1. Go to a secondhand store and buy a pair of men's used size 14-16 work boots.
2. Place them on your front porch, along with a copy of Guns & Ammo Magazine.
3. Put a few giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazines.
4. Leave a note on your door that reads:
Big 'un, Duke, Slim, & I went for more ammo and beer. Back in an hour. Don't mess with the pit bulls - they attacked the mailman this morning and messed him up bad. I don't think Killer took part, but it was hard to tell from all the blood. Anyway, I locked all four of 'em in the house. Better wait outside.
The FairTax proposal is a comprehensive plan to replace federal income and payroll taxes, including personal, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security/Medicare, self-employment, and corporate taxes.
The FairTax proposal integrates such features as a progressive national retail sales tax, dollar-for-dollar revenue replacement, and a rebate to ensure that no American pays such federal taxes up to the poverty level.
Included in the FairTax Plan is the repeal of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution.
The FairTax allows Americans to keep 100 percent of their paychecks (minus any state income taxes), ends corporate taxes and compliance costs hidden in the retail cost of goods and services, and fully funds the federal government while fulfilling the promise of Social Security and Medicare.
Having lost both houses of Congress and the White House in two straight elections, Republicans are going through an identity crisis, its leaders holding town hall meetings to "listen" to the people.
"What should we focus on? Should we drop the social issues? How do we get the young people back?"
Such angst and soul-searching is not the mark of the leader, but the mark of a man suffering from doubt and despair.
Why is the party in trouble? Simple. Dubya got a hold of the keys, got high on neocon hooch, and crashed and rolled the family SUV.
He launched an unnecessary war against a country that had not attacked us. With his utopian No Child Left Behind scheme and his Medicare drug plan, he did his passable imitation of LBJ, and blew a hole in the budget.
Touting globalism, he presided over the loss of one in every four U.S. manufacturing jobs and ran up $5 trillion in trade deficits. He refused to defend the Mexican border against an invasion, then pushed an amnesty for the invaders.
This was no Reaganite. This was the neocons' apprentice.
How does the party reconnect with Middle America? How does it win back the Reagan Democrats who went home disgusted?
Become again the party of Frank Ricci.
And who is Frank Ricci?
He is a fireman in New Haven, Conn., with 11 years in the department, who suffers from dyslexia, but nonetheless has pursued his dream of becoming a lieutenant and a captain.
Six months before the promotion test, Ricci quit his second job. He bought $1,000 worth of the textbooks he was told to study, had a friend read them onto tapes to compensate for his dyslexia, studied every spare hour he got, and sat for the test, to compete for one of eight lieutenant slots open.
Frank made it. Frank Ricci came in sixth.
It was after the results of the test were made known that the problems arose. For, of the officers who had made the cut, all were white, except for one Latino.
Concluding the test results would, if used by the department, have an "adverse impact" on the black community, New Haven tossed out the results and called for new exams to ensure a "fair" outcome.
Thus, because he is a white man whose people came from Italy, Frank Ricci is to be denied a promotion he worked for and won, and be robbed of his American dream by the liberal bigots who run New Haven.
Had Frank Ricci and half of the other top performers been black, all would be on their way to becoming lieutenants and captains.
What is being done to Frank Ricci is exactly what was done to black folks for decades. Great black ballplayers who might have become legends like DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig never got the chance because they were black. Black students were denied admission to prep schools, colleges and military academies because of their color.
Now, what was done to them is being done to white folks. And it is just as wrong as it was then.
In 21st century America, race discrimination endures.
All we have done is switch the color of the victims with the color of the beneficiaries. Today it is white males applying for jobs and promotions as cops, firemen, government workers, who are held back because their color does not comport with the desired "diversity."
What New Haven has done to Frank Ricci is like the U.S. Olympic Committee throwing out all the trial heat results in the 100- and 200-meter races because not a single white runner qualified.
New Haven contends the "disparate impact" of the test hurts the black community, proving discrimination. But does the relative absence of blacks in the National Hockey League prove discrimination?
If the Republican Party wants a future, it will become again the party that stands on the principle that "No discrimination means no discrimination," that stands with the victims of state bigotry, and that stands up to hypocrites like the Jim Crow liberals of New Haven.
