Monday, June 30, 2008

Editorial: Gun-law ruling reminder of what’s at stake this fall

Law schools looking to get their graduates into growth fields should consider adding courses in gun law.

In a 5-4 decision overturning Washington, D.C.'s near absolute ban on handguns, the Supreme Court settled one long running - it last visited the Second Amendment in 1939 - constitutional dispute, but it opened the way to a host of court suits over what kind of state and local gun regulation is constitutionally permissible.

The court effectively decoupled the first clause of the Second Amendment about the necessity of a well-regulated militia and what remained was unmistakably clear, as indeed the Framers likely intended: "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

Owning a gun for self-defense is now a right on a level with the other guarantees in the Constitution's Bill of Rights. The National Rifle Association almost immediately announced plans to file suit against similar bans in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia and Detroit.

While the 5-4 ruling was broad in its constitutional reading, the instant ruling applied only to bans on standard firearms - handguns, rifles, shotguns - kept in the home for self-defense and to another provision of the D.C. law that the court also overturned that long guns be kept inoperable.

Perhaps anticipating a flood of gun litigation, Scalia indicated that the high court would find a wide range of gun regulation, including registration, acceptable. For example, he specifically and wisely endorsed laws barring felons and the mentally ill from possessing firearms and bans on firearms in "sensitive places" like schools and government buildings. (One of the strictest bans, the ruling might have noted, is for the Capitol Hill complex that includes the court.)

But some of the language would seem to invite litigation. Scalia said it would be acceptable to ban "dangerous and unusual weapons." Perhaps that was to forestall the claim by gun opponents that a narrow reading of the Second Amendment would allow people to walk around carrying bazookas and machine guns. But it also seems to open the door to another fight over banning assault weapons.

Years from now, when all the legal smoke clears, we may find that the practical effect of this ruling only applied to a handful of large urban areas. But the bigger concern is that the court came within one vote - just one vote - of essentially nullifying the Second Amendment, which the founding fathers considered second in importance to only the First Amendment that guarantees free speech. Had swing Justice Anthony Kennedy swung the other way, that Amendment would henceforth be interpreted to mean that gun ownership was a right not conferred to individuals, but a collective right belonging only to those who belong to a "state militia" (i.e. National Guard or Reserve unit).

The fact that the fate of such a crucial Amendment hung in the balance so precariously is one more reminder of what's at stake in this fall's presidential race, as the next president may well wind up nominating three justices during his term. We thus would advise readers to choose wisely when they go to the polls.

(If anyone knows where I can sign up to participate in a "well regulated militia", please leave a comment! I want to make sure that my constitutional right is protected before some pansy is nominated by whom ever is elected this Fall 2008 to the Supreme Court and tries to take my guns away from me! Have people lost all common sense!? VN8)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Supreme Court Strikes Down D.C. Gun Ban, Upholds Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, the justices' first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Click here to read the full opinion on the Supreme Court Web Site.

(Amen, for some common sense. VN8)

Monday, June 23, 2008

I need a place for my stuff too George!

RIP George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Winnie the Pooh, we need you!

An aide to Barack Obama is convinced that we can learn something about terrorism and national security from Winnie the Pooh. In fact, not only is this just an aide, but this is Richard Danzig who has been tapped to become Obama's National Security Adviser. He also served as Navy Secretary under Bill Clinton.

At a major foreign policy conference in Washington, Danzig said that the future of America's strategy in the war on terror could follow a lesson from Winnie the Pooh: if it is causing you too much pain, try something else.

The military leaders of China, Russia and the world of Islamic radicalism must be out of breath with laughter at this point.

No folks, seriously. If things get too hard for America, we should simply give up and try something else. The man is actually using a children's book to strategize against something a serious and complex as Islamofascism.

Wait until some Obamabot discovers "The Rainbow Fish." Then we'll hear some suggestion about a redistribution of bling.

You want more? Here's another paragraph that he read to the Center for New American Security: "Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump on the back of his head behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming down stairs. But sometimes he thinks there really is another way if only he could stop bumping a minute and think about it."

Danzig says that the West can defeat individual terrorist groups and plots, but it will never be able to entirely remove the threat posed by nuclear proliferation or the prospect of bioterrorism.

Isn't that comforting? And this will be the guy whispering in Obama's ear about matters of national security.

John Murtha where are you?

Once a Marine, always a Marine? Well obviously not in the case of Congressman John Murtha! Shame on you. You found those Marines in Haditha guilty before there was an investigation or a trial. Have a little mud on your face?

Oh and while I'm at it, how'd that Abscam work out for you? Money for your district? Please, what are the people in Pennsylvania thinking?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Luke Russert talks about his dad.

Anyone remember Elian Gonzalez?

Well it seems that the 6 year old boy, now 14, whom America wanted to save from Communism has joined the ranks of the Communist Youth Movement and has stated that "he would never let ex-President Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castor down."

Elian Gonzalez, another casualty of communism in Cuba! Thank you Bill Clinton, thank you Janet Reno, you apparently did the right thing to keep one more soldier in the ranks of potential communism! "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!" Can anyone say, "brainwashed?" VN8

Birds of a feather?

I've always heard birds of a feather flock together. What do you think of Judge James Burge of Ohio having posters of Barack Obama along side Revolutionary Argentine Marxist Che Guevara?

Judge James Burge said the following regarding the posters: ''I tend to admire people who in my opinion go beyond their speech -- they actually do what they say,'' Burge said.

A judge in Ohio says the state’s method of putting prisoners to death is unconstitutional because two of three drugs used in the lethal injection process can cause pain.

Perhaps the judge would prefer execution by firing squad, the favorite of his boy Che Guevera in the background. Bullets are quicker and cheaper than the methods Ohio uses now, plus you can eliminate hindrances like a court system….if you’re following the Che/Castro methods.

What was Judge James Burg thinking? Better yet, what are they thinking in Obama Headquarters? VN8

Friday, June 13, 2008

Captain Kirk for President!

NBC News' Tim Russert Dead at 58

Tim Russert Dead of a a heart attack at 58.

Timothy John Russert, Jr. (May 7, 1950 – June 13, 2008[1]) was an American journalist who hosted NBC's Meet the Press from 1991 until his death in 2008. He was the Washington Bureau Chief for NBC News, and hosted Tim Russert, a weekly interview program on MSNBC. He was also a frequent correspondent and guest on other NBC News programs, such as The Today Show and Hardball. He co-hosted the network's presidential Election Night coverage. He also presented the polling results of the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey on the NBC Nightly News alongside the anchor of the show. Russert had diabetes and died of a heart attack at 1:14pm EDT on June 13, 2008.

Here's an interview from Rush Limbaugh with Tim Russert, 2004:

RUSH: We don’t have guests on this program, but we made an exception here for our friend Tim Russert of NBC News. Tim, how are you, first off? Nice to have you with us. It’s a real pleasure.

RUSSERT: It’s an honor to be here, Rush. Thank you very much.

RUSH: We put this together two weeks ago before the events of last Saturday and this week took place. We decided to go ahead and stick with it because I’m sure you have some Reagan stories, and before we get into the discussion of your book, let me ask you, Tim. As a journalist, what is your reaction to what you are seeing and hearing this week around the country and in Washington?

RUSSERT: Extraordinary. What we have seen is an outpouring of affection and respect for an American president. I have not observed or witnessed anything like it since the death of President Kennedy, and I was quite taken last night, Rush, as we showed some old footage of the Kennedy funeral which was the grainy black and white and people crying and sobbing, and in shock because of the assassination — and the contrast is so striking to the mood we saw in the streets of Washington last night. It was celebratory.

RUSH: Yeah.

