Saturday, July 04, 2009

"Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." - Gertrude Stein
Fireworks Display

The Flames of Liberty

"[T]he flames kindled on the 4th of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them." --Thomas Jefferson

"Posterity -- you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it." --John Quincy Adams

"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence." --Justice Joseph Story
Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation. 'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.

'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan.

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to base.

His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq; it's almost like you are doing
it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?'

'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. 'This is your thanks.'

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, and said, 'I want to shake your hand.'

Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.'

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals.

It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America " for an amount of up to and including my life.'

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

--Declaration of Independence

Friday, July 03, 2009

Posted By Bobby Eberle On July 2, 2009 at 6:54 am

You may have missed it, but on Wednesday, Barack Obama held yet another so-called townhall meeting. This one was to discuss his health care plans and use the new tools of "social media" to do it. Although surrounded by a live audience, the main focus of the event was to reach people using the White House web site, Facebook, and Twitter.

The problem is that there should be some kind of standards when it comes to a townhall meeting. By labeling it as such, Americans get the impression that this is a meeting of average Joes (and Janes) -- people from all walks of life and all parts of the political spectrum -- who can throw out questions to the president. Well... not quite...

As we have seen in many Obama events already, the purpose is strictly to get his message out and NOT hear from the American people, even though that is the stage upon which his sales pitch is being delivered. The White House picks the questions ahead of time, and the audience is generally made up of Obama supporters. Does this sound like a townhall meeting to you?

Take yesterday's event as an example. As noted in an Associated Press story on GOPUSA, one of the main people who spoke at the townhall about the ills of the current health care system is a Democratic National Committee volunteer. Whose plan do you think she'll support?

Some of Obama's questioners Wednesday were from friendly sources, including a member of the Service Employees International Union and a member of Health Care for America Now, which organized a Capitol Hill rally last week calling for an overhaul. White House aides selected other questions submitted by people on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Republicans said the event was a political sham designed to help Obama, not to inform the public.

"Americans are already skeptical about the cost and adverse impact of the president's health care plans," Republican National Committee spokesman Trevor Francis said. "Stacking the audience and preselecting questions may make for a good TV, but it's the wrong way to engage in a meaningful discussion about reforming health care."

With a more detailed analysis, The Washington Post reports that "questions for Obama came from a live audience selected by the White House and the college, and from Internet questions chosen by the administration's new-media team. Of the seven questions the president answered, four were selected by his staff from videos submitted to the White House Web site or from those responding to a request for 'tweets.'"

Obama also called on three "random" people from the audience. The Post points out that "all turned out to be members of groups with close ties to his administration.

Obama's habit of staging and scripting is beginning to irk even the White House press corps. From pre-selected questioners at White House press briefings to pre-screening of questions supposedly from the "general public" to "personal" stories from Obama supporters, the list of Obama schemes goes on and on. Just look at what happened at yesterday's White House press briefing:

Obama can call these events "townhall meetings" if he wishes, but just because you call something a duck doesn't mean it will quack. I hope the American people are smart enough to figure this out.
Maxine Says

Everyone concentrates on the problems we're having in this country lately: illegal immigration, hurricane recovery, alligators attacking people in Florida ...

Not me. I concentrate on solutions for the problems. It's a win-win situation.

+ Dig a moat the length of the Mexican border.

+ Send the dirt to New Orleans to raise the level of the levies.

+ Put the Florida alligators in the moat along the Mexican border.

Any other problems you would like for me to solve today?


Think about these:

1. Cows
2. The Constitution
3. The Ten Commandments


Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 20 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.


They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq .... Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.

The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is this: You cannot post 'Thou Shalt Not Steal,' 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery,' and 'Thou Shall Not Lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians...It creates a hostile work environment.


Also, Think about this: If you are afraid to speak up because you are afraid of offending someone --


It is Time for America to Speak up !


Speaking of speaking of the principles on which the United States was founded is Freedom of Speech. The Constitution guarantees our right to say whatever we want. It doesn't guarantee that anyone else will agree with us. Nor does it guarantee that we won't suffer consequences from voicing our beliefs.

