Catholicism. In the eyes of many "Christians", Catholics are not "real" Christians, and there was deep concern that Kennedy would govern as a puppet of the Pope. Kennedy's comments on that were succinct and to the point when he skewered his detractors in his Sept. 12, 1960 speech.

In 2010, the Christian Right is attacking Obama over religion, many alleging that Obama is a Muslim, others berating him for his association with Jeremiah Wright's church. Leading the pack, we have a Mormon, Glenn Beck. This alone is a real hoot, since many "Christians" consider Mormons to be heretics, not "real" Christians at all, and never mind the articles of faith of the Mormon church.

One fellow says, "Beck's not really a Mormon. I believe he had to convert in order to marry. His wife is a Mormon." That seems to be the position of quite a few "real" Christians. As I understand that view, it means that Beck has adopted Mormonism as a convenience, not as a real profession of faith. It also makes it easy for "real" Christians to reconcile - at least in their own minds - accepting as their Pied Piper a man they would otherwise consider a heretic.

Is that how these "Christians" see faith? As a cloak of political convenience? It's OK to profess some kind of belief in order to achieve a secular gain? How does that attitude reconcile with the Christian Right seeing Obama as a poseur regarding his Christian beliefs? Why is it OK for Glenn Beck to be a "Mormon of convenience" and not so for Barack H. Obama regarding his professed Christian faith? And if Beck really is so shallow as to falsely profess a methodology of faith, how can he be given any credence in other matters? Further, if the "Christian" Right is so shallow as to accept all this, how can any American give them any credence in either the secular or spiritual? How can any of them be trusted in any matter if faith is as transient as a political viewpoint? Selwyn Duke calls this one's "cultural tapestry," in this instance simply that which we present as a front for others.

Beck was at the Lincoln Memorial this weekend, at what can only be described as a political rally with religious overtones. Or was it a religious rally with political overtones? Is there a difference? Whichever it was, the Christian Right was sucking it up like a Sonic Route 44 during Happy Hour. Beck was playing to the crowd with another rant about "liberation theology", which he is now presenting as a Marxist conspiracy. That should scare the socks off any "real Christian", given that Jesus Christ clearly would have been a Republican in today's world, and Michael Steele would have been preempted by God long ago as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Nehemiah Scudder lives, in spirit if not in name.

8/30/10

The insufferable arrogance of the "Christian" Right

We seem to have hit a nerve last week. So let's take another shot:

In 1960 John Kennedy was judged unworthy of being President of the United States by the Christian Right. Kennedy, as we all know, was a Democrat, but the Christian Right just had to go after him because he was a Catholic, and therefore not to be trusted. He was good enough to have worn the nation's uniform and to have served in the Pacific, suffering injuries that plagued him the rest of his life. He was a Catholic, however, and therefore not good enough to serve as president.

Today we have the Christian Right alleging that Barack H. Obama is a Muslim. They have no proof of this, other than a few billion chain emails they are circulating, citing so-called "facts" they believe make their case. The Christian Right collectively forms our most rabid flag-wavers. They are the ones claiming to stand for America's values. Because - they claim - Obama is a "Muslim", he is unfit to serve as president. They play on the emotions stemming from 9/11 to justify this position. Apparently you must be a "Christian" as a qualifier for the presidency, contrary to common sense and the Constitution.

Let me pose these questions of the Christian Right: What of Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, Corporal, US Army, Bronze Star and Purple Heart, killed in Iraq in 2007, while living up to his oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States? He is buried in Arlington. Shall we dig him up and move him somewhere less hallowed? What of Ayman Abdelrahman Taha, Staff Sergeant, US Army, Bronze Star and Purple Heart, killed in action in Iraq in 2005, buried in Arlington. Shall we dig him up too? How about Captain Humayun S. M. Khan, Bronze Star and Purple Heart, killed in action, Iraq, 2004? They are but three examples. You will find Muslims buried in national cemeteries all across the nation. Shall we dig up all of them and move them to some place where their presence is less offensive to the Christian Right?

Did you know that nearly 15,000 Muslims serve in the armed forces, protecting and defending you and yours? What should we tell them? That because they are Muslims they and their children have lost their chance to serve as president? Kennedy touched on this in 1960:

"But if this election is decided on the basis that 40 million Americans lost their chance of being President on the day they were baptized, then it is the whole nation that will be the loser, in the eyes of Catholics and non-Catholics around the world, in the eyes of history, and in the eyes of our own people."

If the Christian Right would oppose Obama because of his politics and policies, then let them have at it. But when they, claiming to be all-American patriots, would deny the man the office of president because of his alleged religion – no matter what that religion is - they insult all who have bled and died, who have served the nation. Their ignorance of American values - and Christian values - is as profound as their arrogance. Shame on them.





8/28/10

Old Colorado City

We were up to Old Colorado City this morning, and stopped in at the Farmers' Market. As you can see, the place was packed, and money was changing hands like it was the US Congress:





Aigs and Islamic terrists

Leece and I parked our bikes at the little fencepost out in front of The Holy Land Quickee's. We were hot and sweaty from a good ride out on 266 to Rocky Vegas and back.

DinkyDau Billy's Niota was solidly locked to the fencepost. Billy is not known for his high trust levels.

"I see Billy has not changed regarding trusting people," I commented to Leece as we went inside.

"I don't blame him. If I had a Niota I'd lock it every time I so much as turned my back on it," she replied.

Good point. I shuddered to think of a Niota meeting an untimely end in one of the Flores kids' chop shops.

DinkyDau Billy was sitting at one of the tables, snuffling some kind of Juan Diego dish and slurping a diet Dr. Pepper. It was not a pleasant sight, and we noticed that he had the table to himself, though the store was packed with the usual morning crowd.

"Hey hey!" he cheerfully acknowledged our presence, "howzit doon?"

"We're doon fine, Billy," Leece replied, equally cheerfully. "Give us a minute and we'll join you." That got some raised eyebrows from the rest of the crowd. Including me. Leece is quite fastidious and doesn't easily tolerate bad table manners. But Billy has this way of growing on one, and much can be forgiven in such cases.

We plunked our butts down across from Billy, out of range, and sipped our crappacinos. "So what are you up to, Billy?" Leece asked our stalwart.

"I'm checkin' out the terrist link to the aig sitcherashun," he told us, sotto voce.

"Terrorists? Eggs?" I queried.

"Yeah. Yeah. Think about it. Half a billion aigs. Jeez. Half a billion. It's gotta be terrists, destroyin' Ameriker's food production."

"Ameriker?" I asked.

"Scorry. I bin watching John Kennedy's ol' speeches. You know. 'Ameriker.' 'Cuber.' That Harvard thing."

"I see. Makes sense. I guess."