RUSSERT: Because there was an understanding that President Reagan had lived an extraordinarily long and honorable life. And like in so many things, I had a long conversation with my dad about President Reagan, and dad’s instincts I think, are exactly right. He said, “You know, he told us exactly, early on about Alzheimer’s. He died in dignity, and he braced us for it. He prepared us for it. He was stand-up about it,” and I think that’s what we’re seeing reflected from the American people today, an appreciation of someone who talked to them in a way that was understandable, and meaningful, and respectful of them, as well as the issues.
RUSH: You know, it’s said that the country’s “never been more divided than it is,” and I think most people’s historical perspective begins when they’re born. You can I’m sure go back in American history and find easily as ribald a period of time if not more so than today, but still that is people’s reality. Do you think an event like this can have any lasting unity beyond Friday when the internment takes place?

RUSSERT: I hope it can, and I think it might. I heard that from Democrats and Republicans. Because there was a sense that when Ronald Reagan was president, he was a conservative Republican and he was proud of it, and he was unabashed in laying out his conservative principles and philosophy — and yet he was also willing as he would say, “If I can get three-fourths of a loaf I’m going to take it, stay with my principles, and move on.” I remember when (New York Democrat Senator) Daniel Patrick Moynihan, whom I knew very well, and (GOP Senator Kansas) Bob Dole went to President Reagan with a compromise on Social Security to keep it solvent to people would continue to have it for years to come and President Reagan said, “Can we get (Democratic Speaker of the House) Tip O’Neill?” and the four of those men — two Democrats, two Republicans — sat down and fashioned a compromise, which guaranteed the solvency of Social Security for a long time to come. That’s Ronald Reagan and that’s his legacy. I think that if more people here realize that there are ways to approach government where people can keep their principles and yet be willing to find common ground and consensus, the better off we’re all going to be.

RUSH: Well, where were you in the 80s in terms of your career? Were you working in Washington yet?

RUSSERT: Yes, I had finished law school, and then I joined Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1976 and was there through 1982. In fact, I was with Jim Brady, the President Reagan’s press secretary, the night before he was assassinated [sic—wounded, paralyzed]. We were at a replay, if you will, of the gridiron dinner where President Reagan and Senator Moynihan had spoken with and we walked out to the parking lot together and bid farewell and the next thing I knew 12 hours later, Jim Brady was shot.

RUSH: Again, somewhat of a personal connection to the formative event. As you look back on it now, Tim, from the standpoint of your age now as an adult and what you’re doing for a living and in your life now, all encompassing things as you, look back now these 20 years do you have a different recollection of the 80s now than did you perhaps when you were living through them going through them?

RUSSERT: Yeah, I think it’s much more macro, much larger. Sometimes when you’re covering and engaged in life on a day-to-day basis, or hour-to-hour basis, you don’t fully appreciate the size or scope or magnitude of an individual. And, Rush, I remember as a little boy watching with my dad when Gorbachev [sic–Khrushchev] took off his shoe and started banging it at the United Nations –

RUSH: Khrushchev.

RUSSERT: — yelling, “Your children would grow up in communism,” and my dad sat there shaking his head, saying, “No, sir. No, siree. No, sir.” This is a Big Russ, the World War II veteran.

RUSH: Yeah.

RUSSERT: And I had forgotten that imagery until, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” and it’s exactly the kind of resolve and determination that I saw in my dad, who is now 80 as I saw in President Reagan. You know, it’s funny because people talk about Reagan Democrats. I know Reagan Democrats. I grew up in an Irish Catholic neighborhood. People who were born Democrats and baptized Catholic, and in the 60s and the 70s, they believed deeply that the Democratic Party left them, and that’s very much the way Ronald Reagan experienced it a little bit earlier, in the 50s, and the reason people, these Democrats, these ethnic Democrats embraced Ronald Reagan was not because they had a checklist of his issues or philosophy or on a one-to-ten scale on tax cuts and so forth, not — some did. Some did, but many others embraced him because he began to talk about the United States and what it is and what it stands for — and morning again, America standing tall. That’s what my dad grew up with. My dad’s favorite expression in the whole world is, “What a country,” and that’s the language that Ronald Reagan used to explain who we were and what his vision was, and that’s why Reagan Democrats embraced them so vigorously.

Rush Limbaugh Statement on Tim Russert's Death: "It's just a shame. Tim was a regular guy with that perpetual smile he wore naturally all the time. He loved life and got everything he could out of it. Whether it was at dinner here in Florida while his son was taking golf lessons, or on the set of Meet The Press, Tim was always the same with me: genuine. He never condescended to anyone and was the consummate professional. He will be hard to replace. He was the closest thing there was at any of the networks to an objective journalist."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fun for the day . . .

A first-grade teacher, Ms. Brooks, was having trouble with one of her students. The teacher asked, 'Harry, what's your problem?'

Harry answered, 'I'm too smart for the 1st grade. My sister is in the 3rd grade and I'm smarter than she is! I think I should be in the 3rd grade too!'

Ms. Brooks had had enough. She took Harry to the principal's office .

While Harry waited in the outer office, the teacher explained to the principal what the situation was. The principal told Ms. Brooks he would give the boy a test. If he failed to answer any of his questions he was to go back to the 1st grade and behave. She agreed.

Harry was brought in and the conditions were explained to him and he agreed to take the test.

Principal: 'What is 3 x 3?'

Harry: '9.'

Principal: 'What is 6 x 6?'

Harry: '36.'

And so it went with every question the principal thought a 3rd grader should know.

The principal looks at Ms. Brooks and tells her, 'I think Harry can go to the 3rd grade.'

Ms. Brooks says to the principal, 'Let me ask him some questions.'

The principal and Harry both agreed.

Ms. Brooks asks, 'What does a cow have four of that I have only two of?'

Harry, after a moment: 'Legs.'

Ms. Brooks: 'What is in your pants that you have but I do not have?'

The principal wondered why would she ask such a question!

Harry replied: 'Pockets.'

Ms. Brooks: 'What does a dog do that a man steps into?'

Harry: 'Pants.'

Ms. Brooks: What starts with a C, ends with a T, is hairy, oval, delicious and contains thin, whitish liquid?'

Harry: 'Coconut.'

The principal sat forward with his mouth hanging open.

Ms. Brooks: 'What goes in hard and pink then comes out soft and sticky?'

The principal's eyes opened really wide and before he could stop the answer, Harry replied, 'Bubb le gum.'

Ms. Brooks: 'What does a man do standing up, a woman does sitting down and a dog does on three legs?'

Harry: 'Shake hands.'

The principal was trembling.

Ms. Brooks: 'What word starts with an 'F' and ends in 'K' that means a lot of heat and excitement?'

Harry: 'Firetruck.'

The principal breathed a sigh of relief and told the teacher, 'Put Harry in the fifth-grade, I got the last seven questions
wrong...... '

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

News of the Weirdos!

I'm not sure how I find this stuff, too much time on my hands while I watch FoxNews and surf the internet. I stumbled on this guy, some of you may have heard of him, but he's got to be a certified wacko. He states that Al Jazerra wants to interview him to "hear" why he supports Barack Obama and he's excited about it. Do you think when Al Jazeera contacted him that Dr. Watkins "felt a thrill going up his leg?" Oh and please don't miss the part where he states that he follows the wisdom of Louis Farrakhan! Oh brother! Dr. Boyce Watkins' website can be found here. His blog can be found here. Here's the blog that caught my attention. He apparently doesn't realize that America is suppose to be capitalized! Duh! Tell me what you think of this joker. You can't make this stuff up people! VN8

Barack Obama: First Black President - What does that mean for black america?

The Al Jazeera network wants to get my perspective on what it means for our country to have its first black president. While I am going to vote for Senator Obama, I do not consider a first black president to be the saving grace for the rest of black america. In some ways, there is a tradeoff, given that having a black president will alleviate many Americans of their personal responsibility to help our nation overcome the after effects of hundreds of years of slavery and oppression. The easiest way to make people think that racism doesn't exist is to have a leader with a black face. But that is like saying that a Jewish president implies that the Nazi Holocaust never happened. The only difference is that the black holocaust lasted for hundreds of years.

