Saturday, November 22, 2008

November 22, 1963

I belong to an online social networking site called Eons. When I originally joined, it was billed as being for Baby Boomers, aged 50 and over. It’s motto was Lovin’ Life on the Flip Side of 50.

About a year ago, it dropped the age qualification to join from 50 to 13. Quite a difference. Many of us were upset. We had found a site where we could interact with people who understood our frame of reference and wanted to keep the age restrictions as they were. We became rather vocal about it. Some quit in sadness, and anger, and in feelings of betrayal.  I tried out a few other groups, but they just didn’t have the same feel. So I stayed with Eons.

The uproar continued and there were online skirmishes with those “young whippersnappers”. I remember being involved in one such skirmish. A young lady in her early 20’s couldn’t understand why she and her age group weren’t welcomed with open arms, what in the world could we have against her, and why were we so afraid of the younger generation? That’s when I entered the fray.

I replied that not knowing her, I had nothing against her in particular or anyone under 50 in general. And I certainly wasn’t afraid of her or anyone else. I believe I went on to tell her that frankly, she just wasn’t important enough for me to like or dislike or to be afraid of and that she was placing far too much importance on her existence in Eons. I explained that when we joined Eons we were promised a place where we could interact with people who remembered the same things we remembered. I asked questions such as, “Do you remember when Alan Shepherd was launched into space? Do you remember when Martin Luther King marched in Selma? Do you remember what you were doing when you first heard that Elvis had died? How about the Cuban Missile Crisis? Do you remember watching Bonanza in black and white? Or when Jeannie changed from black and white to color?” And finally, the basis of this post, “Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when JFK was assassinated?”

Of course, she couldn’t begin to remember any of that, as she wasn’t even a gleam in her Daddy’s eye. I went on to explain that we did, and that up until then, Eons was a place where we could go to discuss events such as those and so many other memories with people who remember from our own frame of reference. I wrote that we didn’t have to explain why we felt as we did about our memories, the others who read the posts would understand. If you didn’t live it, you just wouldn’t get it.

On days such as this, the anniversary of such an event, we could discuss our memories of where we were and how we heard the news that JFK had first been shot, and then, that he had died. We could talk about our memories to people who understood. It was a life altering experience. Few of us had lived through an event that so impacted our lives. We watched on TV and newreels as the entourage made it’s way past the Texas Schoolbook Depository and the grassy knoll. We heard the shots and saw the plume of pink exploding from the back of JFK’s head when the bullet found it’s mark. We saw Jackie crawling over the trunk of the car and the Secret Service agent making her get back to the relative safety of her seat. We watched as the convertible rocketed toward Parkland General Hospital in a futile attempt to get the President the care he was probably past needing and would come too late in any case. We listened as an emotional Walter Cronkite announced that the President was dead.

We watched a few hours later as VP Lyndon Johnson took the oath of office as President while Jackie, visibly in shock, stood next to him, still wearing the pink Chanel suit she was wearing when she was sitting next to her husband, happily waving to the crowds in Dallas, just moments, seconds before her life changed forever. It was now stained with her husband’s blood and brain matter.

We watched two days later when Jack Ruby gunned down apparent assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in a Dallas police garage. We watched the funeral procession. We saw John-John salute his father’s coffin (of course, we later learned it was the soldier on the other side of the casket that John-John was saluting, as he had been taught). We saw the riderless horse and watched the lighting of the eternal flame.

Many of us were still too young to really understand the implications of what had happened. We just knew that President Kennedy was dead, and that our parents were shaken to their very core. We didn’t know what to think, and there was nothing we could really do, so we looked to the adults for guidance, explanation, and comfort. We knew that the adults around us were upset; some crying, some angry, and all confused as to how this had happened.

We listened as our parents and other adults discussed facts, theories, and conspiracies. Nearly everyone had a theory. We listened as the adults wondered how this tragic event would change our lives. No one had any idea that even today we’d still be discussing those theories and conspiracies.