"But Billy ... half a billion eggs is a drop in the bucket," Leece protested, "it makes no sense to blame it on terrorists. I think it is what it is, dirty chicken feed and dirty birds and a crook in charge of it all."

"Kind of like Congress," said Tookie, sliding in next to 'Uncle' Billy, "though you can add 'chicken shi ...', uh, chicken crap, to that."

Everyone snickered. Even the eavesdroppers.

"Do you know what the country's egg production is?" Leece asked, "because a half billion eggs is less than two eggs per person. Think of how many eggs are snuffled daily, just in breakfasts and salads, let alone by commercial bakers and other egg product users. Half a billion eggs is a drop in the bucket."

"I have it on good authority," interjected Tookie, referencing her Blackberry, "that we produced over 82 billion eggs in 1999. That's from the 2000 Census data."

"The Census counts eggs?" Billy asked, somewhat incredulously.

"And chickens - after they are hatched, though that may have changed with the 2010 census," confided TootSweet, "it's the Chikaga Way, you see."

"So this is no big deal?" Billy asked, somewhat crestfallen to see his latest conspiracy theory shot down.

"It is if you're the one crapping your brains out," Leece suggested, "but in the overall scheme of things, no, I wouldn't say that it is. But it does kind of emphasize a growing interest in knowing from whence your food comes, don't you think?"

"You think we should be buying local aigs?" he asked.

"Well ... if you did, you'd know who to sue, wouldn't you?" Tookie pointed out.

"Yeah. Yeah."

"When Americans started shopping in supermarkets, which is really only in the last few decades, one of the selling points was the reliability of the big producers, opposed to the grubby little local farms and such," Leece explained, "and in that process, local little farms became ... yucky. You know. Meat isn't shrink-wrapped, veggies with blemishes, that sort of thing."

"Yeah. Yeah. But have you tried one a them bell peppers from Walmart lately? Them Messican greenhouse things? They don't even taste like peppers. They taste like water."

"Egg-zackly," agreed TootSweet, "and even worse, their termaters. More water than termater, and it ain't termater juice, either."

"Let's not forget the holes in the Italian bread, or the lack of roast chickens at 5 PM," pointed out Leece.

"Yeah. Yeah. Who needs terrists when we have corporate Ameriker bein' 'responsive' to the customer?" asked Billy.

"Egg-zackly," agreed Tookie, reaching over and spearing some of DinkyDau Billy's breakfast burrito with a plastic fork.

"That looks good," observed Leece. I took the hint, and got us some plastic forks.

DinkyDau Billy ordered another burrito.

The assassin

This morning we had a juvenile - half grown - red tailed hawk visit the backyard. He plunked himself on the top link of the fence as songbirds and collared doves fled in all directions.

He sat there for awhile, waiting for them to return to the seed feeder.

He finally figured out that wasn't going to happen. He fluttered into one of the cottonwoods and hung out there, lurking and waiting to ambush the returnees. He was still there when we left, and there were still no returnees. Contrary to popular opinion, collared doves are not nearly as stupid as they look.

8/26/10

"Was this a great country ..."

From Chris Muir, over on Day by Day:

Just say it



The Public Tits

One of The Obamessiah's henchmen is in deep kimchee for sticking his feet in his mouth:

Udderly offensive

Some advocacy groups are calling on a co-chairman of President Obama's debt commission to resign over a specific phrase he used to describe Social Security. The National Older Women's League calls Alan Simpson's comments offensive and sexist.

Simpson was responding to an April article critical of his position on Social Security. Simpson wrote: "Yes, I've made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree... we've reached a point now where it's like a milk cow with 310 million tits!"

The National Older Women's League really should see the ironic humor to it rather than getting their knickers in a twist. One might say that Simpson was simply calling a spade a spade, but if that happened, the observer so saying would be branded a racist. Not to worry, for the lefties have diluted the term 'racist' to the level where it simply means someone who isn't a socialist.

Meanwhile ... let's cut a few more SSI checks for dirtbag fat chicks who can't work because 'it gives me a headache.'

Yes, we know ... SSI does not come out of Social Security ... but please, don't confuse us with facts about The Public Tits.

Will I be chastised by the National League of  Fat Chicks?

Obama's on vacation

Boy howdy, but it's great to have a president that feels our pain, isn't it?

The man is vacationing on the Vineyard again, no doubt to spend time lying on the beach pensively considering the plight of millions of We the Small People, while thinking up new metaphors to describe his brilliant leadership.

Yes, he is brilliant. If only we could see it, but we're just so ... limited. I guess that's why we remain ... The Small People.

Jon Kraushar has a good op-ed over on - where else - FauxNews that dismantles Obama's latest metaphor very well. Kraushar hits the nail right on the head:

Obama is driving America crazy

Yes, he is.

President Obama thinks he is terribly clever but he is terribly mistaken.

Although he is vacationing with his family on Martha’s Vineyard this week he has been barnstorming the country, campaigning for Democrats (and his own agenda) in the November elections, using a misbegotten metaphor. He says the country needs to keep the car (the economy) in the D gear (Democrat) to drive it out of the ditch (aka the recession) and that switching the car into the R gear (Republican) would just put the car back into the ditch.

In his enthusiasm about how effective and memorable he thinks his metaphor is, Obama neglects a different option for the car: kick it into overdrive.

The overdrive gear in a car provides the choice of a higher speed with more fuel efficiency and less torque.


The country is ready to switch gears in November’s midterm elections because voters now think that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to figure out how to put the economy into overdrive so it can quit stalling.


I wonder. Did The One think that car thing up by himself, and the kissasses with whom he surrounds himself were too busy sycopanting to give him a dose of reality? No matter. Kraushar has popped The Obamessiah's bubble on this one, though of course, The One will never admit it. And he'll probably keep on using it, just to show us how little he cares for nay-sayers like Kraushar.

Interesting take on Obama's 'religion'

From The American Thinker, we have this interesting essay by Selwyn Duke:

The truth about Obama's Muslim 'Faith'

8/23/10

"No new taxes"?

The Religious Right is at it again,sending another panic email around:

On page 25 of 29: TITLE IX REVENUE PROVISIONS- SUBTITLE A: REVENUE OFFSET
PROVISIONS-(sec. 9001, as modified by sec. 10901) Sec.9002 "requires employers to include in the W-2 form of each employee the aggregate cost of applicable employer
sponsored group health coverage that is excludable from the employees
grossincome."


What does that mean?

It means that whatever your employer is paying for your healthcare is now going to show up on your W-2 form as 'income'.

See what adding several thousand bux to your income does to your 'tax picture'.

Boy howdy, ain't that enough to getcher dander up? Especially since Obama probably is a Muslim and probably ain't even a red-blooded American? And probably not even a "Christian" to boot?