I consider my Al Jazeera appearances to be more significant and interesting for a few reasons: 1) the audience is much larger than that of CNN, since the network covers much of the world, 2) many people around the world are watching this election closely, 3) I feel humbled by having the chance to represent the perspectives of black men in the United States. It has always been an honor to represent black men to the media, and it is an honor I take very seriously. The support of my people and obligation to my ancestors (many of whom died horrible deaths during slavery) to fulfill this obligation with honor, honesty, decency and courage.

At any rate, I want to hear what you think on this issue. I applaud Obama's achievements, and I am hopeful that he will serve as a source of inspiration for millions of black youth. I am not so happy about all the denunciations that he has had to endure, but I have let the wisdom of Louis Farrakhan guide me in my understanding of Obama's action.

But I want to hear what you think. Please tell me: What will it mean for the image of black men around the world if our country elects a black president? What does it mean for America?

Privatization, wow, what a concept!

(Well Diane Feinstein might have some redeeming qualities after all! VN8)

Al Gore claims that "good enough for government work" once implied that such work met the highest standards of excellence. Maybe. But in the U.S. Senate's kitchens, "good enough for government work" means any meal that doesn't require a stomach pump.

The first time I was invited to the Senate for lunch, I was jazzed to sup in the corridors of power. By the time I got my meal, which seemed to have sat under a heat lamp since LBJ was running the place, I felt more like Robert Redford in the 1980 film "Brubaker," when the new warden, pretending to be an inmate, eats in the prison dining hall, where the food often moves on its own.

As befits a government-run commissary, the Senate cafeteria has a decidedly Soviet attitude toward variety. It has averaged only two new menu items a year over the last decade. The food is so bad, every lunch hour Senate staffers rush to the House side of the Capitol like starving New Yorkers of the future storming the last Soylent Green vendor.

According to auditors, the chain of restaurants run by the Senate food service, including the snooty Senate Dining Room, has almost never been in the black. It's lost more than $18 million since 1993 and has dropped about $2 million this year alone. If the food service doesn't get an emergency bridge loan of a quarter-million dollars, it won't be able to make payroll.

So how will the Senate fix the problem? Well, with California Sen. Dianne Feinstein taking the lead, the Democrats - that's right, the Democrats - have called a classic Republican play: Privatize it.

The House of Representatives made the switch in the 1980s, and its food service is now better. And profitable: The House has made $1.2 million in commissions since 2003. True to the Founders' vision of the Senate as the more slow-moving branch of government, the Senate has taken 20 years to follow suit.

This was a painful decision for many Democrats who believe that privatization cannot be justified simply because it delivers better service and higher quality for less money. "What about the workers?" they cried. Apparently, some Democrats feel that the top priority in the restaurant business is to generate paychecks for people who are bad at their jobs.

Feinstein, head of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, was forced to deal with reality. "It's cratering," the Washington Post quoted Feinstein as saying. "Candidly, I don't think the taxpayers should be subsidizing something that doesn't need to be. There are parts of government that can be run like a business and should be run like businesses."

Yes, yes, go on, Dianne. Run with that thought. Explore it, as the therapists say.

Perhaps you might meditate on the District of Columbia's public school system, which spends roughly $14,000 a pupil in exchange for one of the worst educations in the country. Every year, one of the greatest mysteries in the nation's capital is whether textbooks have been delivered to the right kids, or even to the right schools. It can take until Christmas to get it all worked out. FedEx Corp., meanwhile, can tell you where any of its millions of packages are in more than 100 countries, right now. (Why not just FedEx the textbooks to the kids?)

Or you might ponder the hilarious example of New York's OTB. For most of the last 40 years, these state-run betting parlors have actually lost money. Apparently, the house always wins - except when Uncle Sam is the bookie.

Look wherever you like, it's not as if there's a shortage of examples. And more are on the way.

Indeed, all augurs point to a tsunami of government ambition in the years ahead, particularly if Barack Obama wins in November. Obama promises a national health insurance plan overseen by the kith and kin who serve the Senate its navy bean soup. He believes that the failure of public schools - like D.C.'s - is largely attributable to the under-funding of education. D.C.'s schools already are among the best-funded and worst schools in the country. By all means, let's have more of the same!

Feinstein, to her credit, witnessed an abject failure of government right under her nose - on her plate, in fact - and did something about it. "It's clearly not the sort of thing that I ran for the Senate to do," she said, according to the Post. "But somebody has to do it."

Alas, the possibility that she or her colleagues will make a similar call about anything that doesn't affect them directly in less than another 20 years seems too much to hope for.

Jonah Goldberg

Vetting the Vetters!

At a press conference in St. Louis, Obama defends his choice of Jim Johnson to lead his vetting team, calling reports into Johnson's ties to the mortgage company Countrywide "a game."

"Johnson has a very discrete task," he said, dismissing the notion that he'd "hire vetters to vet the vetters."

The fact that his staff made similar tactical attacks on Clinton, on very similar issues (actually, nobody on in Clinton's orbit was ever accused of getting a special deal from Countrywide) makes it harder for Obama to take cover on the high road here.

UPDATE: For instance, David Plouffe in March critized Clinton for taking contributions from Countrywide lobbyists.

'If we're really going to crack down on the practices that caused the credit and housing crises, we're going to need a leader who doesn't owe these industries any favors," he said.

Full transcript after the jump.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: I am not vetting my VP Search Committee for their mortgages. You’re going to have to direct – it becomes sort of a – this is a game that can be played – everybody, who is tangentially related to our campaign, I think, is going to have a whole host of relationships. I would have to hire the vetter to vet the vetters. I mean at some point, we just asked people to do their assignments. Jim Johnson has a very discrete task, as does Eric Holder, and that is simply to gather up information about potential vice presidential candidates. They’re performing that job well. It’s a volunteer, unpaid position. And they’re giving me information, and I will then exercise judgment in terms of who I want to select as a vice presidential candidate. So these aren’t folks who are working for me, they’re not people who I have assigned to a particular job in a future administration. And ultimately, my assumption is that this is a discrete task that they are going to be performing for me over the next two months.

Ben Smith

Monday, June 9, 2008

Oh boy, God help us if he ever loses his train of thought!

(Fired up? Ready to go? Now I'm really scared! VN8)

Whom do you prefer?

Thank you Neal Boortz!

Candidate No. 1

"I have great faith in the government of the United States. The government has done a wonderful job of protecting the retirement of tens of millions of senior citizens through Social Security, the most successful public program in the history of governance. There are many other tremendous government successes we should be celebrating every day. On the health front we have Medicare, Medicaid and our incredible veteran's hospitals. We also have the new prescription medicine program without which thousands would certainly die every year. The only way to insure that the citizens of this country have adequate health care is to make sure that the same government that brought us Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare brings us our everyday health care services. The private sector works fine for things and services that people don't actually need. Essential services, however, must be provided by government. Profits are OK for non-essential goods and services. Nobody should make an obscene profit caring for the health of our nation. In the first 100 days after my election I will begin the process of nationalizing our health care and health insurance industries. To be sure, it will be expensive. But there are thousands of wealth people in this country who each year earn far more money than they actually need. These millionaires owe a debt to the working people of this country who have enriched them. Starting next January 20th, I'll be the debt collector for the working class."