Prior to his election in 1960, John Fitzgerald Kennedy enjoyed an adulation similar to that enjoyed by Barak Obama. Both were young and charismatic. Both offered change from what had been to what they envisioned for America. Both made memorable speeches in Berlin. Both made history in daring to ascend to the highest office in the United States: JFK was the first Catholic to be elected to the Presidency; Obama the first Black American.

Those of us who are “of a certain age” remember JFK’s death even more than his life. In death, he became larger than life. He was a man whose life was cut short before he could really put his stamp on the presidency and establish his legacy. Had he lived, he may have blended into relative obscurity after his term of office, or he could have become the most revered President in our history. We will never know what he could have become.

Everyone has events that shaped their lives. We may not understand the magnitude of the event at the time, or just what it meant to us. Being social creatures, we strive to find a similarity with others. One way is finding memories that we share. And when we find someone who has the same memories we have, it’s our nature to discuss them, and to share our memories.

Today, November 22, there will be many discussions of where we were, what we remember, and yes, the theories and conspiracies surrounding that almost surreal time in our lives.

May we never live through such a time again.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Google 411

I just learned about this new Google feature

Free and easy to use. Very Cool....
The Secret to a Long and Happy Marriage

A couple was celebrating their golden wedding anniversary on the beaches in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Their domestic tranquility had long been the talk of the town.

People would say, 'What a peaceful & loving couple'.

The local newspaper reporter was inquiring as to the secret of their long and happy marriage. The Husband replied: 'Well, it dates back to our honeymoon in America, explained the man. 'We visited the Grand Canyon, in Arizona and took a trip down to the bottom of the canyon by horse. We hadn't gone too far when my wife's horse stumbled and she almost fell off. My wife looked down at the horse and quietly said, 'That's once.'

'We proceeded a little further and her horse stumbled again. Again my wife quietly said, 'That's twice.'

We hadn't gone a half-mile when the horse stumbled for the third time my wife quietly removed a revolver from her purse and shot the horse dead.

I SHOUTED at her, 'What's wrong with you, Woman! Why did you shoot the poor animal like that, are you *%& # @$ crazy!?'

She looked at ME, and quietly said, 'That's once.'

And from that moment..... we have lived happily every after.'
The Global Depression of 2010 Awaits
by Terry Easton (more by this author)
Posted 11/19/2008 ET
Updated 11/19/2008 ET

In the good old days of 2005, the US dollar’s share of the world’s financial system had dropped to around 60%. The dollar was slowly losing its status as the global reserve currency as the Eurozone became a reality and the Euro began to be held in reserve in the central bank coffers of Japan, China, Brazil, Russia, India, the UK, and others.

Then the October crash of 2008 happened, and the world suddenly became aware of the profound lurking global systemic risk to both its financial system -- and the real-world’s global trade. It turns out that the world was really much more interconnected than ever before, and the fantasy of “uncoupling” from the United States and its financial system was just that -- a fantasy.

For over 400 years, Letters of Credit have financed the world of international trade. An importer’s bank, say CitiCorp in New York, extends a letter of credit through the exporter’s bank, say HSBC in Hong Kong, to guarantee that the exporter will be paid when the shipment of goods arrives at the dock in New Jersey. Or the trade could run the other way, when a mid-west farmer plans to ship wheat to an importer in west Africa.

When the US credit crisis arose, banks worldwide immediately stopped lending to each other, since they couldn’t be sure that their correspondent bank would be around in a month or two to pay back the loan. Worse, so-called cross-default provisions between the major banks make the risks of lending to an unsure partner even worse. Trust among the banks collapsed. Even trust between operating subsidiaries of the same bank overseas were strained.

The result?

Banks stopped extending letters of credit to finance global -- and even some domestic -- trade.

Unfortunately, most bulk cargoes and global commodities as well as finished goods are financed in dollars -- as are their commodities futures contracts written in Chicago, New York and London.

