Quote of the day...
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
Democrats overwhelmingly rejected the vote. Republicans overwhelmingly attempted to move the bill forward.
Again, I am waiting for the outcry from the left.
So why has the American Samoan exemption remained in the bill through to its final version? Ms. Pelosi promised to include the impovrished state after Republicans exposed the dubious exemption. She also promissed to run the House with a higher standard for ethics.
If a higher minimu wage is good for all the other territories, then surely it would be good for one of the most poor.
I am waiting for the outcry from the left ...
Thursday, January 25, 2007
However, we have seen how fiscal discipline leads to vilification in today's mains stream media and left wing blog-o-sphere. When President Bush vowed to limit the growth of spending on the Education Department (a middle-man organization that prevents millions of dollars from reaching the local schools) he was accused of sacrificing our children's education in favor of small government (of course than fact that spending actually increased was largely ignored- it did not grow at the rate his critics wanted it to, so they attacked him).
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Some background for anyone who is not aware of the circumstances leading up to this funny, brilliant display of Congressmen behaving badly:
On Jan 10, in the 63rd hour of Nancy Pelosi's self-lauded "1st Hundred Hours" the house passed a bill to raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour. This wage increase was seen as so critical to the well-being of millions of low-wage earners, that the House made sure to extend its reach beyond the 50 states (and the District of Colombia) to all outlying American territories, which has some of the lowest wages in the west. All outlying areas, except one: American Samoa.
American Samoa: Where the current minimum wage is $2.68 / hour! American Samoa: Where the citizens do NOT deserve the same living wage that the rest of us do, apparently. American Samoa: Where a certain tuna company in Madam Speaker's San Francisco district would be exempt from the minimum wage increase!
So a handful of House Republicans took matters into their own hands: during a "debate" of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, Representative Patrick McHenry of North Carolina attempted, several times, to introduce an amendment that would exempt American Samoa from the new act. A lively discussion ensued, as you will see if you watch the footage.
Congressman McHenry deserves to be commended for his civil disobedience. Barney Frank deserves the same for sticking to the house rules and shutting the Republicans down using only the rules at his disposal to do so (even though his enforcement of those rules is hypocritical based on his tantrums on the floor when he was in the minority). The Republicans staged a protest, for the right reasons, during a parliamentary procedure. In doing so, they broke the established House rules. However, they were successful in making more of the public aware of the shameless amendment, and in getting Madam Speaker to correct her "oversight" and ensure that American Samoa would be subject to the same minimum wage increase as the other territories (too bad so many Samoans will lose their jobs as a result, but that's another post).
Watch the video. Please. It's entertaining. But more importantly, it is very revealing. This was supposed to be a debate over the stem-cell bill. But Nancy Pelosi was nowhere to be found! Frank was sitting in for her. Apparently, Madam Pelosi does not take seriously her pledge to be "Speaker of the House", not "Speaker of the House Democrats". The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act passed 253-174.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
"why would someone so talented with words, so capable of expressing truth in the most comical and beautiful ways write such a horrendously insulting parody of Condoleeza Rice?"
I try very hard not to resort to name calling when having a disagreement, and to respect the opinions of every one who feels compelled to express them. It's not always easy. Being a conservative / libertarian in
That being said, most of my friends are equally respectful of my views, and I daresay I have helped them see the world from a different point of view.
Again, it is not easy to take the “high-road” and not to resort to the sort of name-calling that seems to come so easily to most of the talking heads on TV. It is very difficult at times. But I make it work. I refuse. And I grow a little stronger every time I don’t give in to such childish behavior.
However, there are certain people who exhibit such a lack of restraint, such an intellectual void that causes them to transcend normal, civil discourse that I can’t help but believe that they are intent making everyone as miserable as they are. For the purposes of this blog, a Miserablist is someone who seems like a rational, reasonable person, who has exhibited true talent in communication, but who is unable to support their ideas and opinions without insulting someone.
In my mind the term “Miserablist” is not an insult. It is a description.
Nora Ephron is responsible for many wonderful, funny, and touching films and books- her contribution to “When Harry Met Sally” has earned her my gratitude forever! So why would someone so talented with words, so capable of expressing truth in the most comical and beautiful ways write such a horrendously insulting parody about Condoleeza Rice? You can read “Condi’s Diary” here.
In short, it portrays the Secretary of State as an air-head, totally unaware of her own culpability in the current war, as well as her own achievements within the current administration. She is “drawn” with the intellectual capacity of a 12 year-old. When one of her “rivals”, Harriet Myers submits her registration, Ephron’s Condi is euphoric: “A big victory pour moi. They forced her out. Goodbye Harriet, good riddance to you and your royal blue suit” Of course, Ms Ephron does not dare to try to explain why Condi would consider this a victory. So we are left to assume that Nora knows best and it must be funny!
After an exchange where Nancy Pelosi asked Madam Secretary what personal sacrifice they (both Pelosi and Rice) would be making for this war since they could not offer their children or husbands (I’m being nice!), we are treated to this: “…[Karl Rove and Tony Snow] were calling to ask about what Barbara Boxer said to me at the hearing. I felt so dumb, Dear Diary. It turned out she had really insulted me, but I was so busy wrinkling my forehead I hadn't really clocked it.”