Candidate No. 2

"I know that many of you are distressed over the cost of health care, the cost of health insurance and the difficulty some of your fellow citizens have in getting basic medical care. You have been told that the solution is more government. The reality is that the solution is less government. Since World War II our government has been involved in a systematic and deliberate effort to thwart any attempt Americans might make to become self reliant in terms of their own health care. Big-government politicians have created a tax structure whereby your employer can get a big tax write-off for providing you with insurance, but you get no tax break if you buy that insurance policy on your own. The goal here has been to compel you to rely on others for your health insurance rather than yourself. Lobbyists have cajoled state legislatures to add expensive "mandates" to insurance policies, often pricing those insurance policies out of your reach. If, after all, you and your spouse have no plans to procreate, why should you pay for maternity benefits? I understand the power of the competitive free marketplace. Our history is full of examples of explosions in innovation and customer service for many industries when the government gets out of the way. For one example you need look no further than the deregulation of the phone companies. As your president I intend to use the proven power of the free market to make health care more affordable and available to all Americans. No longer will our tax code punish you for assuming the responsibility for your own medical care. Under my reform plans you will be able to put aside thousands of dollars every year, tax free, to cover your basic medical needs. This will enable you to buy insurance policies; policies free of mandates; policies tailored to meet your specific needs. These policies will be substantially cheaper than those available to you today because of the large deductibles your medical savings accounts will allow. History shows when the government gets out of the way of the free marketplace the consumers are the eventual winners. This would include consumers of health care. I'm not interested in giving the government the power to control your health care. I'll leave that desire to those who believe America is great because of government. My goal will be to get the government out of the way and unleash the power of the marketplace."

I can't hear you?

Two Cheers for Obama . . . but voters should put age before beauty.


Sen. Barack Obama finally captured the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday. For this, he deserves two cheers from Americans from coast to coast.

First, Obama secured this country's chief domestic priority for 2008: denying Sen. Hillary Clinton the presidency. Obama has earned the eternal gratitude of millions of relieved Americans who understand how calamitous a Hillary Clinton administration would have been. She combines ruthless ambition, a pathological sense of entitlement, and the ethical restraint of Richard Nixon's "White House plumbers" unit.

Clinton and her supporters repeatedly played the race card against Obama. On May 8, Clinton notoriously said that "Senator Obama's support among working, hardworking Americans, white Americans, is weakening again."

Former Clinton finance committee member Geraldine Ferraro said in March, "If Obama was (sic) a white man, he would not be in this position." When critics bristled, the ex-congresswoman replied: "I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"

Former president Bill Clinton dismissed Obama's Jan. 26 South Carolina primary victory by saying, "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice. And Obama ran a good campaign here," thus tying Obama's post-racial candidacy with Jackson's race-focused efforts. Team Clinton's blaxploitation recalls George Wallace. As Bruce Bartlett details in his book "Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party's Buried Past," this parallels Democrats' long history of anti-black sentiments that far exceed the so-called code words of Nixon's alleged "Southern strategy," in which the phrase "law and order" magically converted white resentment into electoral votes. Too bad this primary's rhetoric was not that benign.

When the race card failed, Clinton played the assassination card, saying on May 23 that she still was a candidate because "We all remember that Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California." Clinton survived the ensuing firestorm because few realized that she used RFK's murder as a crutch not once or twice but four times.

Add Clinton's staggering recklessness to her thirst for funny money (e.g. disgraced fundraisers Norman Hsu, Charlie Trie, Johnny Chung), missing legal documents, abused FBI personnel files, politically motivated IRS audits, stolen antiques, and the multifarious wrongdoing that defined the Clinton White House. Obama has spared America another four to eight years of official lawlessness. For this he merits abundant applause, if not the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Second, Obama has performed an enormous public service as a black candidate of unprecedented elegance and eloquence. Obama demonstrates what results when a young black man works and studies hard and beautifully speaks proper English. This is not "acting white," as too many in America's ghettoes disparage such self-respecting behavior. Rather, it is "acting right." Let's hope black children find Obama an inspiring alternative to the hydrochloric acid of hip-hop.

So why two cheers and not three? Despite his enormous appeal, Obama is a full-throated, big-government, tax-hiking spendthrift.

For 2007, The National Journal ranked him the Senate's No. 1 liberal with a score of 95.5 percent. This put Obama Left of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent-Socialist) who rated 93.7.

The National Taxpayer's Union calculates that Obama's program would balloon annual federal spending by $343.6 billion. Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain would boost yearly outlays by a more modest $68.5 billion. Obama embraced Congress' recent $307 billion farm bailout. McCain condemned it.

The Wall Street Journal's John Fund expertly dissects Obamanomics in June's NewsMax magazine. Among the many warning signs:

# Obama wants a "market oversight commission" to monitor and reduce risks to the finance industry. The FDIC, Federal Reserve, SEC, and Treasury already attempt this.

# While Obama favors modest middle-class tax cuts, he promises widespread tax hikes. For top filers, taxes on capital gains would rise from 15 to 28 percent, dividends from 15 to 39.6 percent, and personal incomes from 35 to 39.6 percent. Meanwhile, the Death Tax would zoom in 2011 from 0 to 55 percent.

# Obama would let President Bush's tax cuts lapse. The Heritage Foundation estimates that this would cost taxpayers $113 billion in 2011 and $133 billion in 2012 alone.

In contrast, Republican John McCain advocates aggressive tax reduction, an optional flat tax, a free market in individually owned health insurance, and an escape from the Bush era's fiscal incontinence. As voters increasingly recognize, putting age before beauty is America's best hope for change.

Deroy Murdock is a columnist with Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My friend Laura writes another great article!

‘Silent patriots’ applaud victories

By Laura Armstrong

In early 2002, the world watched news reports of American Special Forces fighting valiantly on horseback to oust the Taliban in Afghanistan. Barely a year later, we were glued to footage of Saddam's statue being pulled down in Baghdad's Firdos Square.

As euphoric Iraqis beat on the fractured stone with their shoes that day in April 2003, I admired Lt. Col. Bryan McCoy's Third Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment, the young Devil Dogs who made history after a three-week, record-breaking, hard-fought push from Kuwait. As the moment was broadcast live, they stood fast among the Iraqi mob and the world marveled at their bravery.

I recall two Iraqi men with a banner reading, "Saddam is a wanker." It seemed positive at the time.

In July that year, Saddam's sons were radically deprived of their rape and torture rooms. By December, the Army's Fourth ID tracked their evil enabler to his sorry hole in the ground.

Despite ensuing turmoil (did we really expect a walk in the park?) purple ink in the creases of a finger never seemed so grand. Freedom, to those of us who value it, shined much brighter in the world.

But before we could finish the job, some Americans turned to tearing down anything resembling a victory. Rather than fully reporting the exceptional successes of the war, or even giving credit where credit was due, coverage became negative with a vengeance.

When things on the ground became positive again, or when a negative story was shown to be untrue, coverage stalled altogether.

To date, despite their successes, our brave troops have been described as victims (Obama), as murderers (Murtha), as Nazis (Durbin), or as too dumb to stay out of Iraq (Kerry).

Last week's AP wire (reported on the MDJ's front page) reminded us once again of the pervasive posttraumatic stress among vets. Two days later it was their propensity for suicide. But no Medal of Honor news, ever.

Also missing is news of the exoneration of six Marines so publicly charged (by John Murtha and in Time Magazine) with murder in a place called Haditha. After months in limbo, six of the eight accused have been completely cleared of all crimes, a likely disappointment for those who hoped for another My Lai.

Too bad pop-psychologist Joyce Brothers hadn't heard the news yet when she penned yesterday's syndicated column furthering the perception all troops are brainwashed to kill and have no minds of their own.

"Training and combat," she opines, "desensitize even the nicest young men … Blind obedience is a tragic part of war."

Military families everywhere give you the one-finger salute, Dr. Brothers.

But here's my point:

Many people, including me, still believe we've generally done the right thing in Iraq. We're glad Americans are killing terrorists there; the more the better. We think the troops are heroes, not damaged goods. And we value American victory, not appeasement, certainly not retreat.

We're just tired of talking about it.

You can call us silent patriots, warmongers or chickenhawks. Whatever. We don't much care. We're still here. Have a nice day.

(Way to go Laura, you speak for many of us! Semper Fi! VN8)


The buzzword of this election is "CHANGE." Candidates toss it around without
saying what they want to change to. Just that we need CHANGE!