When US banks stopped extending loans to overseas banks, overnight there appeared a profound shortage of dollars available for non-US banks to continue their international trade. And unlike the US -- where the international export-import sector accounts for only 25% of the GDP- in dollars (and most of that is inside the NAFTA zone between the US and Canada and Mexico) -- many other countries count on foreign trade to provide from 50% to 70% of their economies. Even France & Germany, while inside the Eurozone, depend upon cross-border trade for 60% or more of their GDP.

The world’s desperate demand for dollars soared. Most companies doing business internationally buy and sell based on dollars.

Today, the US dollar’s share of the world’s finance -- the so-called “reserves” -- has probably shot up to over 65% -- and is perhaps above 70% and growing. Who knows?

No one wants yen, rubles, renminbi, pesos, pounds or Swiss francs. Even Euros are worth less outside the closed continental Eurozone. The dollar has gone through the roof. BNP-Paribas predicts that the Euro will again drop below the dollar in value and UK analysts predict a similar fate for the English pound by early 2009.

But still global credit is in short supply. And without import-export credit, global trade grinds to a halt.

Consequently, the Baltic Dry Index -- used to measure the cost of chartering bulk cargo vessels for goods like corn and wheat, iron ore, cotton, rice and other “dry goods” -- has collapsed by over 90% in 2008.

When wheat can’t be shipped, the distant country’s mills can’t turn it into flour. Bakeries can’t bake bread. Stores can’t sell bread. Shortages occur. People are laid off. They stop spending. And no one can pay their bills when they are laid off or their firms go bankrupt. A recession turns into a global depression -- caused by cascading real-world defaults caused by the banking system lock-up.

Meanwhile, back in the US, important trading nations like Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and South Korea continue to be favored by the Federal Reserve with directly injected liquidity (money). China and Japan are OK too -- they have their own hoards of US dollars -- as do Saudi Arabia and the Gulf oil countries. They are firmly inside the US dollar zone. Likewise, the 12 European Eurozone countries controlled by the European Central Bank (and indirectly the UK) are also able to maintain most bloc trade independent of the dollar.

As the world begins to unwind, people stop buying things. Sales of imported wine and toys and clothes drop, along with purchases of imported and domestic-made cars. GM and Ford totter on the verge of bankruptcy, dragged down by their bloated domestic union contracts which suck up all the profits made by their booming overseas divisions. Now their overseas divisions are slowing down too. Even mighty Toyota is crashing.

Worse, no cash is available -- especially from the terrified banks -- to build new modern plants and assembly lines. Planning on buying a clean all-electric car soon? Forget it. Ditto clean nuclear power plants or wind farms. Like the old days of Soviet central planning, the entire system is quickly being starved of investment credit.

Then the government politicians and bureaucrats step in to “save” the banks and then the automobile companies and then the credit card companies and then the next industry sector to fail. Bailouts await Intel, Apple, and HP as the entire system becomes morally corrupted. Even Walmart will be too big to fail…

What the politicians are really doing with all these so-called bailouts, of course, is trying to save their own skins, afraid of an angry populace which will wake up in time for the 2010 general election and toss the present bunch of rascals out of Congress.

By then, US unemployment will have reached 12% and your 401K plan will be renamed the 101K plan (except for members of the auto workers union whose own retirement plans will be bailed out by taxpayers money in exchange for their votes).

Eventually, when the whole sorry mess crashes down around us, people will remember warnings that so many of the founding fathers made in cautioning against creating a central bank. The Fed will be replaced or dissolved, and a new free-market system will emerge like a Phoenix without a corrupt politicized and easily-manipulated fiat currency to rot it out from within.

Sorry Mr. Obama. You inherited this mess, and the only solution to save our collective skins is a big dose of Austrian free-market capitalism, not a soul-crushing dollop of state-administered socialism. You must let the incompetent, the corrupt and the foolish fail.

A recession is like a brush fire which quickly burns itself out as it clears the dead wood.