It's true that some thoughts shouldn't be voiced, but even idiots have the right to an opinion. So-called "hate speech" laws go against society and, in my opinion, are the result of a poor upbringing. Parents who (correctly) taught their kids to voice their opinion, but failed to teach how to know when they are being stupid, insensitive, thoughtless, and hurtful, are really the guilty parties. Intelligent people (not necessarily those with college degrees, by the way) know when to speak, and how to get their opinion across without falling into the hate-speech realm. There is a big difference in expressing an honest opinion which might be illuminating and educational and showing ignorance.

However, as stupid, ignorant, insensitive, thoughtless, and hurtful as some opinions may be, I'd rather listen to those than to have my basic Freedom of Speech taken away. When we begin to say this is illegal to say, it may not be long until that is also illegal.

Be careful of what you wish for, you might get it.
FairTax in A Minute How does the FairTax affect income tax preparers, accountants, and many government employees?

There are, of course, still some people who are involved in sales tax return preparation and sales tax administration under the FairTax, but many fewer than those involved with the income tax today. Those tax preparers, tax lawyers, and Internal Revenue Service employees, who are typically well educated and well equipped with transferable skills, will have to find other, more productive work. The projected 10.5 percent growth in the economy during the first year of the FairTax will provide plenty of new jobs.

But the heavy compliance costs of the income tax are like an anchor holding back economic growth. We have nothing to show for the $265 billion (greater than the current federal deficit -- $205 billion) that we spend each year measuring, tracking, sheltering, documenting, and filing our annual income. Surely these valuable labor and capital resources can be employed more productively -- for example, in following the money trails left by terrorist, drug, and other criminal enterprises, rather than in tracking everyAmerican wage earner.

FairTax in A Minute – How does the income tax affect our economy?

How does dragging an anchor affect the speed of a ship? Our entire economy is not dependent on the income tax. Instead, our economy is held back by the income tax. There was no income tax for the first 124 years of our history -- that’s more than half the time we have existed as a nation. A study by the Government Accountability Office estimated that the federal tax system imposed efficiency costs on the U.S. economy of two to five percent of GDP. Under the FairTax, within ten years average Americans will be at least 10 percent and probably 15 percent better off than they would be under the current system. That translates to an increase of $3,000 to $4,500 per household, per year.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

by Ann Coulter
Posted 07/01/2009 ET
Updated 07/01/2009 ET

With the Supreme Court's decision in Ricci v. DeStefano this week, we can now report that Sonia Sotomayor is even crazier than Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

To recap the famous Ricci case, in 2003, the city of New Haven threw out the results of a firefighters' test -- which had been expressly designed to be race-neutral -- because only whites and Hispanics scored high enough to receive immediate promotions, whereas blacks who took the test did well enough only to be eligible for promotions down the line.

Inasmuch as the high-scoring white and Hispanic firemen were denied promotions solely because of their race, they sued the city for race discrimination.

Obama's Justice-designate Sotomayor threw out their lawsuit in a sneaky, unsigned opinion -- the judicial equivalent of "talk to the hand." She upheld the city's race discrimination against white and Hispanic firemen on the grounds that the test had a "disparate impact" on blacks, meaning that it failed to promote some magical percentage of blacks.

This strict quota regime was dressed up by the city -- and by Sotomayor's opinion -- as a reasonable reaction to the threat of lawsuits by blacks who were not promoted.

That's a complicated way of saying: Racial quotas are peachy.

According to Sotomayor, any test that gets the numbers wrong -- whatever "wrong" means in any given context of professions, populations, applicants, workers, etc. -- is grounds for a lawsuit, which in turn, is grounds for an employer to engage in race discrimination against disfavored racial groups, such as white men.

Consequently, the only legal avenue available to employers under Sotomayor's ruling is always to impose strict racial quotas in making hiring and promotion decisions.