This brings to mind the following illustration.

Years ago, there was an old tale in the Marine Corps about a lieutenant who
inspected his Marines and told the "Gunny" that they smelled bad. The lieutenant
suggested that they change their underwear.

The "Gunny" responded, "Aye, aye, sir. I'll see to it immediately. "

He went into the tent and said, "The lieutenant thinks you guys smell bad, and he
wants you to change your underwear. Smith, you change with Jones, McCarthy,
you change with Witkowskie, Brown, you change with Schultz .."
"Change, now get on with it"

And the moral is:

A candidate may promise change in Washington . but the stink remains!


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Another controversial figure, supports Obama!

Be afraid, be very afraid. Doesn't it make you wonder why so many people that hate American and Israel, support Barack Hussein Obama? If America is ever defeated, she will be defeated from within. Just ask Nikita Khrushchev! VN8

Skirt lengths, a predictor?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Change you can believe in!

Ken Blackwell - Columnist for the New York Sun

It's an amazing time to be alive in America. We're in a year of firsts in this presidential election: the first viable woman candidate; the first viable African-American candidate; and, a candidate who is the first front-running freedom fighter over 70. The next president of America will be a first.

We won't truly be in an election of firsts, however, until we judge every candidate by where they stand. We won't arrive where we should be until we no longer talk about skin color or gend er.

Now that Barack Obama steps to the front of the Democratic field, we need to stop talking about his race, and start talking about his policies and his politics.

The reality is this: Though the Democrats will not have a nominee until August, unless Hillary Clinton drops out, Mr. Obama is now the frontrunner, and its time America takes a closer and deeper look at him.

Some pundits are calling him the next John F. Kennedy. He's not. He's the next George McGovern. And it's time people learned the facts.

Because the truth is that Mr. Obama is the single most liberal senator in the entire U.S. Senate.

He is more liberal than Ted Kennedy, Bernie Sanders, or Mrs. Clinton. Never in my life have I seen a presidential frontrunner whose rhetoric is so far removed from his record. Walter Mondale promised to raise our taxes, and he lost. George McGovern promised military weakness, and he lost. Michael Dukakis promised a liberal domestic agenda, and he lost.

Yet Mr. Obama is promising all those things, and he's not behind in the polls. Why? Because the press has dealt with him as if he were in a beauty pageant.. Mr. Obama talks about getting past party, getting past red and blue, to lead the United States of America . But let's look at the more defined strokes of who he is underneath this superficial 'beauty.'

Start with national security, since the president's most important duties are as commander-in-chief. Over the summer, Mr. Obama talked about invading Pakistan, a nation armed with nuclear weapons; meeting without preconditions with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who vows to destroy Israel and create another Holocaust; and Kim Jong II, who is murdering and starving his people, bu t emphasized that the nuclear option was off the table against terrorists - something no president has ever taken off the table since we created nuclear weapons in the 1940s.

Even Democrats who have worked in national security condemned all of those remarks. Mr. Obama is a foreign-policy novice who would put our national security at risk.

Next, consider economic policy. For all its faults, our health care system is the strongest in the world. And free trade agreements, created by Bill Clinton as well as President Bu sh, have made more goods more affordable so that even people of modest means can live a life that no one imagined a generation ago.

Yet Mr. Obama promises to raise taxes on 'the rich.' How to fix Social Security? Raise taxes. How to fix Medicare? Raise taxes. Prescription drugs? Raise taxes. Free college? Raise taxes. Socialize medicine? Raise taxes.

His solution to everything is to have government take it over. Big Brother on steroids, funded by your paycheck.

Finally, look at the social issues. Mr. Obama had the audacity to open a stadium rally by saying, 'All praise and glory to God!' but says that Christian leaders speaking for life and marriage have 'hijacked' - hijacked - Christianity. He is pro-partial birth abortion, and promises to appoint Supreme Court justices who will rule any restriction on it unconstitutional. He espouses the abortion views of Margaret Sanger, one of the early advocates of racial cleansing. His spiritual leaders endorse homosexual marriage, and he is moving in that dir ection. In Illinois , he refused to vote against a statewide ban - ban - on all handguns in the state. These are radical left, Hollywood, and San Francisco values, not Middle America values.

The real Mr. Obama is an easy target for the general election. Mrs. Clinton is a far tougher opponent. But Mr. Obama could win if people don't start looking behind his veneer and flowery speeches.

His vision of 'bringing America together' means saying that those who disagree with his agenda for America are hijackers or warmongers. Uniting the country means adopting his liberal agenda and abandoning any conflicting beliefs.

But right now everyone is talking about how eloquent of a speaker he is and - yes - they're talking about his race. Those sh ould never be the factors on which we base our choice for president. Mr. Obama's radical agenda sets him far outside the American mainstream, to the left of Mrs. Clinton.

It's time to talk about the real Barack Obama. In an election of firsts, let's first make sure we elect the person who is qualified to be our president in a nuclear age during a global civilizational war.

You have a "right" to know!

Jun 4, 2008

Marked-up birds become sexier, exude testosterone


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A little strategically placed makeup quickly turns the wimpiest of male barn swallows into chick magnets, amping up their testosterone and even trimming their weight, new research shows.

It's a "clothes make the man" lesson that - with some caveats - also applies to human males, researchers say.

Using a $5.99 marker, scientists darkened the rust-colored breast feathers of male New Jersey barn swallows, turning lighter birds to the level of those naturally darkest.

They had already found, in a test three years ago, that the marked-up males were more attractive to females and mated more often.

This time they found out that the more attractive appearance, at least in the bird world, triggered changes to the animals' body chemistry, increasing testosterone.

"Other females might be looking at them as being a little more sexy, and the birds might be feeling better about themselves in response to that," said study co-author Kevin McGraw, an evolutionary biology professor at Arizona State University.

McGraw said the findings are surprising, in part because the hormonal changes occurred after only one week.

The study was published in Tuesday's edition of the journal Current Biology.

In the 30 male barn swallows who were darkened, testosterone was up 36 percent after one week, during a time of year when levels of that hormone would normally drop.

At the same time, testosterone levels in the 33 birds that didn't get the coloring treatment fell by half, said lead author Rebecca Safran, an evolutionary biology professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

"It's the `clothes make the man'" idea, Safran said. "It's like you walk down the street and you're driving a Rolls Royce and people notice. And your physiology accommodates this."

Before you feel superior to these birds, Safran cautioned, people's mating systems are more similar to birds' than we might like to admit.

Barn swallows are "socially monogamous and genetically promiscuous, same as humans," she said. "There are some interesting parallels, but we do need to be careful about making them."

In people, hormonal changes have been observed after changes in behavior. A 1998 study found that loyal male fans of sports teams experienced a 20 percent rise in testosterone when their teams won.

The researchers aren't certain how the testosterone boost happens. It could be that because of the darkened color, the birds mate more often and that changes their testosterone levels.

It could also be that because of the darkened color, other males think the pecking order has changed and that boosts the darker swallows' hormone levels. Or it could be both. The authors said figuring out which theory is right is the next step.

The birds' weight loss is more easily explained, Safran said. The more macho swallows could be spending more time mating than eating or working off the calories, she said.

Most of the time it's the hormones that change the behavior or appearance, but this work shows "it can go more than one way," said study co-author James Adelman, a Princeton University researcher.

"It certainly is a very new and interesting finding," said Cornell University psychology and neurobiology professor Elizabeth Adkins-Regan, who had no role in the study.


Is there any room left under the bus for President Jimmy Carter?

When Will Obama Throw
Jimmy Carter Under The Bus?

By Jerry D. Rose

03 June, 2008

A string of Barack Obama's supporters, advisers or long time associates have been cut loose by Obama or his presidential campaign because they were embarassments in one way or another to his candidacy. Think Samantha (Hillary's a monster) Power, Alan (psst, he's not really serious about NAFTA) Goolsbee, Jeremiah (crazy old uncle) Wright, and folks from the Illinois Combine like Tony Rezko and Nadhmi Auchi for whom it was "Tony I hardly knew ye."