Well.

Take a read:

Health Care Law and W-2 Forms

An excerpt:

The e-mail’s author correctly quotes a Congressional Research Service summary of the bill that became law (H.R. 3590), noting that Section 9002 "Requires employers to include in the W-2 form of each employee the aggregate cost of applicable employer-sponsored group health coverage." But the author then goes on to conclude — quite incorrectly — that this amount will be "added to your gross pay" and that "[y]ou will be taxed on the total." The CRS did not say that, and neither does the legislation itself. In fact, the value will continue to be untaxed, just as in the past.

The e-mail’s author also claims that an article written by Joan Pryde, a senior editor of the Kiplinger letters, backs up the claim: "Go to Kiplingers and read about 13 tax changes that could affect you. Number 3 is what I just told you about." But the truth is that the Kiplinger letters actually contradicts the claim.

8/20/10

Get off his case and MoveOn ...

This continuing drivel over Obama's religion, or lack thereof, is pathetic. Don't these people have anything important to worry about?

We old farts remember the shock and dismay over John Kennedy's Catholicism. "Will his loyalty be to the nation or to the Pope?" It went on and on. He even had to come out and assure everyone he was "OK" in spite of being a Catholic. I mean, not only was Kennedy not a real Christian, but a Papist to boot.

What are these characters going to do if Mitt Romney gets the GOP nomination? Are Mormons real Christians? Not by the lights of self-styled "Christians".

Let's see ... some of our GOP'ers want to repeal the 14th Amendment. Some of them want to amend the amendment. While we're at it, why don't they see about doing away with Article VI section 3:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

That really does get in the way of this being a "Christian" nation, doesn't it?

Find something important to worry about. Obama's religion or lack thereof ain't it.

If you don't get it, watch this:

8/19/10

Speaking of perspective ...

Government freebies

Here's a great example of how taking free government money leads to more 'issues':

Given Money, Schools Wait on Rehiring Teachers

Remember the tearful pleadings by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, and of course, Our Heroic President, Barack H. Obama?

Remember how they just had to have that $26 billion so as not to be forced to lay off teachers, cops, firefighters, etc?

Well, about $10 billion of that was for teachers.

Yet, having received the money - a substantial chunk of which was taken from the food stamps program - the states are just sitting on it. They aren't hiring the teachers that were laid off.

Why?

Check this:

In New Jersey, where about 3,000 teachers were let go in May, Gov. Chris Christie’s administration worries that the federal aid will only forestall difficult decisions later, and it is unclear how much will be spent immediately.

“It’s a real double-edged sword,” said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the governor. “This money will not be there next year, and we’re not going to get back up to the funding that they had previously been used to.”


There it is. You take the free money, and hire the teachers back ... but how are you going to fund them next year?

That's what happens with these grants. The lesser governmental entities take the money, get the programs going, and then the grants dry up. So what happens next? Keep the programs going? How? Raise taxes? Cut other programs? Lay off workers in other areas?

And then there are those grants to private individuals, organizations, and businesses. That's just plain re-distribution of wealth in the best socialist traditions. It has nothing to do with maintaining services to the people, or maintaining infrastructure used by the people ... which at least can often be reasonably construed to be part of that '... promote the general welfare ...' business. Karl Marx would love the way governments redistribute wealth through their various grants.

You think not?

Go back and research Ben Franklin's proposal at the Constitutional Convention to tax canals, and the ensuing discussion on Federal taxation, and just what is meant by 'general welfare'.

The Founders would be crapping their drawers over the whole idea of governmental grants as we use them.

Perspective

Obama's point of no return

From over on "The American Thinker":

Obama's point of no return

an excerpt:

The past two years are the best Obama will ever see. The real crises of his presidency are still to come, and they are easily visible as they move toward us -- Iran, terrorism, the economy, the collapse of the national health care system hastened by his own policies. He will meet them under a cloud of his own making, attempting to overcome them as a president who takes endless vacations, who will not defend his country's borders, who sat out the Gulf oil crisis, who overlooks the sacrifices of his own countrymen in favor of dubious foreign figures.

Our pal Blago

From the Chicago Tribune, on the Blago verdict:

The holdout juror was previously a director of teen counseling at the Chicago Urban League.
Cheryle Robinson Jackson was appointed on October 2006 to be the first female president and CEO in the 90-year history of the Chicago Urban League.  Prior to her appointment, Jackson served in the administration of Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, most recently as deputy chief of staff of communications and before that as communications director and chief press secretary, making her both the first woman and African American to hold the position in the state’s history.
 

A political appointee from the Blago administration on the Blago jury.

Do ya think the US Attorney dropped the ball on this one? How did this woman ever get on the jury?

8/18/10

Another 'fair and balanced' from Faux News

I used to enjoy watching FoxNews. I still do, though it's very apparent they are neither 'fair' nor 'balanced', no more than is MSNBC or CNN or any of the so-called 'Mainstream Media'.

We saw the latest example of this today:

"Federal court says it's OK to lie about military service."

The 9th Circuit said no such thing, but that line sure does appeal to the right wing's emotional vomitorium, doesn't it?

The 9th ruled that it is unconstitutional to arrest someone for lying about military service or military awards and decorations one has allegedly received. That is hardly the same thing as saying it's OK to lie about such things.

The right-wingers are going nuts, of course. Like the mosque thing, it's all emotional. Like the pledge of allegiance thing, it's all emotional. Like the God on our nickels thing, it's all emotional. Like the 'this is a Christian nation' thing, it's all emotional.

The courts are not supposed to rule based on emotion. Can you imagine what this country would be like if they did?

Here's the thing. Dirtbags have falsely claimed service and awards for bravery, and the right-wingers, all dewy-eyed over the very thought, have been sucked in. I remember one such character who used to work at the PD. This guy claimed to have jumped into Kuwait the night Desert Storm started; he claimed to have been involved with all kinds of SEAL-type operations; he claimed to have been good buds with some 4-star who ran all of these super-patriot missions. He presented a DD214 with 'reason for discharge' blacked out. It was one of those 'if I tell you, I'll have to kill you' bits of nonsense.

Whatever the reason, he lied. He spent less than two years in the military, and was out before Desert Storm even started. That was clear from the DD214, had anyone bothered to really look at it. How long does it take to become special ops qualified? SEAL trained? This 'hero' wasn't in long enough for any of that, even assuming he was selected while in basic training.

But it sure did appeal to the twits who hired him. Yep. He was hired. War hero, doncher know.

The laws against lying about military service are bandaids for the people who are too dumb to run background checks. Those are the ones who should be punished, for terminal stupidity.

