Saturday, March 22, 2008

Free Kittens

Little Suzy had a box of very small kittens that she was trying to give away, so she had them out on the street corner with a sign "FREE KITTENS" next to them. Suddenly a long line of big black cars came up with a policeman on a motorcycle in front. The cars all stopped and a tall man stepped out from the biggest car. "Hi, little girl, what do you have there in the box?" he asked.

"Kittens" Little Suzy says.

"They're so small, their eyes are not even open yet." "What kind of kittens are they?" he asked.

"Democrats" says Little Suzy.

The tall man smiled, returned to his car and they drove away. Sensing a good photo opportunity, Sen. Obama called his campaign manager and told him about the little girl with the kittens. It was planned that they would return the next day, have all the media there and tell everyone about these "democrat" kittens. The next day, Little Suzy is standing out on the corner with her box of kittens with the "FREE KITTENS" sign and the big motorcade of black cars pulled up with all the vans and trucks from ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. Everyone had their cameras ready and then Sen. Obama got out of his limo and walked up to Little Suzy. "Now don't be frightened," he said, I just want you to tell all these nice news people just what kind of kittens you're giving away today."

"Yes sir," Suzy said, "they are all REPUBLICAN kittens."

Taken by surprise, Sen. Obama said, "But yesterday you told me they were DEMOCRATS."

Little Suzy says, "Yes, I know. But, today they have their eyes open."

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Obama’s ‘A More Perfect Union’ speech.

In response to criticism of his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and his close relationship to Rev. Wright, Barack Obama made a brilliant and eloquent speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

“Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed”, said Omaba.

“He made comments that are simply inexcusable,” said Omaba “but I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community,” he went on to say.

Omaba also said, his own white grandmother, whom he loves, had made racist remarks.

Omaba tried to elevate the discussion beyond his association with Reverend Wright and the comments made by the Reverend and instead address the state of race relations in America. He discussed and justified the anger felt by many Blacks in America, but also acknowledged the anger that Whites feel when they have been victims of the reverse discrimination of affirmative action. “When they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time,” said Obama.

There were several points made it this speech that hit a responsive chord with me:

· Obama said the comments by Rev. Wright were inexcusable. That was a good place to start.

· He still likes the man, and he also loves his own
grandmother who had racist tendencies.
I can relate to that. Many of us may be related to or have friendships with a person who is bigoted. If you are in the presence of someone who makes a bigoted, racist, prejudicial, or ignorant comment, do you often set quietly? If you do. then by your failure to speak up, you are tacitly implying your agreement. I have done it. One may do it because you simply don’t want to have an argument, because you don’t want to be distracted from the objective at hand, because you care for the person and are willing to overlook their flaws, or for any number of reasons.

· Obama said, “I’m sure many of you have heard remarks
from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.”
Yes! I am unchurched at the present time, but over the years I have set and cringed many times at things I have heard from the pulpit, and yet I have gone back the very next Sunday. How many people have heard their ministers insult their intelligence by preaching that the world is only 6000 years old? How many people have heard their ministers say that the destruction visited upon New Orleans by Katrina was God’s judgment for the wickedness of the city, or other such stupidity? I am sure many good people have set and heard their minister make stupid, ignorant or bigoted statements, yet stayed in the church.

· Acknowledgment of the legitimacy of white resentment.
I am not sure if Obama earned a pass with this speech or not, but he came close.

When Senate Republican leader Trent Lott of Mississippi spoke at the retiring Senator Strom Thurman’s 100th birthday party celebration and said complementary things about Senator Thurmond, he was severely criticized and was forced to relinquish his leadership in the Senate. I gave Senator Lott a pass and thought he got a raw deal. If I was willing to give Senator lot a pass, then does not Obama deserve the same?

If Obama’s relationship with Reverend Wright had been a more casual relationship, I would conclude he earned a pass, but the 20 years of sitting in the pews and never leaving the church or publicly criticizing the man and the very close relationship causes me only to be almost persuaded.

I can’t judge Obama’s heart. I don’t know if the speech he gave was a sincere gut-wrenching pouring out of his heart, or if Obama is just another slick politician who masterfully walked a political tightrope to extricate himself from a terribly embarrassing situation. In any event, the speech was well crafted. I certainly do not agree with most of the populist analysis of what ails America that Obama laid out in that speech, but his honest discussion of race may go down in history as a turning point. It may be a speech that brackets an era.

If you missed the speech, you ought to watch it. This speech may soon be forgotten, or it could be one of those speeches that stand the test of time and is ranked with the “I have a Dream” speech, the “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” speech, or the “Ask not what your Country can do for you” speech.

Here is the Speech.