Now comes a true friend of Obama, America's best former President, Jimmy Carter, who in fact has called for Hillary Clinton to hang it up because the party's over so far as the presidential nomination is concerned. The problem is, he bookended these remarks with a speech in the Welsh town of Hay in which he said some things that promise to be acutely embarassing to Obama, whose electoral prospects depend on his ability to balance his talk about negotiation with America's Designated Enemies and a drawdown of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan with a belligerent stance in which foreign policy must be "anything Israel," including tough stances toward Hamas, Iran and Iraq.

Given the delicate balance Obama is trying to maintain, what does his "friend" Jimmy Carter do? Perhaps like another "crazy uncle," he goes off on his own and does a personal peacemaking mission to the Middle East, talks to Hamas leaders and gets condemned for so doing (though Israel itself is doing the same thing through back channels) by both President Bush and candidate Obama. Then he goes to Hay and in one speech he manages to say four things that create a whole hornet's nest of problems for Obama.

1. He says the three entities (UN, EU, Russia) who, with the United States, constitute a Quartet of powers self-appointed as the world's rulers should abandon their "supine" tendency to follow the U.S. lead in supporting Israel's position on the death-dealing sanctions against Gaza.

2. He says that Israel has 150 fully-armed nuclear weapons, a bold statement of what has been "generally known," that the U.S. and Israel are in blatant violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty with Israeli weapons furnished courtesy the U.S.: enough munitions for Israel itself to "obliterate" Iran or any other enemy without world assistance; this at a time when Israel is pressuing the U.S. to take action against Iran for the mere threat of developing such weapons.

3. He says that the Fatah political faction in Palestine, to which Israel, the U.S. and the rest of the Quartet have hitched their diplomatic stars, should share power with the duly-elected (in what the Carter Center certified as a clean election) Hamas as the country's government; rather than joining these other forces in excluding Hamas from the peace process.

4. He says that the U.S. should withdraw immediately and fully its occupation force in Iraq, never mind the "we'll do it when the Iraqis stand up for their own security" stance that will keep U.S. forces there indefinitely, whether the next President happens to have a D or an R after his/her name.

Question of the hour: what does Barack Obama do with this other "crazy old uncle?" Use him as a sounding board toward a general liberalization of American imperialism, as he might have used Jeremiah Wright's "liberation theology" pronouncements as a harbinger of an administration in which the grievances of blacks in the society would actively (not just rhetorically) be addressed? To ask this question and refer to the Wright parallel is virtually to answer it. The answer: fat chance! To borrow from George W. Bush's (false) characterization of himself as a "uniter not a divider:" to take any stance that would satisfy the superb writers of the Black Agenda Report, he would "alienate" all those non-black Americans who want so fervently to believe that we have moved "beyond race," that blacks have already moved 90% of the way down the path of racial equality. To take Jimmy Carter's stance would alienate not only the Jewish money on which Democratic campaigns so heavily depend, but all those good folks of all religions and ethnicities who have recently been through another Memorial Day orgy of "celebration" of the sacrifices of our military men and women and our legendary dedication to complete a mission (win a victory) in order to ensure that "these dead shall not have died in vain." To do any less would cede the toughness ground to the Republicans and their war hero nominee, and election defeat would be the sure result.

No, Obama cannot agree to any of Jimmy Carter's four totally reasonable positions on U.S. foreign policy, and the ex-President must go under the bus with the rest of the crowd. How and when this will happen will await the vicissitudes of a campaign. It probably will follow Carter's endorsement, when he will join the crowd of other Obama supporters with a pious hope that the candidate of hope and change will change his positions as he (hopefully) assumes the presidency. But it will happen because Obama, if he has proven anything at all, has proven himself the consummate compromiser who can be "all things to all people" because he can unite people around a rhetorical consensus of good intentions devoid of any substantive content.

So move over, Samantha, Alan, Jeremiah, Tony, Nadhmi...gotta make room under that bus for James Earl Carter.

Jerry D. Rose is a retired professor of sociology from State University of New York at Fredonia, now living in Gainesville Florida and operating a progressive website: He may be contacted at:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Same old rehtoric! A leader for CHANGE.

I think I'll take the status quo over four years of that kind of change again. Can anyone say, "high interest rates and gas lines?"

Monday, June 2, 2008

Two of the greatest people I will ever know!

I can still remember my small hand in his, the calluses from all of his hard work. He started his working life as a small boy, never finishing the first grade. His family were sharecroppers and he had to work in the fields. I’m sure as a boy he never even realized the sacrifices he was making to help his family. Only when he was in his 60’s did he start to realize that no being able to read was such a tragedy. I actually think it was when I started first grade that he realized what all he had missed. I also remember him sitting, looking at magazines and my grandmother would say, “Ambers, what are you doing, you can’t read.” In his gentle but strong voice he would say, “Edna, I’m looking at the pictures.”

Before I started first grade my Mother taught me how to read and write. When I began first grade the teacher went around the room and asked each child if they had attended kindergarten. It wasn’t a common practice in the 60’s. When she came to me, I said, “no, I went to my grandmother’s house!” I’m sure that must have thrown her for a loop.

Papa might not have had a formal education, but my Papa was a brilliant man. I’ve often wondered what he would have become if he had been able to read and write. He grew up to work in textile mills and was very accomplished at dying textiles and I’ve been told , was selected to dye fabric for draperies at the White House. Since my relatives are all dead and gone, I can’t tell you who the President was at the time, but I can remember my mother telling me the story. His supervisor at the mill came to him and said, “Am, if you will go back to school, the company will pay for everything so that you can learn to read and write.” My Papa, ever so proud, declined the generous offer saying, “Damn it man, don’t you know I’m too old to learn to read and write?” He was only in his 20’s at the time.

He was born at the turn of the century. May 31, 1899, Ambrose Weathers came into the world. He had no given middle name but at some point early in his life it became apparent that the “world” required a middle name and he chose A. M. Weathers. Everyone called him Am, Ambers or Ambrose, but he was simply “Papa” to me. He will forever be “Papa” to me.

He married my grandmother, (whom we were requested early on to call “Mother”) she detested being a grandmother, on January 6, 1918. Edna Weathers was allowed to finish the third grade but that was the extent of her education. At least she could read and write and I think Papa relied on her tremendously.

They had two children, my mother Helen Estelle born, October 4, 1919. My mother had four children, Bonnie Dean Bradshaw Ford, Delmes Eugene Bradshaw, Deborah Laverne Smith and me. Their son, Robert, born in 1921 had three children, Steven Weathers, Gary Weathers and Jeffrey Weathers.

To this day I wonder how my grandparents ever conceived any children. I remember Mother telling me one day and for the life of me I have no idea why she would tell a mere child this, that she and Papa had never seen each other naked. Even as a child, I thought that was odd. I suppose their love was exchanged in the darkness underneath the covers since my mother was born in October, she must have been conceived in the middle of winter!

They lived thru WWI, the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. I’m sure at the time of each of those events, they “too” believed that it was the “end” of the world.

Papa and Mother eventually grew tired of working in the textile mills and discovered that Charlotte, NC was growing and with Wilkinson Boulevard also know as Highway 29/74, dissecting Belmont, NC they came up with the idea to build a “motor court”. By the time they were in their middle 50’s they had saved enough money to build a home and retire. I considered that to be quite an accomplishment for two people born at the turn of the century with little or no education.

Papa was riddled with arthritis but never allowed it to deter his activities. It was only in his early 70’s I believe that he stopped mowing his own grass. You see by the time he passed away, he had suffered seven heart attacks. He never lost his passion for toiling in the fields. He always had a garden. Corn, peas, green beans, tomatoes and of course, strawberries and water melons.