But heavy-dose money-printing management of the economy, starting with the Fed and Treasury’s morally-bankrupt programs is about to turn a short and severe recession into a catastrophic forest-destroying monster depression.

If you, Barack Obama, have the audacity to turn 180 degrees to embrace this reality, you will probably be remembered in the history books as the greatest-ever president who saved America -- and the world.

On the other hand, if you stick to a "progressive" wealth-destroying socialist-Marxist big-government agenda, we will be cursed to suffer for decades.

So one can hope.

The other sad option takes us down the road to the solution that finally got us out of the 1929 Great Depression: the second world war. God help us if that is the route we take.

Mr. Easton teaches University economics and is passionate about technology and entrepreneurship. He is rosy about the long-term future: The glass isn't half full, it's overflowing!
Obama's New 'Fairness Doctrine'

Get ready for an unprecedented government assault upon the First Amendment. President Obama will be at the heart of it. using his version of the “Fairness Doctrine”.

In 1949, the Federal Communications Commission created the “Fairness Doctrine,” which mandated that federally-licensed radio and television stations “provide a reasonable opportunity for the presentation of contrasting viewpoints” on “vitally important controversial issues.” Rather than be deluged with demands for air time by aggrieved listeners, the broadcasters generally opted not to cover controversial issues, thereby leaving the public less informed.

In 1987, President Reagan’s FCC jettisoned the Fairness Doctrine, and conservative talk radio grew like topsy, unencumbered by the logistical nightmare of determining what is “controversial” and what is “fair.” Rush Limbaugh’s meteoric, syndicated rise is directly attributable to this repeal, as radio stations were freed to air what listeners wanted to hear without airing what few wanted to hear. If you think that’s unfair, check out how Air America is doing.

Limbaugh even today correctly says, “Don’t me ask for equal time; I am equal time. I am the rebuttal to the liberal, mainstream, drive-by media.”

With the Democrats now set to control the Presidency and both houses of Congress, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid say they want to bring back the Fairness Doctrine to stifle conservative talk radio’s criticism of the Democrats.

Barack Obama, however, in June 2008, , stated that he opposes bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, through his Press Secretary Michael Ortiz: “He considers this debate to be a distraction from the conversation we should be having about opening up the airwaves and modern communications to as many diverse viewpoints as possible.” [emphasis added]

Obama knows that exhuming the Fairness Doctrine would be a frontal assault upon the First Amendment that would evoke a Boston Tea Party-like response from listeners of Limbaugh, Hannity, Ingraham, Beck, and other conservative talk hosts who would be dropped rapidly from many if not all stations. Glenn Beck has warned that if the Fairness Doctrine comes back, he’ll be off the air.

Obama is way smarter than that. What he has in mind is an indirect and far more means to accomplish the demise of conservative talk -- America’s last town hall. The analogy is to the proverbial frog in the pot of water. Put him into boiling water, and out he’ll hop. Instant Boston Tea Party. Here, then, is the Obama plan to slow cook the First Amendment:

Charles Benton is Chairman of the Benton Foundation, with offices in Obama’s Chicago as well as in Obama’s Washington. Benton proclaims at his Foundation’s web site, “[O]ur number one national communications policy priority must be the eradication of racial and gender discrimination in media and telecommunications. Our shared goal: seeing the day when all Americans possess the tools to compete in commerce, to contribute to and enjoy the fruits of democracy, to receive unbiased and uncensored news and information, tocreate our culture. “ [emphasis added]

The Federal Communications Commission has a vague rule called “localism,” which requires stations to serve the interests of their local communities in order to hold onto their broadcast licenses. Obama, who gets to replace FCC Chairman Kevin Martin right away, needs only three votes from the five-member FCC to define localism his way.