Huh? Condoleeza Rice sincerely and elegantly avoids distraction from the discussion, and Nora draws her as too stupid to realize when she is being insulted.
There is much more, but you can read for yourself.
How does a respected journalist, screenwriter, author, director, etc, use her talents in such a horrendously childish way? Envy? Ephron graduated from Wellesley, a fine school. However Rice earned her PhD and won several prestigious awards when she was Professor of Political Science at
So why would someone with so much talent use such a vile vehicle to dress down such an accomplished woman?
I think it’s quite clear. Insults in the guise of comedy cause the audience to lose focus. It’s easy to make a point without backing it up if the reader is laughing or appalled. Clearly Ms. Ephron does not have the intellectual gravitas to truly stand up to the (outstanding, in my humble opinion) Secretary of State.
Nora Ephrom- This week's Miserablist.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Apparently, 20,000 troops is not "a LOT". While John McCain is calling for 35 ,000, Larry Elder says we need 100,000! They both support the President's new plan. McCain claims that the President's 21,500 "meet his criteria" (of 35,000? Huh?) while Larry Elder would have preferred a much larger expansion.
I would tend to agree. However, I think the President is on the right track, finally, and I hope the troop level increase will provide the US with enough manpower to start to turn Iraq around.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Change the course! That is how the president framed his new plan to stabilize
One question for the A.L.F. claiming to be George W. Bush this evening: Who are you and what have you done with our President? And, why couldn’t you deliver this speech repeatedly over the last 4 years?
Overall, the speech tonight was strong message that spelled out exactly what is at stake for the U.S. in Iraq, what American’s should expect to accomplish the mission and how it will be accomplished. Remember The Powell Doctrine?
First, the President admitted that he expected the destruction of the Hussein Regime to bring Iraqis together. Why he thought that I will never know. Wishful thinking? Maybe. But, while I supported the move to invade
Still, a President who rarely accepts responsibility acknowledged that the blame rested squarely on him. Perhaps if he had said that prior to the invasion, all the “Darth Cheney” and “Lord Rumsfeld” rumors would never have surfaced. It’s a crucial step for this President.
However, the most powerful statement the President made this evening was to reiterate that the loss of
Mr. Bush’s description of an
As for the practical- well, I guess those Generals on the ground are finally asking for more troops, because Mr. Bush is allocating 20,000 more!! Sorry to sound so glib, but that’s a LOT! If in fact the Generals were holding back when they needed that many new troops, they should be court marshaled. However, since the President has accepted responsibility, I can overlook that gross dereliction of duty.
Seriously- everyone knew the troop levels were too low over 3 years ago. While the increase is welcome (my best wishes and sincere thanks go with them), it’s long overdue. The President needs to explain why he waited so long to do this. He should also immediately bring Colin Powell and John McCain on as his dedicated advisors in
The expansion of
However, President Bush recognized the immediate danger and warned us that we will see more blood, more death and more destruction throughout the coming year. But he also described a world with a stable, secure and DEMOCRATIC
There is much more to discuss, and I will update this post over the next few days. I have not read the transcript yet- so far this post is based solely on the notes I scribbled during the speech. My overall reaction is that it was a powerful speech, and
President Bush accepts responsibility, finally.
More troops will help root out the insurgents and keep them out.
There will be much more bloodshed in the months to come.
By November, a new era of democracy and security in
Godspeed Mr. President. I hope it’s not too late.
Sunday, January 7, 2007
Thanks to an ever-expanding, and misrepresentation of, the meaning of “pursuit of happiness”, our government has systematically deprived too many of our most vulnerable citizens this vital right.
Upon the founding of the
No doubt over the last 225 years, our government has done an excellent job of protecting our lives and liberties. However, thanks to an ever-expanding, and misrepresentation of, the meaning of “pursuit of happiness”, our government has systematically deprived too many of our most vulnerable citizens this vital right.
To most of us, the emphasis falls naturally on “pursuit”. We understand that the constitution guarantees that all of us have a right to the pursuit of happiness. It does not guarantee that we will achieve it. American citizens were once expected to build their lives on their own volition, their own motivation, and their own desires. Families conquered Nature to serve their needs, and built a great nation along the way. As long as you did not interfere with the rights of another man, you were not expected to answer to anyone. You were left alone to pursue your happiness. If something got in the way, you either overcame it, or succumbed to it. The government was not available to bail you out for bad decisions, or bad luck.
Over the 20th century, however, politicians and elected officials shifted the emphasis to “happiness”, leading many Americans to believe that happiness itself is a right, to the detriment of the original intent of our Founding Fathers. Today, our founding fathers would be shocked and dismayed to see how the very means of happiness- wealth derived from productivity- is being deprived of the many to secure the happiness of the few, via the vast welfare state and entitlements.
Too many Americans each year fall below the poverty line because their taxes are raised, local fees escalate, and prices on goods skyrocket because our Government needs the money to make sure others are happy with healthcare, good schools, and “fair” wages. These Americans are being denied their right to pursue happiness while others live off of their hard-earned income.
It’s time for our Government to stop protecting our right to happiness, and start taking seriously its task of securing our right to Life,