Affirmative action began as a mandate to cast a wider net and ensure all had an equal shot. It has become a mighty engine of state injustice that seeks to remedy the consequences of past racial sins and crimes, by committing new ones.
In Michigan, Washington and California, none of them red states, majorities have voted to abolish affirmative action. Only Colorado failed in a dead heat last fall. A Republican drive to write into federal law an end to all race and gender preferences, as well as to all race and gender discrimination, is a cause whose time has come.
This is a winning issue for the GOP, for it is rooted in principle and comports with what is written on the human heart. Down deep, even liberals know that what is being done to Frank Ricci is not right.
I've seen similar things happening for years. I remember when a person had to be a certain height to be a police officer. It happened that few women and Latino and Asian men generally did not meet that height requirement. Was that requirement designed to keep "certain segments of society" out of the police department? Possibly. At one time signs in windows said "Irish need not apply". The height requirement might have been a bit subtler, but not a bit less discriminatory.
There are always things that do need to be changed. The height requirement for police officers certainly seems to be one that was justified. And certainly, the color of one's skin shouldn't make a difference as to whether or not one can perform a job or not. I can't think of any job where color would make a difference.
The ability to pass a test isn't always an indicator of whether someone can do a job or not. I've had supervisors who were "book smart" and "people stupid." They had everything intellectually needed to supervise, but no one under them had any respect for them. My dad used to talk about a long-ago neighbor of ours who worked for a mining company in Pennsylvania. If I recall correctly, he had a fourth-grade education, but had the respect of every man under him, and everyone above him because he knew the mining business inside and out. He was like E F Hutton, when he spoke, everyone listened.
I also know of a business where everyone laughs when they announce the promotion results because they expect the tests to be graded on a curve so that "a golden child" will pass the test. Everyone knows who will be "curved in", and sure enough, when the test results were posted, that "golden child" was on the list. Maybe last or next to last, but never anywhere near the top of the list.
The ones who are "curved in" may be ideal for the job, but just lousy at taking tests. I've know people like this. Many times they were asked to sit in for a promotional exam, but didn't take it because they just didn't do well on tests. Sometimes management would get them to test and "curve" them in and it worked out for everyone. I suspect more often than not, they just never got beyond whatever job they were doing.
I just can't see where anyone benefits by not promoting the people who would be the best person for the job, regardless of height, color of skin, or how well they take tests (or not). Do people really want to get a job because of their skin color? What difference could that make to how well they can do the job? I understand the history behind Affirmative Action and all the other programs and laws that have been passed to be sure that everyone got the same opportunities as others.
I don't think I'm much different than other people. I'd rather get a job because I was suited for it, rather than because I'm a woman, I'm white, I'm middle-aged, or whatever. I readily admit I've applied for jobs and promotions because I knew someone who told me about it, but that only got me the application or interview. The only time I've gotten a job because of who I knew, I had to prove myself every day I worked there. Most people assumed I couldn't be fired because of my relationship with management, but trust me, that particular management would have fired me sooner than anyone else.
I'm just saying that when you try to correct one injustice, another injustice may be done. The Frank Ricci's of the world should get their shot because they worked hard, studied hard, and passed the required tests. All things being equal, should that promotion list be thrown out because there it wasn't diversified enough? Maybe if more people had studied as hard as Ricci did, more minorities would have been represented on that list.
It's not just the Republican Party that needs to learn the lessons of the past. We as Americans need to put the race card behind us, and learn to judge people by what they do and say, not by a racial indicator, sex or age.
I was born before the Civil Rights Era. I saw the marches, rallies, and the deaths caused by criminally stupid people. I've always known that no one race, sex, or age is better than another. It's been hard for many of us to really wrap our minds around what we learned as youngsters. I never heard anything in my household that indicated that blacks were inferior; quite the opposite. But there was always something somewhere that said there was a "difference". I honestly believe that I've gotten beyond even that now. I am now learning to get beyond political differences others may have.