Jim Boulet, Jr., the head of English First in Washington, D.C., one of whose projects is, has been studying and warning for months about the morphing of FCC localism. Boulet notes to Human Events the following:

• On September 20, 2007, Obama submitted a pro-localism written statement to an FCC hearing at the Chicago headquarters of Rev. Jess Jackson Sr.’s Operation Push. One month later, an insistent Obama sent a public letter to Chairman Martin stating, “The Commission has failed to further the goals of diversity in the media and promote localism.”

• The head of Obama’s transition team is John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress. In 2007, the Center issued a report, The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio, which concluded there were too many conservatives on the radio because of “the absence of localism in American radio markets” and urged the FCC to “[e]nsure greater local accountability over radio licensing.

• Podesta’s choice as head of the FCC transition team is Henry Rivera, a Director and General Counsel of the above-noted Benton Foundation and chairman of the Minority Media Telecommunications Council, which has stated: “Broadcasters must reach beyond the business sector and look for leaders [think community organizers] in the civic, religious, and non-profit sectors that regularly serve the needs of the community, particularly the needs of minority groups that are typically poorly served by the broadcasting industry as a whole.”

• Bowing to this pressure even while Bush is still President, the FCC proposed on January 24, 2008, the creation of permanent station advisory boards comprised of local officials and other community leaders, to periodically advise them of local needs and issues to ensure content diversity on the air.

• Any station that fails to placate these “local community leaders” would then be subject to license revocation by the FCC with an accelerated license review every two years as opposed to the current eight years. This would allow each station license in America to be attacked twice during just one Obama term.

Question: What organization first used “localism” at the FCC in this fashion? Answer: The United Church of Christ, Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s highly-politicized denomination. UCC has an entity called the Office of Communication, Inc., which successfully took a broadcast license away from a Southern station it felt was not covering the civil rights movement fairly. This is just one reason John McCain should have realized Rev. Wright was fair game in the campaign.

This, then, is the historical template that Obama, Podesta, and their FCC maven Rivera intend to use to do something about the curse of conservative talk radio in America: Redefine FCC “localism” to give community activists the right to demand more local, liberal content. If station ownership does not comply, then licenses will be revoked and given to minority owners.

One of the more clever aspects of this “localism” plan is that, should a station lose its license to a liberal owner whose content will reflect his/her views, then there will be no Fairness Doctrine around to require equal time from aggrieved conservative listeners.

Christian radio stations will be saddled with local Muslim “advisory boards” demanding equal time and getting it. The Brave New World awaits.

Steele on Rebuilding the GOP
by Martha Zoller

Michael Steele is a busy man. Between his duties as GOPAC Chairman, this past weekend Steele was keeping tabs on the Republican Governors Association meeting in Southern Florida and addressing a group at “Restoration Weekend” sponsored by David Horowitz’s Freedom Center. Steele moderated a panel with me, Rep. Mike Pence, Ward Connerly and Pat Caudell.

Last week, Steele announced he will be seeking the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee. There with us in Florida, Steele began telling Republicans what we have to do to rebuild. Steele made no apologies for the ’08 elections or for conservatism.

The lessons of the losses are fresh and still coming with three Senate seats hanging in the balance in Alaska, Minnesota and Georgia. “What I learned is that you can’t please everyone, but you can certainly make them mad at you at the same time,” said Steele. “We have over the course of the last seven or eight years ticked off a lot of people in this county. Not because we’re conservatives…but because we failed to speak to those issues -- because we failed to lead on these issues.”

Steele asked, “So despite the results of the recent elections, do you think America is saying to itself, oh, we want to be liberals? We want to nationalize our health care system? Do you think that was the result? I’ll answer it for you, no.” Then he said, “Because we failed to speak to the realness of that, America followed the only voice they heard.”

Steele took the time to frame to 300 or so conservatives in attendance what it means for him to be a conservative Republican in America and in the African-American community. The easy thing in America is for a black man to be a liberal. But Steele will tell you that he can take you into any black church in America, save for Trinity United in Chicago, and you will think you are in a “Republican Revival.”