Say, if the threat of a lawsuit permits the government to ignore the Constitution, can pro-lifers get New Haven to shut down all abortion clinics by threatening to sue them? There's no question but that abortion clinics have a "disparate impact" on black babies.

This week, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 for the white and Hispanic firefighters, overturning Sotomayor's endorsement of racial quotas.

But all nine justices rejected Sotomayor's holding that different test results alone give the government a green light to engage in race discrimination. Even Justice Ginsburg's opinion for the dissent clearly stated that "an employer could not cast aside a selection method based on a statistical disparity alone."

Indeed, the dissenters argued that the case should be returned to the lower courts to look for some hidden racial bias in the test. For Sotomayor, the results alone proved racial bias.

The one advantage Sotomayor's talk-to-the-hand opinion has over Justice Ginsburg's prolix dissent is that brevity prevented Sotomayor from having to explain why quotas aren't quotas.

That was left to Ginsburg.

Liberals desperately want race quotas -- as long as quotas never come to their offices.

But they can't say that, so instead they talk in circles for 10 hours straight, until everyone else is exhausted, and then, when no one is paying attention, they announce: So we're all agreed -- we will have racial quotas.

Based on her lifetime of experience working as a firefighter, Ginsburg said: "Relying heavily on written tests to select fire officers is a questionable practice, to say the least." Liberals prefer a more objective test, such as race.

Isn't excelling on written tests how Ruth Bader Ginsburg got where she is? It's curious how people whose entire careers are based on doing well on tests find them so irrelevant to other people's jobs.

In the middle of a fire, it can either be a great idea or the worst possible idea to open a door. An excellent method for finding out if your next fire chief knows the correct answer is a written test.

Unleashing the canard of all race-obsessed liberals, Ginsburg observed that courts have found that a fire officer's job "involves complex behaviors, good interpersonal skills, the ability to make decisions under tremendous pressure, and a host of other abilities -- none of which is easily measured by a written, multiple choice test."

So does a lawyer's job. And yet attorneys with absolutely no "interpersonal skills" get cushy jobs and extravagant salaries on the basis of their commendable performance on all manner of written tests, from multiple choice LSATs and bar exams to written law school exams.

I note that Ginsburg has not shown any particular interest in rectifying the "disparate impact" of legal exams: She never hired a single black law clerk out of the dozens she employed in more than a decade as an appeals court judge. (Her hiring practices on the Supreme Court are a state secret, but I can state with supreme certainty that her clerks do not reflect the racial mix of Washington, D.C.)

But liberals think other people's jobs are a joke, so the testing must also be a joke. That is -- other than their preferred test: "Is the applicant black, female or otherwise handicapped?"

There is no test that can prove all things about an employee and so there is no test that can't be derided by the race-mongers. Which is exactly the point. Get rid of all tests -- except for lawyers who graduated at the top of their law school classes at Columbia, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Then liberals are free to impose racial quotas on other people's jobs without limit.

As crazy as this is, even Ginsburg and the other dissenters made a big point of pretending there was some flaw in this particular test. None adopted Sotomayor's position that unequal test results alone prove discrimination.

This suggests that a wise Jewess, due to the richness of her life experiences, might come to a better judgment than a Latina judge would.



And I was silly enough to think that a judge, of all people, would be beyond blatant discrimination, especially from the bench. And make no mistake, this was discrimination, by both the municipality that threw out the promotions and by the judge. What gets me is that among the people who were denied promotions they deserved were Hispanics. But, honestly, that's not the point.

There has to be something to distinguish one person (or persons) as more deserving of a promotion than others. Personally, while I hate tests (they don't always prove that the highest scoring is the most qualified), they do show that this person knows enough about what the job entails to be more deserving of a promotion than the person who scored lower. And that might only be because they studied for the test or studied harder.

It might be that some of the firefighters who took the test just don't do well on tests. Some people just don't test well. I worked for a supervisor once who did very well on tests, but didn't have the people skills he really needed for the job he had. I've also known people who knew the job, but didn't test well. They usually end up being promoted because the higher ups want them in that position. Where I work it's known as The (insert name here) Curve. We all know this happens in all professions and industries.

