Tuesday, January 27, 2009
We have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. When the real estate bubble burst, the local construction industry collapsed. This is a resort community that relies heavily on tourism, but with the recession, the tourists aren’t coming. That means restaurants close, hotels layoff staff and occupancy tax revenue plummets.
On top of all this, we have some of the worst schools in the state, gang violence is on the upswing, methamphetamine labs flourish, local agriculture languishes because the drought, while gays and straights are literally at each others’ throats about Proposition 8.
But have no fear. The federal government swung into action. On Monday, government agents raided a local merchant suspected of selling — illegal kilts!
Yep, that's right. Illegal kilts.
According to local news reports, federal agents with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service raided the Celtic Craft Centre hot on the trail of illegal imports, specifically Scottish kilts that might have been made with seal fur.
There are times when I don't know whether to laugh or weep.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
The Independent Institute has a transcription of Halbrook’s testomony.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Uh, how about “objective” Helen? When I was in journalism school, that’s what I was taught.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I have no patience for those who claim that America is just as racist as it was in years gone by. I remember those days. I remember federal troops in Little Rock. I remember Gov. George Wallace blocking the school door. I remember Sheriff “Bull” Conner and the fire hoses being turned on marchers in Birmingham. I remember the Freedom Riders. I remember separate drinking fountains and “white only” signs. I remember the fear. I remember the hate.
But mostly, I remember the sound of a Georgia preacher’s voice calling out. I remember him calling out, not just to his followers, but to his enemies as well. He told us that we were better men and women and that hate and fear shouldn’t divide us. He reminded is that we were all one people, regardless of skin color or religion. He didn’t defeat his enemies; he converted them.
That voice was heard. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act became the law of the land with the support of more than 80% of the Republicans in Congress and slightly more than 60% of the Democrats (among those opposing the measure were Klansman Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Al Gore’s late father who was a senator from Tennessee).
Those were heady days. Then the dream started to sour. Government programs aimed at aiding African Americans ended up causing mortal harm. The welfare structure effectively destroyed the black family. Other programs, such as affirmative action, conveyed the message to both African Americans and others that blacks were incapable of competing. Some claimed it was needed to fight vestiges of racism against minorities, while completely ignoring the success of Asian Americans, some of whom in modern times faced incarceration solely based on their ethnicity.
Whatever the intent, the effect was to make African Americans dependent upon government largess and intervention rather than encouraging their own genius.
What was perhaps even worse were Dr. King’s successors. They stood in the footsteps of a giant and were found wanting. His inheritors stood at the threshold of greatness … and stepped back.
Instead of following Dr. King’s message of inclusion, they preached a message of separation and divisiveness. Instead of finding strength in self and family, they found dependence upon the government.
Some of their leaders, specifically Jessie Jackson, Cynthia McKinney and Al Sharpton, have preached a strong message of anti-Semitism. Many leaders have refused to denounce or even distance themselves from such vile demagogues as Louis Farrakhan.As a nation, we honor Martin Luther King. His spirit soars in the heavens with angels, while many of his successors slither in the mud with an entirely different creature.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Remember “dissent is patriotic” and “don’t question my patriotism”? It seems that progressives have already forgotten.
How about last September when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called House Republicans “unpatriotic” for not attending a meeting concerning Congressional bailouts — never mind that the Republicans were never invited to the meeting!
Last December, Michigan’s Democrat Gov. Jennifer Granholm said any senator voting against an auto industry bailout was “un-American”.
The most recent example of left-wing hypocrisy comes from Hollywood. Actor Tom Hanks says he believes that anyone who contributed money to the Proposition 8 campaign is unpatriotic, “There are a lot of people who feel that is un-American, and I am one of them.”
But perhaps the winners of the Biggest Hypocrite Award are the backers of something called the “Prop 8 Maps Project.” These people used public finance records and Google Maps to create an online map locating contributors to Prop 8 and listing such information as their names, occupations and amount contributed.
I’ve read arguments in favor of this stating that if a person cares enough about an issue to support it financially, they should do so in public. If there are any consequences of such a disclosure, such as picketing, harassment or boycotts, well, maybe they’ll think twice before supporting an issue again.
I’d take this argument a lot more seriously if the organizers of the Prop 8 Maps Project had not chosen to remain anonymous.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Fred Barns, writing in The Weekly Standard, lists 10 things George W. Bush got right.
History will be far kinder to his legacy than the chattering classes want to believe.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Most of these appointments are not expected. Many seem unqualified for their positions, but the system is strong enough to survive most incompetents.
However, one appointment stands out as downright dangerous to the republic. That appointment is Eric Holder to be the nation’s top cop as attorney general.
A close examination of Holder’s record is horrifying. A disciple of the “living Constitution” concept, he has shown contempt for Constitutional rights with which he disagrees.
For example, he calls for what he terms “reasonable” restrictions on Web speech despite the near-blanket prohibition of prior restraint on speech and publication this country enjoys. Holder never really defines what constitutes reasonable restrictions on First Amendment rights, nor does he explain who will determine what is reasonable or unreasonable.
He is famous (or infamous) for his contempt of the Second Amendment. Long a holder of the discredited “collective rights” theory of gun ownership (a theory repudiated by both the U.S. Supreme Court and various legal scholars, including liberal law professor Laurence Tribe), he was one of 13 former Justice Department officials to sign an amicus brief on behalf of the D.C. government in the Heller case supporting a virtual ban on handgun ownership by citizens.
But it was his conduct as deputy attorney general under Janet Reno in the Clinton Administration that really merits close examination.
For example, what was his role in 1996 in dissuading Reno from investigating the illegal fundraising activities of the Vice President Al Gore?
Then there was the case of Elian Gonzales, the Cuban boy whose mother died while escaping from Castro’s tyranny. Reno ordered him returned to Cuba and had armed agents invade the Miami home in a pre-dawn raid where the boy was staying with relatives. The child was seized at gunpoint.
Law professor Tribe criticized the action as unconstitutional in an April 25, 2000, article in the New York Times, where he wrote, “Under the Constitution, it is axiomatic that the executive branch has no unilateral authority to enter people's homes forcibly to remove innocent individuals without taking the time to seek a warrant or other order from a judge or magistrate.”
Holder was disingenuous about the entire incident. Two weeks before the raid, the late journalist Tim Russert asked Holder, "You wouldn't send a SWAT team in the dark of night to kidnap the child, in effect?" Holder answered, "No, we don't expect anything like that to happen." When Russert challenged Holder the day after the raid, the deputy attorney general defended it by saying, "We waited 'til five in the morning, just before dawn."
Then there were the Clinton pardons in which Holder played a huge role. He was instrumental in obtaining a pardon for fugitive financier Marc Rich despite opposition of his own Justice Department. He also helped obtain pardons or commutations for 15 Puerto Rican terrorists, over the objections of the FBI. His affinity for extending clemency to terrorists included Weather Underground bombers Susan Rosenberg and Linda Evans, cronies of Obama’s notorious associates Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.
Holder’s record is clear — this man is not just unqualified to be the nation’s attorney general, he is dangerous.
Senate Republicans have promised to look closely at Holder during confirmation hearings. They must do more. Senate Republicans must block Holder’s appointment, even if it means holding a filibuster.