Steele was the Lt. Gov. of Maryland -- the first black man elected to the job, and you didn’t hear the heavens open up on the other side praising the barrier being broken down. And when he lost the U.S. Senate race to Ben Cardin, there were no wringing of hands in the black community about what a great loss this was.

For Michael Steele committed the sin of being conservative while black. Even his blessed mother, who raised him without government assistance and never made more than $3.38 an hour, asked him when he told her that he had registered Republican, “Baby, why would you do that?” His answer was, “Because that’s what you taught me, Mom.”

Steele spoke eloquently about the problems in the conservative movement today and how we got there: “Over the past decade or so, conservatives seem to have lost their way. The disparity between our rhetoric and our actions has grown to the point that our credibility has snapped. People just don’t believe us.”

“We’ve become our own worst enemy,” said Steele. “We in fact as much as anyone else have become the party of big government. We lost our principles our credibility, we dishonored our nation. Frankly, we behaved like Democrats.”

“But Lincoln reminds us when he said, ‘the probability that we may fail in trying to restore ourselves, trying to move forward in this struggle, ought not to deter us from a cause we believe is just,’” said Steele, a self-described Lincoln Republican.

“The cause of the conservative movement in this country is alive and well. It is strong only if we let it be strong, only if we acknowledge its principles only if we prepare to go into the town squares and the halls of America and speak truth to power. If we are to regain the trust of the American people and restore the credibility of our ideas, we must break with that which went wrong and once again stand for what is right.”

With all this rhetoric, Steele has not lost sight of the future. He understands even some people who call themselves conservatives in the “punditocracy” of the media want to say it is the conservative ideology that lost the election -- that conservatives are exclusive and out of the mainstream. Steele disagrees. He makes the case that conservatives cannot allow liberals to define them.

Steele is the face of the Republican party of Ronald Reagan. Many pundits say the Reagan era is over. Even Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota acknowledged that if Republicans are going to reach the 18-30 year olds who voted 2-1 for Barack Obama, we are going to have to update our icons. But that doesn’t mean Reagan Republicanism doesn’t work -- it means that it needs a new face. Reagan was the new face for a new generation of Goldwater Republicans, and Steele is the new face for Reagan Republicans.

“If you have any interest in reviving the Republican Party you will put it in this man’s hands and not a political hack in that job who likes to represent people who like to represent themselves. People in politics. It will get you nowhere. This man [Michael Steele] I have known for years -- he has vision, he has principles and more than that he is smart about politics,” said Pat Caudell, a “rogue” democrat strategist.

Haley Barbour, former RNC Chair and Governor of Mississippi, said the time to fix things is when you are out of power. It allows new ideas and new people to bubble up to the top. While I stood with Steele during a long day of politicking, he told me he was up for the battle and ready to take the message around the country.

Steele closed by saying, “Our best hope for a brighter future is in the empowerment of individuals and families; not in constraints imposed by a bloated bureaucracy. It is still morning in America because America is morning. My mother told me that. She knew that the freedoms may not reach her doorstep, but she had faith that it would reach mine…Don’t make excuses for what we believe in -- that time is over, let’s get busy.”

Ms. Zoller is a political analyst and conservative talk show host for WDUN AM 550 in Gainesville, Georgia and syndicated on The Georgia News Network. She is one of the Talkers Magazine "Heavy Hundred" Talk Shows in America for 2005-2007. She can be seen regularly on cable news. She is the author of "Indivisible: Uniting Values for a Divided America." You may contact her through
Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley
Newt Gingrich,David W. Kralik
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It has been six years since Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act after the devastating accounting irregularities of Enron and WorldCom. While the intent of the law was to prevent corporate fraud, there is growing evidence that it has done more harm than good, and is undermining the venture-capital industry in Silicon Valley. Now, with signs that our economy is moving toward recession, Congress should take this opportunity to repeal the law.