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Reverend Wright Preaches the Gospel of Hate

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s pastor of twenty years, says AIDs-HIV was engineered by the U. S government to wipe out “people of color”, that the drug problem in the Black community is a result of a government plot to victimize Blacks and to supply the prison industry with inmates, that the 9-11 attack on America was justified due to American racism in the world. He compares the United States to the Ku Klux Klan and calls on God not to bless America but to damn America. Below is an ABC news video clip that features bits of sermons showing the bombastic, racist, rant of the Reverend Wright.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Farmers Feeding at the Federal Trough

Amber Waves of Green

March 13, 2008; Page A18 Wall Street Journal (link)

When it comes to picking taxpayer pockets, no one -- not the trial lawyers or even AARP -- has it over the farm lobby. How's this for clout? Though last year was one of the best ever for farm incomes -- up 44% to $87.5 billion -- farmers are about to score the most lavish subsidies in American history.

The House and Senate are now ironing out differences between their bills, and it's all but certain that farmers will get about $26 billion over the next five years in subsidies. Soybean and wheat farmers are slated to receive higher price supports, though bean prices hit a 34-year high last year and wheat prices have soared to a new record.

Corn producers will get subsidies of $10.5 billion over five years, which is on top of the deal of a lifetime these farmers were handed when Congress expanded ethanol subsidies. The handouts make growing corn so profitable that last year some 15.3 million acres were converted to new corn production, according to the USDA. That has a cascading effect on other prices, as farmers convert bean acreage to more lucrative corn fields and feed prices for meat producers climb.

Commentary: Farmers Feeding at the Federal Trough

I don’t get it. Farm prices are up, but so are government price supports for farm products. A married couple farming full time can have an income of up to $2 million a year before they lose their eligibility for a taxpayer subsidy. We enrich the corporate factory farmers. Our farm policy keeps some people farming who don’t need to farm. We pay other farmers not to farm. We keep the poor of the world poor and undermine our advocacy of free trade.

We subsidize the production of corn syrup to the point that it is so cheap that it is added to things that don’t need corn syrup such as peanut butter and the crackers you put the peanut butter on. And all that corn syrup makes Americans very fat. Speaking of fat, fat cats like Ted Turner, David Letterman and David Rockefeller get farm subsidies. All the while, we are increasing the price of groceries to the American consumer. This is nuts! Speaking of nuts, they are subsidized too, especially peanuts. The farm bill needs to be vetoed. We need to stop this welfare for farmers and we need to get government out of the business of setting farm prices.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Double Life of Barack Obama

Wright is wrong for America. (link)
By Thomas Sowell

There is something both poignant and galling about the candidacy of Barack Obama.

Any American, regardless of party or race, has to find it heartening that the country has reached the point where a black candidate for president of the United States sweeps so many primaries in states where the overwhelming majority of the population is white. We have all seen the crowds enthralled by Barack Obama’s rhetoric and theatrical style. Many of his supporters put their money where their mouths were, so that this recently arrived senator received more millions of dollars in donations than candidates who have been far more visible on the national stage for far more years.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Barack Obama has been leading as much of a double life as Eliot Spitzer.

While talking about bringing us together and deploring “divisive” actions, Senator Obama has for 20 years been a member of a church whose minister, Jeremiah Wright, has said that “God Bless America” should be replaced by “God damn America” — among many other wild and even obscene denunciations of American society, including blanket racist attacks on whites.

Comment: I at first ignored the criticism of Obama as it related to his church affiliation. I had seen the lies that branded Obama a closet Muslim extremist and assumed the reports that he belonged to a racist Black nationalist church to be more of the same. Once I saw the evidence against his pastor, I still cut Senator Obama some slack. After all, some Republicans I admire go to Bob Jones University to campaign and BJU has a past that some might categorize as racist. Many Republicans courted the late Jerry Falwell, and they court the 700 Club's Pat Robinson. Both of these men have said some outrageous things, especially Mr. Robinson. I thought I ought to extend to Senator Obama the same leeway as I do those Republicans who associate with BJU and Pat Robinson.

However, I think that Senator Obama must be judged by his associations with the Reverend Wright. Mr. Obama has more than just a casual association. He has been a member of that church for over twenty years, and his children were baptized in that church. Mr. Obama has made large financial contributions to the church and calls Reverend Wright his mentor.

Mr. Wright has not just occasionally uttered an absurdity taken out of context but apparently has consistently preached a message of racism and hatred of America. Copies of his sermons and excepts of his preaching are available. Reverend Wright went with Louis Farrakhan to Libya and Farrakhan received an award from the church.

Mr. Obama has tried to position himself as above the racial divide. It saddens me to have to face the truth about Obama. I doubt that I could have ever voted for him, despite my discontent with the Republican Party. Obama has an ADA rating of a perfect 100% and is one of the most liberal member of the U. S. Congress. His promise to immediately begin a military pull out of Iraq without regard to the consequences scares me. I am concerned about his inexperience and apparent naivete. Nevertheless, I thought Mr. Obama was a decent person, and brought more dignity to the office than his Democratic rival. I thought his success showed that America was over it's prejudice past and that skin color did not matter. Dispite not agreeing with his politics, I thought he was a breath of fresh air.