What precious memories I have as a child, clinging to his pant legs, dusty from tilling, admiring his work. There is one memory that sticks in my mind to this day and I have no idea why it stands out, but it does. I can remember my Papa tilling between the rows in the garden and little robins would hop along behind him, never afraid, looking for worms. I think he actually enjoyed tilling the ground for them as much as he enjoyed eradicating the weeds from between those rows! To this day, when I see a robin in the yard, I know symbolically that my Papa is still with me, cheering me on and wishing me the very best life has to offer.

Isn’t it odd the things that stick in our minds? I can remember him walking out into his garden with me just steps behind, pulling out his trusty pocket knife, reaching down and pulling a watermelon that wasn’t half grown and slicing it open for us to enjoy his harvest. I can remember how warm the melon was from lying in the sun. He would do the exact same thing with tomatoes as if they were apples. The aromas and the tastes of watermelons and tomatoes to this day take me back to a time when life was so simple and pure.

As I began writing this, the strangest thought occurred to me, I never remember hearing my Papa raise his voice. That in and of itself speaks volumes to me. What an accomplishment? How many of us can say that?

When he was approximately 71 years old and I can remember it like it was yesterday, I was around eleven, my mother was having a new roof put on our house, Papa and Mother just lived down the road a short piece, he kept walking up the road all day to see the progress being made. Up and down the road he would come and go. Even as a child I started to suspect something wasn’t quite right with him. As the day progressed, late in the day he spoke to my mother and then he left. It wasn’t long till everyone on that roof came down to earth and we got in the car and drove to his house. Little did I know at the time that he had revealed to my mother that he had not been to the bathroom all day.

My mother looked mortified, when we got out of the car at their house. My Papa was sitting on the front porch. He walked out to the driveway and my mother told my grandmother that he needed to go to the hospital. Papa had not even told my grandmother the predicament he was in, it was too embarrassing. Papa would have no part in going to the hospital. Upon my mother’s insistence, he finally agreed and we drove to Charlotte to the hospital. In the nick of time I might add! I can’t remember how many CC’s of fluid that they drained out of his bladder, but it was a lot. It didn’t take long for the doctor’s to realize that my Papa had an enlarged prostate. Days later the diagnosis! My papa had prostate cancer. I thought my world had come to an end but that wouldn‘t happen until two years later.

The doctors reassured our family that prostate cancer was such a slow growing cancer that in the condition his heart was in, his heart would stop before the cancer took his life. The condition of his heart? As a child, I thought, they have no idea how big his heart is, his heart would never break down! Ah, the naivety of a child. Our family chose not to even tell him of the prostate cancer, everyone thought it best that he not even have to deal with that kind of stress. It was the correct decision.

On, July 13, 1973, my Papa woke up, went to the kitchen to put water in the coffee pot. He apparently wasn’t feeling well, set the coffee pot on the side of the sink and went onto the back porch, sat in a chair, wrapped his feet up in an old sheet they used to hang up to keep the sun off the porch and passed away peacefully. I’m sure his circulation in the extremities had already begun.

It’s difficult to believe they didn’t have a telephone, but Mother had to go to the neighbors house and have them call my Mom and tell her that Papa had passed.

That is the day my world came to a screeching halt. The doctors were correct, my Papa with the biggest heart in the world, woke up one morning, sat down in a chair and his heart just stopped beating. The thoughts that must have gone thru his mind as he passed from the bonds of earth. The thoughts that must have gone thru Mother’s mind when she looked out the kitchen window onto the back porch and saw her husband of 55 years dead in that chair.

When we arrived, I can still remember vividly walking through the front door into the living room, my grandmother was sitting in a chair at the far end of the room, her head in her hands, repeating over and over, “What am I going to do without Ambers.” My Mom asked her where Papa was and we proceeded through the dining room, through the kitchen onto the back porch.

There Papa was, sitting in that upholstered naugahyde brown chair as if he had sat down to take a load off of his swollen feet. Did he know that he was taking his last breath? We will never know, but at the age of thirteen I can remember how peaceful he looked. I can remember that his body was still warm as I kissed and caressed him and told him good-bye!

The rest of that day that day was a blur! I do remember when the funeral home called and told us that we, as a family could come and view his body, like it was yesterday. We had undertakers in our family so when we arrived at the funeral home I felt safe, but when they took us to the room where he laid in that casket, I nearly had a stroke!

You see my Papa didn’t have any teeth! Yeah sure, he had dentures but he never wore them. Well only when he shaved! My grandmother asked me what was wrong and I said, “that doesn’t even look like my Papa! He hated those teeth and I think that he would prefer to be without them!” My grandmother looked directly at the undertaker, told him that Papa looked fine but the teeth would have to be removed! At some point after we left, they removed his dentures and the next day my Papa looked just like the gentle bear of a man that he had always been to me.

What I remember next was that my Mom stayed at that funeral home. She didn’t want Papa to be there alone! I think I remember someone in the family offering to sit with him so that she could go home to shower, but for the life of me, I don’t think she did. Back in the old days, families held wakes. Bodies were brought back to the home of the deceased where family members sat up with the departed.

I can remember the first funeral I attended, it was Papa’s brother, Garland. He was a big man too! They lived in a small town in a “mill” village and there house was up on hill up above the railroad tracks. I remember going there and there was Uncle Garland, in a casket laid out in the parlor. That had to have been around 1965. All the family was there and the immediate family sat up all night with him until they took him to the church for his service. I always wondered how they got that casket into the living room. In my later years, when I asked about that, I was told they had to bring him through a window. I don’t know if that is true, but it makes sense.

Nevertheless my mom, stayed at the funeral home with Papa, saying her good-byes, I’m certain. The day of the funeral in North Carolina, with no air conditioning, house full of people it was hot as the dickens! I can remember all of the family members talking about the things families discuss at a wake, the life of the deceased, etc. The thing I will never forget was over hearing some of our family members making the statement, “Well, I hope Ambers was right with the Lord!” You see my Papa wasn’t the type of man who went to church every Sunday, but I can always remember watching those religious “singing” shows with him that would come on every Sunday morning. He loved that old gospel music. At the tender age of 13, I stepped forward and said, “My Papa probably knew more about the Lord and was closer to the Lord than any of you will ever be.” I was as feisty then as I am now and I was burning up inside that anyone would cast a shadow on who he was and who he had been. Needless to say, the room fell silent. I know Mother was proud of me and that was all I cared about.

You have to know one thing about Papa, he was not just a good man, he was a great man. A man who had sacrificed his entire life for his family.

You see my Mom lost her first husband and father to her first two children during World War II on Guadalcanal, November 13, 1942 aboard the USS Juneau, the same ship that the five Sullivan Brothers were on. My sister was seven and my brother was five years old. To make matters worse, their father, Willis Bradshaw died on his son’s birthday. Before he went away he asked my Papa to look after my mom and his children and my Papa never wavered. Not for one minute, not for one day. Had it not been for his moral support, my mom would have probably committed the unthinkable.

My mom went on to marry again about ten years later and had my sister Debby, as luck would have it, that marriage ended in divorce. Who was there to father another child, but my Papa. He loved Debby with a passion that is reserved only for Saints! She came into the world October 12, 1954. She was the shining star.

In the late fifties, my mom tried marriage one more time and at the age of 40, she found out she was pregnant with me. What a shock that was in 1960, not to mention the fact that my grandparents lived on the east coast and my mom and sister were residing in the State of Washington, my mother embroiled in another divorce.

I was born, January 6, 1960 on my grandparents wedding anniversary. I’m sure they had given up the thought of any more grandchildren at that point, but my mother gave them an anniversary gift! Some might say that God blessed them with me, but you will never convince me of that. God blessed me with the greatest grandparents that have ever walked the face of earth!