In any case...the days are generally gone where people are simply promoted. Too many times people have been promoted because of who they knew or maybe because they were owed a favor by someone who had input into promotions. it still happens, but now, mostly people wanting a promotion have to prove their worth. This is really a good thing. Although it doesn't always keep out those who aren't worthy of a promotion, for the most part it does.

It's a shame when a group has to sue to get what they deserve, and even more so when the presiding judge doesn't think it's worth going forward. Not all law suits are worth taking to trial, but most times they are. If only because the citizens who feel they have been wronged will have their day in court. Not all cases are nonsense. That's something that needs to be determined in proceedings. Whoever loses should pay at least court costs, and maybe all costs including attorney fees. That should slow down a lot of the nuisance cases that are filed.

This case alone causes me to wonder about Judge Sotomayor and her objectivity. Seems to me that this would be a case a judge would want to come to court so as to prove that the promotions tests did or did not go against case or statutory law. I don't understand why she thought it unworthy of going to hearings and maybe trial.
The Koala and the Lizard

A koala was sitting in a gum tree smoking a joint when a little lizard walked past, looked up and said, 'Hey Koala! What are you doing?'

The koala said, 'Smoking a joint, come up and have some.'

So the little lizard climbed up and sat next to the koala where they enjoyed a few joints. After a while the little lizard said that his mouth was 'dry' and that he was going to get a drink from the river.

The little lizard was so stoned that he leaned over too far and fell into the river. A crocodile saw this and swam over to the little lizard and helped him to the side. Then he asked the little lizard, 'What's the matter with you?'

The little lizard explained to the crocodile that he had been sitting with the koala in the tree, smoking a joint, but got too stoned and fell into the river while taking a drink.

The crocodile said that he had to check this out and walked into the rain forest, found the tree where the koala was sitting finishing a joint. The crocodile looked up and said,

'Hey you!'

So the koala looked down at him and said,

'Shiiiiiiiiiiit dude...
How much water did you drink!?'
FairTax in A Minute – What about the 16th Amendment?

It is not the intention of this plan, or the desire of the American people, to end up with both a federal income tax and a federal sales tax. The objective is to ensure that one is replaced by the other, not added on top of the other. By repealing the 16th Amendment, we close the door on an income tax for generations to come.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Ramblings of a Retired Mind

I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older. Then, it dawned on me, they were cramming for their finals.

As for me, I'm just hoping God grades on the curve.
FairTax in A Minute – How does the FairTax affect government spending?

The public must remain vigilant to ensure that the economic gains caused by the FairTax benefit the people and the causes they deem worthy. However, it is easier to determine if your elected representatives are acting in your best interest. Legislators can more easily be held accountable for their decisions. For the first time in decades, it is simple to see whether a politician is advocating an increase in taxes or a restraint on government spending as the economic pie gets bigger. This is not the case today.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ramblings of a Retired Mind

Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office?

What are we supposed to do... write to these men?Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen could look for them while they deliver the mail?

Or better yet, arrest them while they are taking their pictures!

FairTax in A Minute – Is the FairTax just another conservative tax scheme? Or just another liberal tax scheme?

The FairTax has nonpartisan support from people in all walks of life. From both major parties and several third parties. Its supporters need only have one common belief: That it is a fairer, simpler, more efficient way to raise federal revenue. The FairTax delivers these benefits to all American people and more. More government accountability for taxpayer dollars, a tax system that is less susceptible to being manipulated by special interests, a tax system that will make it easier -- not harder -- for the average person to get ahead, and perhaps most importantly, a tax system that provides real, honest, and transparent tax relief for those who need it most.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ramblings of a Retired Mind

I know, when people see a cat's litter box, they always say, 'Oh, have you got a cat?'

Just once I want to say, 'No, it's for company!'

FairTax in A Minute – Can Congress just simply raise the rate once the FairTax is passed into law?