No political party is really better than another either. I do not and will not believe that one particular party is out to destroy America or that members of a particular party hate America. That may be the perception of others, but it's not mine. I believe that everyone involved in politics got involved because they want to make America the best country in the world, and give everyone the same opportunities.
That's a fine sentiment, for everyone to have the same opportunities. In the Frank Ricci example, everyone should have the opportunity to be promoted. But, here is the difference as I see it: not everyone should avail themselves of that opportunity. Not everyone is capable of handling more responsibility. Just because someone can do the job doesn't mean they should do the job, and there are some who just can't do it but think they should be promoted because (insert reason here).
Do you remember the book The Peter Principle? It's premise is that everyone rises to the level of their incompetence. They are great at their jobs until they get to a certain level, then they begin to level off until their level of incompetence. I personally would prefer that people be in the jobs they excel at rather than in a job where they are mediocre, or maybe even dangerous.
I'm glad that the Republican Party is trying to reinvent itself. I just want to be sure that the people in any position, from the burger flipper to cop on the beat, the teacher, doctor, scientist, pilot, the President of the US, or any other job, is the best person in that position, and didn't get there because they knew someone, passed a test, had the right "color" skin, sexual preference, or ran a great campaign.
Can we get beyond looking for the differences and start seeing people as just that? People?
By reversing himself and refusing to release graphic photos of abused prisoners of war, Barack Obama has stunned liberals.
They feel betrayed and abandoned by a president they put into office. On war and torture, at least, they thought Barack was one of them. He is not. Barack is not into ideology. He is into Barack.
As he showed in 2008, when he threw his white grandmother under the bus and spared his beloved black pastor, the Rev. Wright, then threw Wright under the bus when his toxicity level rose too high, Barack has all the sentimentality of Michael Corleone when it comes to the family business.
And what Obama is saying with his refusal to release the photos is what he has been signaling for weeks now: I am not going to fight the liberals' war -- on Dick Cheney's turf. The rewards are nonexistent, and the risks too great.
Thus, when Gens. Petraeus, Odierno and McKiernan grumbled, Obama tossed a blanket over the photos. Barack Obama is not taking on CENTCOM or West Point for a bunch of congressional progressives.
Thus, after he had opened the door to prosecution of the Bush lawyers who wrote the "torture memos," and resistance formed up, Obama backed down.
He said he did not want a special prosecutor. He did not want a 9-11 commission to delve into the criminality of what was done. He wants to put all that behind us and move forward.
Liberal moral outrage notwithstanding, Barack Obama is not going to fight the liberals' war on the liberals' turf. And history confirms the wisdom of his instincts. For it was by pursuing liberal theology that Democrats lost the nation they once owned.
It was ideology that led FDR and New Deal liberals to trust in "Uncle Joe" Stalin, to claim Mao's men were "agrarian reformers," and to defend Alger Hiss and deny the government was shot through with security risks and Soviet spies that dealt all those cards to Tailgunner Joe and turned the nation over to Ike and Dick in 1952.
It was the liberals who belatedly discovered that the war JFK and LBJ had marched us into in Southeast Asia was a "dirty and immoral" war and we were defending a "corrupt and dictatorial regime," which gave Richard Nixon his New Majority and 49-state landslide in 1972.
It was the Church Committee and Pike Commission ripping up the FBI and CIA, and Jimmy Carter's braying, "We have gotten over our inordinate fear of communism," and kissing Leonid Brezhnev -- followed by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan -- that convinced Americans they had to roll the dice with the cowboy.
And while Ronald Reagan was liberating Grenada and helping the Contras overthrow the communist Sandinistas, liberal Democrats were penning "Dear Commandante" mash notes to Daniel Ortega.
In short, liberals are incorrigible and their disease incurable.
Obama senses this, and is not about to let them conscript his presidency into an ideological crusade, all of which invariably end, like the Children's Crusade of Peter the Hermit, with everybody dead or in captivity.
Which brings us to The Crocodile.
Whatever one may think of Dick Cheney, about him it must be said: He is not ashamed of his record. He does not apologize for it. He is willing to go out and defend it in the arena.
He believes, that, after 9-11, he, as a custodian of the national security, had a duty to go the limit to get information from terrorists to prevent another or worse atrocity.