I can honestly say their isn’t a day that goes by that I do not think about both of them. I’ve always heard that after a loved one passes, when you think of them, they are actually on the other side thinking of you. If that is a true statement, I feel their love every day of my life and for that I am eternally grateful.

My Papa was a man of few words, my Mother on the other hand was exactly the opposite. After Papa had passed and I moved from the small town in North Carolina to the big city of Atlanta, I would call my Mother regularly. I was much closer to her than I ever was to my Mom. She would always end our phone calls with, “honey, I love you and I’m praying for you.” I’m so ashamed to say that I asked her once, “Mother, will you please stop praying for me?” With the gentleness of a grandmother she said, “honey, I’ll do you better than that, I won’t ever stop praying for you, but I’ll quit telling you about it.” To this day, somewhere, some place, my grandmother still intercedes for me to God, I have no doubt about that.

My Mother died April 1987, I was twenty seven, I stood by her hospital bed and prayed for her. The night she died, she was in a tremendous amount of pain, she had broken a hip for the second time and her heart was too weak for surgery. I had crushed up her pain medication and put it in some apple sauce that I fed to her. (Why they didn’t have her on an IV, now that I look back on it, I’m not sure.) But my mom was out at the nurses desk and I was in the room with my Mother and she looked at the clock and said, “Jeopardy is on, will you turn on Jeopardy?” She loved that show, I’m sure she learned a lot over the years watching it. I told her yes and couldn’t believe that she was coherent enough to even know what time it was! I turned on Jeopardy, walked out of the room met my mom at the nurses desk, looked at the monitor for my Mother and saw it flat line. The next thing I remember was hearing “Code Blue” thru the intercom and I looked at my Mom and said, “you know Mother is gone?”

It’s strange how things in life occur. My Mom didn’t seem to be as distraught over her on mother’s passing as she was her father. I credit that to her alcoholism, at that point it had basically consumed her life. The funeral was beautiful, my Mother loved her church and they loved her! When we got into the limousine to go to the cemetery, there was a terrible storm brewing. By the time we arrived at the cemetery, the wind, the rain and the lightning were so intense we couldn’t even step outside the limousine. We sat there in silence, waiting for the storm to pass!

My sister, the Saint, age 33 at this point spoke up and said something to the effect that this weather suited Mother to a “T”. I’ve never understood how one grandchild could have a tremendous bond with their grandparents and another grandchild not, all I can say is that, I never missed out on Papa and Mother’s love, not one second, not one day. Neither did my other two siblings. To this day, each of us realize the sacrifices that our grandparents made for us.

To this day, I love to be out in the sun, working in the yard, planting vegetables and planting flowers. I toil in the dirt to satisfy my Papa. When I read a book or write anything, I think of Mother! She instilled in me a passion for learning. I thank God for blessing me with two of the greatest people I will ever know, my Papa and my Mother!


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wondering about the meaning of Obama's 'change'.

Marietta Daily Journal
June 1, 2008
By Nelson Price

As a child did you ever play the enthralling game, "I Wonder Why"? Our expanded knowledge that resulted in good choices came from playing it. By playing it great minds have opened frontiers of progress for our society.

If we ever quit playing it, we stunt our intellectual development and fail in our exploration for answers. Our choices then are made without proper insight.

I wonder why we don't play it more often in the political arena. Play it with me regarding presidential candidate Obama.

I wonder why he changed his given name from Barry to Barack Hussein.

I wonder why he said he had a great-uncle who helped liberate the Jews from the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz when it was the Russians who freed them.

I wonder why he referred to his father as a "freedom fighter" in Kenya when he was part of the most desultory and iniquitous government ever in that country.

I wonder why upon coming to America Barack has added to his Illinois senatorial and campaign staff followers of Nation of Islam leader the Rev. Louis Farrakhan.

I wonder why he remained a member of a church that published the Hamas Manifesto in its church bulletin.

I wonder why the national press has given him the authority to determine what issues are not to be discussed simply by saying they aren't.

I even wonder why I wonder why.

Why question these things? Perhaps it is a concern growing out of years of observing the use of the word "change." It is a two-sided coin. It is best to have it defined before being caught up in such an enigmatic concept.

There are parallels to this happening in nations that have been disastrous. Reference to countries where a charismatic engaging speaker has captivated a nation and led to its demise is one of the topics not to be referenced.

Of course were it not for change, the nation of America would not have emerged on the world stage. Change can be very good, but it needs to be defined. The concept of America was well defined in the minds of the colonists and eventually codified in our Constitution.

In math constants are essential to solving problems. The many variables are given value by the constant. In our national life the Constitution is our constant.

Change away from those values is a threat to the value of the constant. For variables to be virtuous there must be a proven constant.

I wonder why a presidential candidate would proclaim he would give $834 billion taxpayer dollars to the United Nations for use in Africa in Muslim-controlled countries. I wonder how we should value that in light of our constant, the Constitution.

Change can be very good, but before agreeing to a change, get to know what the change is going to be. Wonder about it.

I was just wondering. Join me. We might find the answers to be encouraging. We might - but we might not. I wonder.

The Rev. Dr. Nelson L. Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church. His Web address is www.nelsonprice .com.

(You may not care for the messenger, but you can't deny the truth in his message. I say wake up people and smell the coffee! VN8)

My Landlord, one of the most inspiring men I have ever had the privilege to know!

Today is Memorial Day, a day during which we honor those Americans who have died in the service of their country.

Of the over 40,000,000 Americans who have served in the armed forces of our country since it's inception in defense of freedom the following numbers of those who died in service tell the story:

Revolutionary War: 25,324

Civil War: 498,332

Spanish American War: 1,862

World War I: 116,710

World War II: 407,316

Korean War: 54,546

Persian Gulf War: 146

War in Iraq: 4,068

Afghanistan 493

I'm proud to have worn the uniform of the US Navy during WWII and to have been an active member of the American Legion. My father was in the Army in WWI, his brother Maurice served in WWII for many years. Mac McIntyre was in WWII a long time. My high school classmates. Nearly all of the guys I grew up with were in uniform in WWII. Some didn't return.

Re-read what Abraham Lincoln said at Gettysburg in his address. It's short and can be found online. That was some memorial day speech.

Freedom is precious and keeping it is difficult. Our enemies wish us to abandon our freedom, to become followers of their ways of life. Islamic fascists wish all peoples dead unless they convert to Islam, especially their radical versions. Have you ever seen or read about a dictatorship, communist government or theocracy or the like where the citizens had any rights or freedoms? Or that it was successful in the people having a decent standard of living? Myanmar, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Russia under the communists, you can name countless others of today and in history. The right to bear arms is essential to keeping rogue police, rogue armies, dictators at bay. Look what Hitler did soon after he came to power - confiscated all small arms from the citizens so they could not defend themselves from the Nazi's. I've owned guns since I was probably 10-12, still do today and have the appropriate Georgia licenses to carry a concealed weapon, as does Linda. I remember all too well the sights and sounds of Nazi Storm Troopers rumbling through German streets when we went abroad in 1937 as well as the sights of the Italian dictator speaking to his troops. Even at that young age I understood all to well what was about to happen. My parents read Mein Kampf, the book Hitler wrote in which he spelled out his scheme, which he nearly successfully accomplished, so as to better understand what was soon to happen. I have seen the sights of the Holocaust - we make it a point to visit Holocaust museums in each country we visit. I proudly display the American flag daily. Be wary of charismatic, spell-binding politicians, read carefully what they have written and observe what their records disclose. Hitler, Mussolini, Chavez, Allende (in Chili) all came to power in free elections and then subverted their countries to their ends. In each instance they killed freedom, they killed ambition, they destroyed civilizations, they enslaved their own peoples.

It is my sincere hope that your freedoms are not diminished or abrogated during your life times. It's your responsibility, and in your self-interest, not to let that happen.

Ev Harrell, age 80
(My landlord sent this to me on Memorial Day. VN8)