Yes, of course Congress can raise the FairTax rate just as it could raise the flat tax rate or can and does raise the income tax rate. And if we in the grass roots allow them to do it, shame on us!

However, the FairTax is highly visible. And because there is only one tax rate, it will be very hard for Congress to adopt the typical divide-and-conquer, hide-and-disguise strategy employed today to ratchet up the burden gradually, by manipulating the income tax code. Ultimately, the tax rate will be dictated by the size of government. If government gets larger, higher tax rates will be required. If government shrinks relative to the economy, then the tax rate will fall. Federalist 21, by Alexander Hamilton, is a great read on the futility of government raising a consumption tax too high, and thus reducing revenues.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

TV pitchman Billy Mays found dead at Florida home
By MITCH STACY - Associated Press Writer

Billy Mays, the burly, bearded television pitchman whose boisterous hawking of products such as Orange Glo and OxiClean made him a pop-culture icon, has died. He was 50.

Tampa police said Mays was found unresponsive by his wife Sunday morning. A fire rescue crew pronounced him dead at 7:45 a.m. It was not immediately clear how he died. He said he was hit on the head when an airplane he was on made a rough landing Saturday, and Mays' wife told investigators he didn't feel well before he went to bed that night.

There were no signs of a break-in at the home, and investigators do not suspect foul play, said Lt. Brian Dugan of the Tampa Police Department, who wouldn't answer any more questions about how Mays' body was found because of the ongoing investigation. The coroner's office expects to have an autopsy done by Monday afternoon.

Mays' wife, Deborah Mays, told investigators that her husband had complained he didn't feel well before he went to bed some time after 10 p.m. Saturday night, Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.
"Although Billy lived a public life, we don't anticipate making any public statements over the next couple of days," Deborah Mays said in a statement Sunday. "Our family asks that you respect our privacy during these difficult times."

U.S. Airways confirmed Sunday that Mays was among the passengers on a flight that made a rough landing on Saturday afternoon at Tampa International Airport, leaving debris on the runway after apparently blowing its front tires.

Tampa Bay's Fox television affiliate interviewed Mays after the incident.

"All of a sudden as we hit you know it was just the hardest hit, all the things from the ceiling started dropping," MyFox Tampa Bay quoted him as saying. "It hit me on the head, but I got a hard head."

McElroy said linking Mays' death to the landing would "purely be speculation." She said Mays' family members didn't report any health issues with the pitchman, but said he was due to have hip replacement surgery in the coming weeks.

Laura Brown, spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said she did not know if Mays was wearing his seatbelt on the flight because the FAA is not investigating his death.

Born William Mays in McKees Rocks, Pa., on July 20, 1958, Mays developed his style demonstrating knives, mops and other "as seen on TV" gadgets on Atlantic City's boardwalk. For years he worked as a hired gun on the state fair and home show circuits, attracting crowds with his booming voice and genial manner.

After meeting Orange Glo International founder Max Appel at a home show in Pittsburgh in the mid-1990s, Mays was recruited to demonstrate the environmentally friendly line of cleaning products on the St. Petersburg-based Home Shopping Network.

Commercials and informercials followed, anchored by the high-energy Mays showing how it's done while tossing out kitschy phrases like, "Long live your laundry!"

Sarah Ellerstein worked closely with Mays when she was a buyer for the Home Shopping Network in the 1990s and he was pitching Orange Glo products.


Sounds like the same sort of head injury that killed Natasha Richardson a few months ago.

Ramblings of a Retired Mind

Employment application blanks always ask who is to be notified in case of an emergency.

I think you should write, 'A Good Doctor!'

Kitten has these suggestions:

"EMS!" or "The nearest hospital!"

FairTax in A Minute – What assumptions have been made about government spending?

The FairTax Plan is devised to be revenue neutral for the first year of operation. It raises the same amount of revenue as is raised by current law. After the first year, revenue is expected to rise because of the growth generated by this plan. At that time the American people, the Congress, and the president will have to decide whether to lower the tax rate or to spend the additional revenue.