He admits to having approved the authorization of "enhanced interrogation techniques," including waterboarding. He believes they yielded indispensable information about our enemies that helped to prevent another attack for seven and a half years. He does not believe that they were illegal, or constituted torture.
He is a true believer, full of conviction and certitude, whose unstated retort to those demanding he be prosecuted for war crimes is the one he gave the distinguished senator from Vermont, Mr. Leahy.
And Cheney is winning.
Why? Because other than the hard left, which demands commissions, prosecutions, indictments, convictions and imprisonments, on the other side it is all loud noise and moral mush.
He is winning because he has the courage of his convictions, while his enemies come up short in both departments.
There is another reason Obama does not want this fight.
There is a high probability, if not a near certainty, that, one day, al-Qaida is going to conduct some spectacular attack on this country or its allies, and Americans will say, "This didn't happen when people like Cheney were running the show."
Obama has been dealt a tough hand, and he knows it.
Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan could all go horribly wrong. And, should that happen, the boy from Hyde Park and Harvard Law wants to be standing beside the CIA, not the ACLU.
That, too, is why Obama wants no part of this fight with Cheney.
See that all that dirt that's flying around? It's coming from the hole that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is digging for herself. From the moment Barack Obama decided to release CIA memos regarding the use of waterboarding, Pelosi has been vocal in expressing her shock and outrage. There is one problem... the more she talks, the more we learn that she knew about these techniques years ago.
Now, we see a classic example of a public official on the defensive... grasping at straws, trying to parse individual words to support her case, but getting in more trouble as she goes along. Much like the "outrage" expressed by Democrats regarding executive bonuses, Pelosi's reaction to the waterboarding memos was meant to stoke public anger. However, once again, the "outrage" was fake, and now she is being taken to task.
Last month, I wrote a column which discussed the information contained in CIA memos on interrogation that Obama decided to release to the public. The memos discussed waterboarding and the use of the technique on three al Qaeda leaders. The release of the memos was designed to make the Bush administration look bad and make the Obama administration look good. Instead, it has opened up a can of worms, especially for Pelosi.
She jumped on the bandwagon of criticism, denouncing waterboarding. But, she had known about it for years. As a member of the House Intelligence Committees back in 2002, she was briefed on the CIA techniques. Now, she is having to backtrack and is saying that the CIA misled her and Congress.
At her press conference this week, Pelosi was asked about briefings she attended while on the House Intelligence Committee, and she stumbles repeated to try to find the right words:
"I unequivocally oppose the use of torture by our government because it is contrary to our national values.
"The CIA briefed me only once on some enhanced interrogation techniques, in September 2002, in my capacity as Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee.
"I was informed then that Department of Justice opinions had concluded that the use of enhanced interrogation techniques was legal. The only mention of waterboarding at that briefing was that it was not being employed.
"Those conducting the briefing promised to inform the appropriate Members of Congress if that technique were to be used in the future.
Pelosi goes on to say, "We also now know that techniques, including waterboarding, had already been employed, and that those briefing me in September 2002 gave me inaccurate and incomplete information."
Inaccurate and incomplete information? As noted in the New York Times blog, the September 2002 briefing to which Pelosi refers was also attended by Republican Rep. Porter Goss. Goss wrote in the Wall Street: "I am slack jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as 'waterboarding' were never mentioned."
The CIA has also released records which counter Pelosi's claim of not knowing that waterboarding was being used:
According to the C.I.A. records, Ms. Pelosi attended the Sept. 4 briefing about the agency's interrogation techniques with her Republican counterpart, Representative Porter J. Goss of Florida. Based on agency notes from the briefing, the two lawmakers were told the specific techniques "that had been employed" on Abu Zubaydah.
CIA records and the accounts of others attending the briefings do not paint a good picture of the accuracy of Pelosi's defense.
Just as we saw with the bailout out bonuses, the Democrats are pros at holding press conferences and expressing outrage. Whether the outrage is genuine or not is not even a concern to them. However, it we keep speaking the truth and presenting the facts, hopefully, more and more Americans will listen. America deserves better leadership than this.