We don't need laws for this. There are already remedies for fraud. For simply lying about this, we do not need laws. What we rely on for this is old cultural remedies. Shunning. Ostracizing. Closing out from the community.

But no ... let's rely on emotion to drive how the courts are supposed to react. That's a great way to run a country.

Sticking his oar in ...

Obama, having stuck his oar in on The Mosque "issue", probably feels like he has stuck another appendage in. To a meat grinder.

What an amateur. He still hasn't figured out that He Is The President, and he just can't make casual remarks. Remember when he stuck his oar in on the Cambridge Cops Caper? He didn't know what he was talking about then, and he doesn't know what he is talking about now. Or he doesn't sound like he does.

Here's the deal, once again. On the placement of the mosque, the government cannot interfere with the building of the mosque. Not by flexing zoning laws, not by toying with the rules on what is or isn't an historical landmark. Not by any other method, direct, indirect, tacit, implicit, whatever. Despite some earlier machinations along those lines, it now appears that everyone pretty much understands this.

But all those who oppose the construction of the mosque are not, simply by their opposition, violating our Islamic friends' Constitutional rights. Because they ain't the government. What they are doing is exercising their own Constitutional rights to oppose the deal.

Obama doesn't seem to get that. In his somewhat pompous lecture to We the Unwashed Masses the other day, when he was explaining to we benighted ignoramuses, he just didn't get that.

Then, of course, he had to 'clarify' what he meant. I suspect someone told him he had screwed the pooch, and he was trying to backtrack. You know. Spin it. Damage control.

Too late, methinks.

America's Muslim community have made their own bed on this one. They can argue that they are not the Fundamentalists who murdered 3,000 innocent souls on 9/11. They'd be right. But what really aggravates me about that argument is this: Where is the condemnation of the Islamic Fundamentalists who did, and who continue to murder and pillage? Oh, there's been a few comments to that effect, but it's hard to buy into that "Religion of Peace" thing when there is that deafening silence from the so-called "Muslim Majority." And then, of course, the Imam, the so-called 'religious leader' of the mosque movement, reeks of Fundamentalist influence. It's hard to see the man as a peaceful religious leader when he supports murdering thugs like Hamas.

Those who oppose the mosque are entirely within their rights to do so, and if they can bring enough pressure to bear to defeat the construction project, then God bless 'em for it.

The Muslim community, and Barack H. Obama, need to get their big girl panties on and quit their sanctimonious whining.

Meanwhile, what about that trial up in New York City? Where are we with that?

8/17/10

"... dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith ..."

That is part of the inscription on the base of the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. The full inscription reads: "In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright; conceived by genius; achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith."

Earlier this summer Gossman-Steeves and I took a trip up North Carolina State Highway 12. The two-lane road runs up the Outer Banks from the little village of Sea Level, all the way to Corolla at the northern end near the Virginia line. It is a romantic roadway, passing through over 400 years of legend and heritage. We jumped off at the Cedar Island ferry terminal, crossing to Ocracoke village, where Blackbeard the pirate was run to ground by the Royal Navy; and then north past Hatteras, the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" and "Torpedo Junction" of World War II infamy; the Coast Guard's old gut-busting oar-powered surfboats of days long past; fishing villages born of back-breaking labor at the nets, at the mercy of sea and weather. We visited Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, where we were entertained by blue herons and egrets and Democratic turtles. We spent time shelling on beaches hardly changed from when the first English colonists arrived in the 1580's. We went to "The Lost Colony", depicting the suffering, and the toughness, and the determination -- and even a little stupidity -- of those first English settlers, enjoying the play at the Waterside Theater at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and then overnighted at Nags Head. The entire trip was filled at every turn with reminders of 'dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith'.

Early in the morning, we climbed to the granite memorial on Big Kill Devil Hill. The words have never failed to profoundly affect me, not since the first time I saw them on the grey granite: "... dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith ...". I think this phrase captures the essence of the American spirit. The traits are by no means uniquely American, but can you think of any other place, at any other time, where those elements have combined within a nation so dedicated, at least in theory, to the freedom of the human spirit? A nation whose founding values are so entwined with the concept of the free individual, possessed of divinely endowed rights reaffirmed by the national creed?

Time after time after time Orville and Wilbur Wright failed. Time after time after time they tried again. They retired to their little sheds at Kill Devil Hills, and tweaked, and fixed, and redesigned. And tried again. And then ... they succeeded. They flew. Dauntless resolution. Unconquerable faith.

The essence of the American spirit.

As I sat there with Gossman-Steeves, contemplating the inscription and watching the sun break through the clouds, I could not help but think ... where would we be had the brothers Wright, rather than showing dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith, relied instead on grants from the government? Had been seekers of handouts? I suspect the concept was beyond their ability to comprehend.

Welfare takes many forms. Oddly, many of the people - Republicans for the most part - who disparage the "welfare moms" who are drawing food stamps and other assistance have no problems themselves with taking free money from the government in the form of grants or subsidies or other "entitlements". Our national culture has come to be greatly reliant on "entitlements." Any time a project is proposed, almost the first thing you will hear is "Let's see what grants are available." State-ordained welfare creates an attitude of dependency rather than independence. It makes no difference if the recipient is an individual or a community. And no matter what form it takes, it is counter to the essence of the American spirit.

8/15/10

Obama's two-step 'round the mosque

OK ... so Obama has come out - at least before he changed his mind - rather forcefully in favor of building the mosque two blocks from Ground Zero.

Obama backs the mosque

"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country," Obama told an intently listening crowd gathered at the White House Friday evening to observe the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

"That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances," he said. "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable."

Everything he says is true. It is true insofar as government action is concerned in the mosque question. It is not true regarding the personal opinions and beliefs and viewpoints and legitimate counter-actions of non-government entities, including individuals, objecting to and trying to stop the mosque's construction.

We cannot allow the city government of New York to circumvent existing zoning laws so as to prevent the construction of the mosque.

We cannot allow the committee of old buildings maintenance or whatever it is, to designate the building question as some kind of 'landmark' as a pretext to prohibit the mosque's construction. The committee is a government entity.

It's quite simple.

But Obama wasn't very clear on that, was he. For a Constitutional scholar, he sure seemed to shoot from the hip on that one.

So we have this:

"President Obama is wrong," said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. "It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero."

King is correct. Obama screwed the pooch, catering to, pandering to, his Muslim audience. So now he finds himself in the position of two-stepping on the mosque problem. He has backed off his original statement, and now says that while Muslims have the right to build their mosque, he doesn't think it's the right thing for them to do.

The Muslims do not have an inviolable right to build their mosque. They have the right to be free from government interference in the construction of their mosque. There is a big difference there, one which Obama seems to be missing.