Rep. Michael G. Oxley, R-Ohio, recently said in an interview with the International Herald Tribune that Sarbanes-Oxley was passed in haste. "Frankly, I would have written it differently. ... Everyone felt like Rome was burning."

Sarbanes-Oxley went too far in regulating corporate governance, resulting in at least three unintended consequences.

-- It was insufficient at preventing insolvencies and accounting shortfalls in companies such as Bear Sterns, Lehman Bros., American International Group (AIG) and Merrill Lynch.

Estimates from leading figures in the venture-capital community indicate the average company will now take 12 years before it can successfully issue an initial public offering (up from five years pre-Sarbanes-Oxley) because they do not have enough capital to cover the estimated $4.36 million hidden tax in yearly compliance costs, according to an estimate by the Financial Executives International. (The initial estimate from the Securities and Exchange Commission was approximately $91,000 per company on average.) Sarbanes-Oxley turned out in practice to cost small companies 50 times more than the SEC estimated. Oxley said the law gave the accounting industry "almost carte blanche to do almost everything they wanted to do, which turned out to be far more expensive than anticipated. ... They just went crazy."

In addition, by creating criminal liabilities for board members, Sarbanes-Oxley has made it harder to find experienced members to join corporate boards.

-- It initiated a movement among smaller public companies to return to private status or merge. In 2006, the law firm Foley & Lardner LLP conducted a survey of 114 public companies on the effects of Sarbanes-Oxley. Twenty-one percent of companies were considering going private, 10 percent were considering selling the company, and 8 percent were considering merging with another company. These respondents mostly were companies with less than $1 billion in annual revenue.

-- It is resulting in a trend where companies choose to go public on foreign, not American, stock exchanges. In 2005, a report by the London Stock Exchange cited that about 38 percent of the international companies surveyed said they had considered issuing securities in the United States. Of those, 90 percent said the onerous demands of the new Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance law had made London listing more attractive.

The effect of Sarbanes-Oxley in Silicon Valley has been especially dramatic. In the second quarter of 2008, there were no public offerings of Silicon Valley venture capital-backed companies, a phenomenon not seen since 1978. In the third quarter, there was only one. Sarbanes-Oxley has had a direct effect on venture capital. Indeed, if Sarbanes-Oxley is not repealed, then we could see Silicon Valley's status as a hotbed of innovation erode and see more and more of the future invented outside of the United States.

Bernie Marcus has indicated that he could not have founded Home Depot under Sarbanes-Oxley rules. With a new presidential administration and a Congress convening in less than three months, now is the time to begin thinking through the solutions needed to address our economic challenges. Economic growth in a sound market economy requires smart regulation, not destructive regulation that hurts economic growth. Sarbanes-Oxley fails that test. It should be repealed.

Newt Gingrich is the former speaker of the House of Representatives and general chairman, and David W. Kralik is director of Internet strategy and manager of the Silicon Valley office of American Solutions.

This article appeared on page B - 17 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy 80th Birthday Mickey!

Although Steamboat Willie is generally considered to the the first appearance of Mickey Mouse, he first appeared in a movie called Plane Crazy. It didn't catch the interest of the public and Mickey struggled in Hollywood waiting tables, working as a messenger, and taking any job he could find to pay the bills until he rose to stardom after being cast in Steamboat Willie.

Mickey, in his early days, was something of a player, and not the sweet, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-his-mouth mouse he evolved into over the next 80 years (doesn't he look good for his age?), thanks to careful handling by the Disney Studio and its legal team. It's my understanding that Mickey is the reason morals clauses were written into actor's contracts. I have no facts to prove that, but my other reader swears to it. 

And here is Plane Crazy, starring Mickey, Minnie and a host of their friends.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cold and Flu Remedy

Miss Beatrice, the church organist, was in her eighties and had never been married.

She was admired for her sweetness and kindness to all. One afternoon the pastor came to call on her and she showed him into her quaint sitting room. She invited him to have a seat while she prepared tea.