If a leading white candidate for President had set in a church for 2o years that preached racial prejudice, the church had given an award to David Duke, and yet the candidate contributed to that church and called the church pastor his mentor, we would weigh that in considering the candidates fitness for office. We should likewise consider Senator Obama's association with the Reverend Wright, in the same light.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Toward a Nuclear-Free World

By GEORGE P. SHULTZ, WILLIAM J. PERRY, HENRY A. KISSINGER and SAM NUNNJanuary 15, 2008; Page A13, Wall Street Journal (link)

The accelerating spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear know-how and nuclear material has brought us to a nuclear tipping point. We face a very real possibility that the deadliest weapons ever invented could fall into dangerous hands.
The steps we are taking now to address these threats are not adequate to the danger. With nuclear weapons more widely available, deterrence is decreasingly effective and increasingly hazardous.

One year ago, in an essay in this paper, we called for a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately to end them as a threat to the world. The interest, momentum and growing political space that has been created to address these issues over the past year has been extraordinary, with strong positive responses from people all over the world.

Commentary: It is time for worldwide nuclear disarmament. It is time to sit in place mechanism that assure nuclear weapons do not fall into the wrong hands. Times have changed. The Soviet threat is over. It is time to make nuclear disarmament a goal and a priority.

Many, especially those on the right, will resist the effort to disarm. Unfortunately people get locked into a position and do not change their position despite changes in circumstances. During the cold war, we needed to insure that we had parity if not supremacy in the nuclear arms race. We had to be armed to keep the peace. At times, a nuclear build-up was even necessary so we could have a bargaining chip to advance further nuclear arms control. We could not afford to be weak or be in second place.

The Nuclear Freeze movement was naïve. Some of those advocating unilateral nuclear disarmament may have been disloyal and had objectives of advancing the cause of our enemies. Unilateral disarmament would have been folly and would have assured America’s destructions. Mutual arms reduction agreements without verification would have been irresponsible and foolish. However, that was then and this in now. In a war against modern terrorist, the logic of Mutual Assured Destruction does not apply.

Those who only became politically aware since the end of the cold war or who were not paying attention, may not be aware of how close we came to the horror of nuclear annihilation. While the threat is different than at the height of the cold war, the threat of nuclear war is still real. The new nuclear threat is that terrorist or rouge states can get and use nuclear weapons. While we remain the only super power, we should do all we can now to remove the threat of nuclear war.

The people who authored this call to disarm are hard-nosed realist and old cold warriors. Kissenger, Shultz and Sam Nunn are not moonbeam, starry-eyed leftist, or Hollywood airheads. You do not have to be an old hippie humming “Imagine” to see the logic of freeing the World of Nuclear weapons. When Reagan was president he called for "the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth." That day should be today.

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Calls for Congress to reform spending practices immediately
U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) today took the next step in his call for Congress to reform its wasteful spending habits, announcing that he will not submit “earmark” funding requests for fiscal year 2009. In foregoing earmarks, Cooper said he would support a Congress-wide moratorium this year as well as a bipartisan review of directed spending, such as one proposed yesterday by Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI).

“With America facing record deficits, a serious economic slowdown and a long-term budget crisis, now is the time for Congress to lead by example,” said Cooper, a senior member of the House Budget Committee. “For a dozen years, no one minded the store in Washington, and pork-barrel spending got out of control. We in the 110th Congress should be the ones who put a stop to that. Let’s place a moratorium on earmarks until Congress can decide the most equitable and efficient way to fund projects that benefit the American people.”
By 2005, earmarks had risen to consume $23.5 billion of federal spending, according to the nonpartisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense. In 2007, after taking control of Congress, Democrats introduced new transparency requirements and aimed to reduce the number of earmarks inserted in spending bills. However, money directed for special projects still takes up $18.3 billion of federal spending in 2008.

Cooper has long called for an end to the earmark process, earning past praise from good government groups for his 100 percent voting record on “Flake amendments” to strip wasteful spending projects. According to media reports, he becomes the fourth House Democrat to call for a one-year moratorium on earmarks. In the Senate, the three leading presidential candidates of both parties have joined the call for a moratorium.

"This is a great opportunity to do what's right and put a stop to ATM politics," said Cooper. "I believe Americans are way ahead of their elected leaders on some pretty basic wisdom: don't spend money you don't have, and what you do have, spend wisely. Congress should live up to such a reasonable standard."

My Comment: Jim Cooper is my kind of Democrat. Congressman Cooper scores a 75% from Citizens Against Government Waste which is the second highest ranking of any Democrat by that organization. In addition to voting the right way, Mr. Cooper has been an outspoken advocate for social security reform and other fiscally responsible measures and has been a consistent critic of reckless spending. Keep up the good work, Congressman.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

President Bush funny slip of the lips

President Bush is not very articulate; bless his heart.
You may have seen some of these before, but here in one place are some of the best of Bush.
No one could make this stuff up!

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