The 68% of Americans who are incensed about the mosque's construction, and who don't want it there, are entitled to do everything they legitimately can to prevent its construction. If they can prevent its construction, good on them.

Obama has pandered to the Muslims, now he is trying to pander to everyone else. He can't have his cake and eat it too.

Captured: America in Color, 1939-1943

From the Denver Post:

Captured: America in Color, 1939-1943


These images, by photographers of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information, are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. The photographs are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color.

8/14/10

Melon Day

Melon Day at the Ark Valley Fair. It was a fun day, with hundreds lined up for the annual handing out of melons. The crowd was friendly and convivial, and a good time was had by all. First we had the melon seed spitting contest, then the Handing Out of The Melons, like loaves and fishes.

Here is a history of the Fair:

Ark Valley Fair History

and here is an excerpt about how Watermelon Day came to be, as written by the late Senator G.W. Swink:

The first Watermelon Day was in 1878. My crop for this year being very bountiful, I decided to invite all the people in the surrounding territory to partake in my crop. The country then being thinly settled the crowd was quite small, not more than 25 persons being present, and they being mostly from La Junta coming in a Santa Fe Caboose. I cut the melons on the grain door of a boxcar. Only one wagonload was required to feed the crowd and give all they wanted to carry home.

Cutting the melons on the grain door of a boxcar? We shudder to think of what censure Senator Swink would receive today at the hands of various watchdog health agencies. In any case, the tradition not only stayed, but grew.


Kids' Rodeo Lady in Waiting gives one a spit.

Local media mogul J.R. Thompson MC'd the affair with his usual aplomb and urbane wit, while Laura tongue-lashed Bart for getting wrong the names of members of the Rocky Ford great and near-great, in their respective civic roles.


Melons were handed out with cool efficiency by friendly meloneers. The National Guard provided trucks to haul the melons to the fair grounds.


This young lady found a comfortable seat while waiting for various politicians to be introduced to the crowd, who applauded enthusiastically. We can only express surprise that the politicians lost the opportunity to dispense the largesse.


Fair-goers lined up across the field and well out into the fairgrounds, almost to the Expo building, to receive melons. Below we have shots of the handing out:





8/13/10

Our brilliant leadership

Russians fuel Iranian reactor; US buys Russian helicopters
Russian made choppers to Afghanistan

Like, dude! Hands across the sea and all that!

The Russkis are going to start fueling up the Iranian Bushehr reactor next week. Yep, they're going to help the Iranians make a quantum leap with their nuclear program.

I wonder what the Israelis are going to do.

We already know what Barack H. Obama and our CongressClowns are going to do.

They are going to buy 21 Mi-17 Hip helicopters from the Russians, and give them to the Afghans. The Hips on the shopping list are alleged to be transports, but the Hip can also be a very effective gunship.

Isn't the irony just too delicious?

The Afghans drove the Russkis out, shooting down who knows how many Hip gunships in the process ... and now We the People are going to buy Russian Hips to give to the Afghans, all while the Russians are fueling a reactor for a whackjob government that intends to incinerate Tel Aviv and as many Jews as possible ... not to mention what the whackjobs have up their sleeves regarding US citizens, ships, armed forces, and the continental US.

I wonder if we borrowed the money from the Chinese to buy the helicopters?

High times at the Ark Valley Fair

We cruised around the fairgrounds last evening, taking in the fairways, the tractor pulls, the 4-H exhibits, the needlecrafting, and picked up a couple of jars of Scaff Bros. Ranchera sauce. The "Habanero Hot" sauce. It's really good. Not as hot as you might think, but right snappy nonetheless, and very nicely flavored.

Leece took 1st Place/Champion with her "Gillnetters' Skiffs". We took some shots of the Atlantic, NC harbor last year, including these two skiffs. When we went back this year, we took a couple more. Leece wanted to work the dock in. I thought the dock detracted from the skiffs. I guess I was wrong, as we both entered our shots of the skiffs, and mine didn't even get a sniff.

Leece also took 2nd Place with her "Summer Colors", a shot of leaves from a North Carolina Red Maple. This was at Willow Pond, on Harker's Island, NC.

Here they are:


The Champ


Summer Colors


Gillnetters' Skiffs, Atlantic, NC

And here we have a shot of the Wright Brothers' National Memorial at Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills, which took a 3rd Place. I have always loved that inscription. It's enough to send chills up yer spine. It is the essence of the American spirit:


"In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright; conceived by genius; achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith."

8/11/10

The shameless whores of the Democratic Party

Check this:

Democrats cut food stamps to buy teachers' union votes

Yep.

Some Democrats are upset and advocacy groups are outraged over the raiding of the food-stamp cupboard to fund a state-aid bailout that some call a gift to teachers and government union workers.

House members convened Tuesday and passed the multibillion-dollar bailout bill for cash-strapped states that provides $10 billion to school districts to rehire laid-off teachers or ensure that more teachers won't be let go before the new school year begins, keeping more than 160,000 teachers on the job, the Obama administration says.

But the bill also requires that $12 billion be stripped from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, to help fund the new bill, prompting some Democrats to cringe at the notion of cutting back on one necessity to pay for another. The federal assistance program currently helps 41 million Americans.


Since when is bailing out well-fed unionistas, with their fat pensions and benefits packages a 'necessity'?

Why, when it's necessary to pimp their votes, that's when.

Then there is this little moral jewel:

Arguably one of the most outspoken opponents on the Democratic side is Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who has blasted the move as “a bitter pill to swallow” but still voted yes.

Oh, how it must pain DeLauro to take food out of children's mouths to buy those votes.

What a collection of whores.

Oddly, there is no mention of any of this over on the CNN website. Nope. In fact, in the US section, there is no mention at all of the passage of the bill, much less robbing $12 billion from the poor to pay for the pandering.

And Obama keeps on with his pipe dream:

"This proposal is fully paid for, in part by closing tax loopholes that encourage corporations that ships American jobs overseas. So it will not add to our deficit," he said. "And the money will only go toward saving the jobs of teachers and other essential professionals...I urge members of both parties to come together and get this done, so that I can sign this bill into law."

Barry, it ain't 'paid for'. It's borrowed from the Chinese.

"Those people ought to be drug tested ..."

"... I mean, it's just crazy ...".

Also Sprach Zarathustra.

Thus spake the Superman.

Well, OK, it was just Robert "Giggles" Gibbs, taking a shot at the far left, what he calls 'the Professional Left'.

The blushingly pink university academics. The modern-day Jane Fondas of Hollywood. Today's editions of the Obamanian buddies and activists of yore.

“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”


It sure is.

Look here. The majority of Americans, those of us who live in Flyover Country, tend to be middle-of-the-roaders, with a drift, sometimes a pretty good drift, to the right.

We are not extremists toward either end of the spectrum, and most certainly not toward the Left.

The opposition to Obama's - and the "Professional Left's" - socialist agenda is growing, in many cases intensely so. And now Obama is getting slammed by his "friends" on the far left:

The White House, constantly under fire from expected enemies on the right, has been frustrated by nightly attacks on cable news shows catering to the left, where Obama and top lieutenants like Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have been excoriated for abandoning the public option in healthcare reform; for not moving faster to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay; and for failing, so far, to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Liberals have criticized Obama and his staff for moving to the middle and bargaining on healthcare reform, as well as the financial regulatory overhaul and even the $787 billion economic stimulus package, which some liberals said should have been larger.

Just last week, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow described Obama political adviser David Axelrod as a “human pretzel” for his explanation of the administration’s position on gay marriage. Axelrod had explained that Obama opposes same-sex marriage but favors equal benefits for partners in gay relationships.


Because Obama has chosen to 'rule by fiat', to decree rather than legislate, to appoint czars who don't have to suffer examination in the Senate (not that it would matter with that rubber stamp crowd of clowns), and his puppets in the Congress have fallen in love with the word 'deemed' ... because of all that, and with his supermajority in both houses, Obama has managed to shove through an incredible amount of liberal trash and garbage. If he could have gotten that public option, as one example, or gay marriage, or a closed Guantanamo, don't you think he would have? The political reality is that We the People are shoving back. We should be screaming for the impeachment of some of these morons rather than talking about 'voting them out'. I doubt that impeachment would work, but at least the sentiment would help make the point that We the People are more than simply 'fed up'.

The far left really are detached from reality.

Here ya go:

White House unloads on "Professional Left"

8/10/10

Qu’ils mangent de la brioche

From Day by Day:

Qu’ils mangent de la brioche

Well, Sistah Marie almost certainly didn't say that, but still, it's a good play, doncher think?

Right on the mark.

Bennet mauls Romanoff

Like, wowsers.

Romanoff took a thrashing state-wide. It was a bit closer in Otero County:

Bennet 684 and Romanoff 656.

I guess our Colorado Democrats like their senators bought and paid for by the Obama machine, lock-stepped in without an original thought in their heads.

Dan Maes wiped up the floor with Scott McInnis, 1,074 - 751, though as of right now, state-wide, they are in a dead heat.

Ken Buck wopped Jane Norton, 1,014 - 803. Did Buck ever show up anywhere in southeastern Colorado? Or was he too busy up there in the metro areas? Did I miss it? Perhaps he pulled a Hickenlooper and showed up one day wearing a ball cap and a plaid shirt, to show how much he identifies with we Hicks from the Sticks. I just didn't see him because he blended in so well.

Markey pulled in 74 votes. Ouch.

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Jaimes Brown got one vote while his opponent received none. So much for the strong independent types out here in pioneer country.

Tipton worked over McConnell, 808 - 672.

Grantham pounded Heimerich 1,025 - 771.

And JJ Ament gave Stapleton a good bounce off the voting booth wall with 938 - 707.

James Baldwin took the County Commissioner primary with 1,203 over Ralph Roger's 651.

Only 40% of the voters cast a ballot.

Guess things are going pretty smoothly, in the political sense, hey wot? I mean, people must be pretty happy with the way things are going, otherwise, why, you'd see more participation in the political process, right?

Or maybe they're all Independents.

8/9/10

Public screwing redux

But wait! There's more!

Dems roll the dice

House Democrats are rolling the dice this week by returning from a recess that had barely begun to pass a $26 billion teacher jobs bill -- at a time when calls for fiscal restraint are dominating the campaign landscape.

Democrats and Obama administration officials say the package is paid for and will not add to the deficit. The bill, which is expected to pass, allows supporters to tout their role in saving tens of thousands of teachers and other government workers from being laid off before the start of the school year, and before the November election.

First, it isn't 'paid for'. It's coming out of Porkulus Americanus, which is not paid for, being borrowed from our good friends the Chinese.

You just wait. You'll hear Brother John Salazar pimping the teachers' union and cops' unions/'protective associations', and firefighters, about how much he has done for them. Ya, you betcha (wink).

We're getting gouged by PERA, and now we're going to get gouged again.

What's 'paid for' in this deal is some campaigning for Brother John and his fellow CongressClowns. Another Obamas BailOut. Votes bought for John Salazar and paid for by you and me.

Paying the price

Virginia takes it in the shorts

If you think this is in no way connected to Virginia challenging The Obamanians on healthcare and immigration, you probably think a nightclub and bar in downtown Riyadh is a good investment.

Another public screwing

Democrats to bail out states

Here we go again.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday that the House will reconvene for a vote on the $26 billion state aid bill aimed at saving the jobs of teachers and other public employees, while giving the states a helping hand with Medicaid.

Nancy Pelosi, that paragon of fiscal virtue (she never saw a vote she couldn't buy with a bail-out buck) has called the Clowns of Congress back so they can shovel out another $26 billion in so-called 'aid'.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the timing of the vote by insisting, "This bill is a brazen attempt to funnel more money to public employee unions before an election at a moment of record deficits and debt.”

It's another bail out.

And it's another union bail out.

Teachers' unions; police unions; firefighter unions.

This bail out is so states and municipalities won't have to lay off public workers - teachers, cops, firefighters, mostly all union members with fat, tax-payer funded pensions and retirement benefits packages.

Like PERA.

Rather than call for the unions to knock off their self-serving crap, Pelosi and the Democrats are going to fiscally fellate those unions.

And you and I, wondering when the hell when or even if we'll ever be able to retire, will keep on paying for their fun.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press," House Minority Leader John Boehner claimed, “The American people are screaming at the tops of their lungs to Washington, stop. Stop the spending, stop the job killing policies and yet the democrats from Washington refuse to listen.”

Where is John Salazar in all this?

Brother John has his nose so far up the Party Jackass' rectal cavity he'll be smelling donkey dung the rest of his life.

But Brother John has his fat Federal CongressClown retirement and benefits. He's taken care of.

Perhaps we should 'take care of' Brother John next election.

8/8/10

Kids' Rodeo 2010

Shots from Friday evening, the Saturday parade, and Saturday evening.

Kids' Rodeo 2010




8/6/10

Carville's two-step

"We 'bout ta die down heah!"

So whined James Carville, Democrat political operative extraordinaire, back when oil was pouring into the Gulf and washing up into his beloved Loosyana bayous.

As he states in his latest bit of political two-stepping, he was in fact harshly critical of Obama's pathetically inadequate reaction to the mess.

But now ... why, to heah James go on, that Obama feller is keeping Jesus Christ afloat as they tour the Gulf of Mexico these days.

Obama played his cards right on BP

Pull your nose out of Obama's rectal passage, James. It's downright embarrassing.

Grant money

So John Salazar got a grant for the airport. Nearly a quarter million bucks. Isn't that free Federal money great? Brother John managed to buy himself a few votes down these parts, didn't he?

Grant money. It's what seems to make the world go around these days. Public safety departments depend on it; Homeland Security shovels piles of grant money into every little Podunk police or fire department that thinks it needs a 60" LCD television in the 'conference center', or sniper rifles for a three man sheriff's department's "SWAT team".

School districts depend on grant money, which is exactly how the state and Federal governments dictate to us how we will educate our kids. You know, like teaching Kindergartners to use condoms and learn why the missionary position is so ... like, passé. You don't want that in your classrooms? Then you don't get the Federal grant money. If you want Federal money, you're going to dance to their music. Or you don't get that free Federal money.

Local governments depend on grant money. Services are provided because grants for such services become available and local governments jump on 'em. Of course, when the grants run out, citizens have become accustomed to the services, so ...do taxes go up to continue funding them? Or are other services cut? My favorite is funding police positions, School Resource Officers as but one example. You get a Federal grant for the position for ... oh ... three years ... and then when the grant runs out you either get the money by raising taxes or cutting some other program. Or you lay off the SRO.

It gets better. Look at Urban Renewal, which receives tax-generated revenues from the Tax Increment District (TID). Urban Renewal makes low-interest loans and grants from those funds. The problem is not the loans, but the grants. Just like Federal government, Urban Renewal can take tax revenues and redistribute them to private, for-profit businesses. Does it have to be a business? I have a house in the TID. Can I have some of your tax money to fix it up, so the TID presents a better overall image, improving the "shopping experience"? Why not?

I used the dread "R" word. "Redistribute". Urban Renewal, like our beloved state and Federal governments, is in the business of redistributing wealth, and has been since long before The Obamanians came on the scene.

The government's purpose is no longer related to that "... form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity ..." and it has not been so for quite some time. Its purpose is to take money from one group of citizens and redistribute it, often quite arbitrarily, to others, who may or may not be citizens.

Shoveling your money from your private pockets into the private pockets of another individual is so far removed from the purpose of government as designed by the Framers as to be total fiction. It seems that our elected officials in both parties at all levels of government have completely misread that "... promote the general welfare ..." business. Remember that "... and the Republic for which it stands ..." concept? Where is the Republic these days?

So. Let's go spend a few hundred thousand local tax bucks on the Kit Carson and the Tabares building, and then see if we can get a few million of those free Federal bucks as well. America's entrepreneurs don't see a viable market value for either one, or they'd be investing in them with a plan to make a (dirty word coming up) "profit". So let’s use tax dollars redistributed by government to do … what? Fund a hangout for AMTRAK passengers? And how long are they in town these days?

Or let's just quit messing around with this nonsense and bulldoze them both into parking lots. If we don't have customers to park in them, we can always put those great looking planters in them. I think there's a grant available for that.

Or maybe Imam Achmed could build a mosque there ...

Romer bails

Christy Romer, Obama's top dog among his economic advisors, is jumping ship:

Romer leaves

"Christy Romer has provided extraordinary service to me and our country during a time of economic crisis and recovery," Obama said in a written statement. "The challenges we faced demanded more of Christy than any of her predecessors, and I greatly valued and appreciated her skill, commitment and wise counsel.

Sure.

What he really means is that since she can't seem to choke down as much of the purple Kool-Aid as he would like, she's outa there:

She also was reported to have butted heads with other members of Obama's economic team, in particular Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council.

In December, the she sand Summers even seemed to contradict each other -- in interviews conducted on the same day -- on whether the recession had ended.

"Everybody agrees that the recession is over," Summers said.

"Of course not," Romer said in a separate interview.


Not getting along well with the Emperor's Wardrobe admirers, is she?

Her resignation comes as the White House labors to convince the public that the economy is on the right track amid near-double digit unemployment.

And then we have the obligatory smoke-blowing from Summers:

One administration official, speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss internal relations at the White House, downplayed any tension between Romer and Summers, saying the pair often emerged as strong allies.

Summers said Monday night that Romer has been "an extraordinary friend and colleague at the White House," and he looked forward to drawing on her advice in the future.


Sounds good, doesn't it.

Pass the Kool-Aid. And don't worry about the $600 million our CongressClowns just added to the bill; they'll just borrow more from the Chinese, who after all, have some experience with building walls that don't work.

8/3/10

More mosque madness

So the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted not to grant landmark status to the piece of crap building that has to come down to make room for 'the mosque'.

And of course people are going Alpha Sierra over it.

The commission is a government entity. The commission cannot vote to make a piece of crap building an 'historical landmark', when it obviously is not, just to keep a religious group from building a church/mosque/synagogue/sacrificial altar/whatever.

What was the basis for the demand that it be declared a 'landmark'?

A piece of one of the airplanes fell on it, on 9/11. C'mon. Who is kidding who?

But of course, we can't tell our red-blooded all-American patriots that. Nope. They're too busy ranting and raving like ... red-blooded all-American patriots.

The Constitution? WTF is that?

8/2/10

The Power of the States

By Governor Gary Johnson

As the Governor of New Mexico, I spent eight years dealing with issues unique and specific to our state – addressing immigration, education, the privatization of our prison system, ways to streamline state agencies, and keeping our spending under control. During those eight years, we proved that, with a little common sense and by embracing the reality that government is not the answer to every question, spending can be controlled, bureaucracy can be reduced, and individuals can manage their own lives. Last December, after growing not just alarmed, but angry at the direction of the current government in Washington, we launched the OUR America Initiative to help give voice to those same ideas I put to work in New Mexico. Since then I’ve been traveling around the country, visiting a total of 23 states so far. During these travels, I’ve realized more than ever that not only are Americans ready for a very different direction, but that each of the 50 states must deal with its own unique set of challenges, needs and priorities.
As a nation, we’ve all been hearing a lot about states’ rights lately, particularly in the context of Arizona’s immigration reform law, and the Obama Administration’s very bad decision to challenge that state law in court.

I have said that I would not have signed the Arizona immigration law, because I’m concerned it could lead to racial profiling. But, having served as Governor of another border state, New Mexico, I empathize with Arizona’s frustration, and absolutely support the prerogative of that state’s officials to act. Think about it: Congress and the Federal Government have failed, due to political cowardice, to do anything meaningful about immigration reform; yet when a desperate border state does decide to do something, the Feds go running into court claiming that Arizona is trying to usurp their authority.

The situation in Arizona is a crystallizing example of how the Federal government has taken the very limited authority granted it by the Constitution and expanded that authority to make a mockery of States’ Rights and primacy. How many times have we heard in the weeks since the Arizona law was enacted that “Immigration is a Federal issue?” Certainly, securing our border and managing the flow of people across that border is an appropriate Federal role – consistent with the Constitution. But, where is it written in the founding documents that a state doesn’t have the right to enact its own laws and policies relating to immigrants, both legal and illegal, who choose to enter and reside in that state?

I would suggest that just the opposite is true. Every state is different, and is presented with its own challenges and opportunities related to immigration – and countless other issues. Rather than trying, as the Obama Administration is doing, to stop Arizona from implementing its own approach, we should be encouraging the states to be the policy laboratories they were intended to be in our Federal system.

Arizona feels it needs to enact state law to deal with illegal immigrants. Similarly, employers and farm producers in a state like Colorado need a guest worker program that actually meets their needs for reliable, economical and legal seasonal labor. Each state needs a system where willing employers and willing immigrant workers can connect in a practical, realistic and most importantly, legal, way. And if Congress lacks the courage to enact that kind of system, why shouldn’t state legislators be free to come up with policies that serve their unique needs? That is what state primacy and federalism are all about, and should be encouraged – not punished -- by an overreaching Federal government.

Immigration is the issue that is right in front of us today, but it is just the tip of the states’ rights iceberg. Education, welfare, health care, drug policy: These are just a few of the issues that have been slowly but surely usurped by the Feds – with no real basis in the Constitution or the clear intent of the Founders. As the Honorary Chairman of the Our America Initiative, challenging these Federal power grabs is one of my highest priorities. Someone needs to ask the obvious questions about why the Federal government insists on doing so much, spending so much, and attempting to ultimately control so many local issues. We can see where their approach has gotten us: Borrowing 43 cents of every dollar the government spends, with no end in sight.
The time has never been better for a long-overdue reassessment of the balance of power between the Federal government and the 50 individual states. If it takes a controversial Arizona immigration law, or an insane Federal takeover of health care to bring this debate to a head, so be it. Let’s have this debate and let common sense – and genuine states’ rights – prevail.

GARY JOHNSON is the honorary chairman of the OUR America Initiative (www.ouramericainitiative.com), a 501(c)(4) advocacy committee. He is also the former Republican Governor of New (1994-2002), and has been a consistent and outspoken advocate for efficient government and lowering taxes.

The Constitution vs. The State

Brother Glenn was on another rant recently, this time about the Pledge of Allegiance and the Godless pinko lefties who refuse to recite it or who want “God” taken out of it. Either position seems to “Excite the Right” into those well-known fits of patriotic fury. Beck really exploits that. He knows exactly what buttons to push as he tells the right how and what to think.

Before the turn of the 20th century, few classrooms displayed US flags. Flags in general were not as common as today. This seems odd, considering that Manifest Destiny was at its crest then. Manifest Destiny is the idea that Americans have a divinely ordained right to everything from sea to shining sea. After all, If God could ordain that Israel had a right to Canaan, why could not God - who had, after all, shed his Grace on Us - not ordain the same thing for Americans and America? And if God could have Joshua and his minions drive out the heathens who already lived in Canaan, why could Americans not drive out the heathens who already occupied America? It all made perfect sense and it was Scripturally supportable.

For Columbus Day 1892 the publisher of the "The Youth's Companion" pushed a contest "... to encourage patriotism and the display of the American flag in public schools ...". The magazine sold flags as a marketing scheme to boost subscriptions, eventually selling flags to over 26,000 schools. I don’t know if the scheme increased subscriptions, nor do I know if the publisher owned the company that made the flags, but we do know that a fellow who worked for the company, Francis Bellamy, is credited with writing a bit of doggerel to put some 'oomph' into the flag sales. That was the first version of what is now The Pledge of Allegiance. A dispute over whether Bellamy or someone else wrote the verse was settled through an investigation by the United States Flag Association, reporting in 1939 that Bellamy was the One True Author. It was kind of like a modern day Council of Chalcedon.

Bellamy, a Baptist minister and Christian Socialist, was eventually defrocked for his views, on which he wrote and preached extensively. His sermon series on “Socialism in the Primitive Church” may have been a tipping point on that defrocking. We'd have to ask Glenn Beck about that. Or maybe Mikhail Gorbachev, who said “Jesus was the first socialist, the first to seek a better life for mankind.” Francis Bellamy was greatly influenced by his vehemently socialist cousin Edward Bellamy, who wrote "Looking Backward", the third most popular literary work of its time. If Manifest Destiny was in, so was a widespread interest in socialism, a point Historical Researcher Beck seems to have ignored. In the novel, the main character falls asleep in 1887, wakens ala Rip Van Winkle in 2000, and finds America is a socialist 'utopia'. All industry has been nationalized; everyone works for the state; conscripted to serve the state at 21 with retirement at 45; all workers earning the same wages. Bellamy doesn't mention single-payer healthcare or a public option, so we can only imagine ...

The 'under God' thing simmered but brewed up during the McCarthy witchhunts. The Knights of Columbus pushed the addition, and President Eisenhower went for it. Interestingly, Eisenhower had been raised in a Jehovah's Witness household, and was baptized in the Presbyterian church only a year before the inclusion of 'under God'. The Jehovah's Witnesses had sued over being required to recite the Pledge, having the quaint idea that they pledged allegiance to no entity but God. Not to worry, for they were beaten senseless by red-blooded all-American super patriots, who were determined to teach them all about real American values.

Today we have a bit of doggerel which we repeat in Pavlovian fashion, pledging allegiance to the State and not the idea of the free individual, imbued with certain divinely endowed inalienable rights. To the State, in fine socialist fashion. To the State, not the Constitution. They are not one and the same, which is illustrated perfectly with recent immigration issues.

Six times during my life I have sworn or re-sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution - not the State. Your mileage may vary, but I find that oath far more powerful than a childish socialistic pledge of questionable origin, and I neither require nor desire the approval of anyone regarding my concept of 'patriotism.’ But what the hey ... I suppose a Stürme of red-blooded all-American patriots could beat me senseless and teach me all about real American values.

What exactly is it to which you are pledging your allegiance? It says right there in the Declaration of Independence: But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

The Republic may or may not operate under Constitutional principles. So long as it does, we're all in good shape. When it does not, we are not. The Constitution and the State, the Republic, are not one and the same. One is inviolable. The other can be corrupted beyond redemption by the weakness of man.

My oath and pledge are to the Constitution.

You do whatever works for you.

City Park, Sunday evening

08.01.2010:

Much discussion over The Two-inch Perch.



City Park fountain.


City Park fountain.


Steely-eyed fishermen scan the depths for denizens of the deep.


An aforementioned denizen is spotted ...


City Park fountain.