As he sat facing her old Hammond organ, the young minister noticed a cut-glass bowl sitting on top of it. The bowl was filled with water, and in the water floated, of all things, a condom!

When she returned with tea and scones, they began to chat.

The pastor tried to stifle his curiosity about the bowl of water and its strange floater, but soon it got the better of him and he could no longer resist.

'Miss Beatrice', he said, 'I wonder if you would tell me about this?' pointing to the bowl.

'Oh, yes,' she replied, 'Isn't it wonderful? I was walking through the Park a few months ago and I found this little package on the ground. The directions said to place it on the organ, keep it wet and that it would prevent the spread of disease. Do you know I haven't had the flu all winter.'

And to think I got a flu shot.

Immigration Reform
  • Secure America's borders
  • Enforce employment laws
  • No amnesty
The American people have spoken, and the clear message is that immigration reform starts with secure borders. In a post-9/11 world, we should expect nothing less. In addition, the American people do not support amnesty. Candidates must repudiate amnesty and show respect for the American people by showing respect for the law. Illegal aliens should not be given special consideration for citizenship and should not be put ahead of those seeking to come to America legally. Conservatives will work for candidates who pledge to put border security first and who pledge to not put illegal aliens ahead of those seeking citizenship through legal means.

Tax Reform

  • Make President Bush's tax cuts permanent
  • Reduce taxes, both on business and individuals
  • Simplify the tax code by moving to a flat tax or the Fair Tax
  • No favorites -- All tax cuts should be across the board

The tax code must be simplified, and all taxes should be reduced. The tax code should focus on its core function -- a means of raising revenue. The tax code should not be a vehicle for social engineering, and the reduction of taxes should not pit one socio-economic group against another. Conservatives will support candidates who pledge to cut taxes and simplify the tax code, while not engaging in class warfare.

Size and Scope of Federal Government

  • Reduce the size of the federal government
  • Reform entitlement programs
  • Respect states' rights and limit the reach of the federal government as stated in the Constitution
  • Cut spending
  • Support a balanced budget amendment
  • Eliminate earmarks and support stand-alone spending bills

It is not enough for the federal government to only grow by a few percentage points. In the end, it still leads to bigger government. The federal government must SHRINK. The Republican Revolution was built on this core Republican principle, and conservatives will support candidates committed to shrinking the size and scope of the federal government. The pork must go! Earmarks and pork-barrel spending must be eliminated. These practices lead to corruption and are not conservative. The federal government should do only those core jobs enumerated in the Constitution. Other governmental responsibilities should fall to the states. Conservatives will support candidates who pledge to cut spending, shrink government, and eliminate earmarks.


  • Vigorously nominate and support the confirmation of judges who follow the law, not those who legislate from the bench
  • Wage a real fight against left-wing attempts to block judicial nominees

Nominating a conservative judge simply to let him or her languish without an up-or-down vote is not acceptable. Judicial nominees, who follow the law rather than make new laws from the bench, deserve full and enthusiastic support. Conservatives will support candidates who pledge to nominate strict constructionists and who will not wilt in that support even under left-wing attacks.


  • Respect the rights of the unborn and promote laws which will protect innocent human life
  • Support the overturning of Roe v. Wade
  • Block any efforts to fund or promote embryonic stem cell research
  • Conservatives believe in a culture of life. This culture must be embraced and advocated by our Republican leaders. Conservatives will support candidates who pledge to promote a culture of life and who work for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. No candidate can say they are "100% pro-life" and also support embryonic stem cell research. This research results in the destruction of innocent human life. Research proves that adult stem cells are as good or better for curing diseases, and thus the use of embryonic stem cells is moot. Conservatives will support candidates who pledge to support life at every stage.

Free Speech

  • Repeal the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act
  • Embrace First Amendment rights

The Campaign Finance Reform Act is an assault on free speech and must be repealed. The law resulted in a rise in soft money advocacy through the actions of 527 organizations while other groups were not allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights to support a candidate of their choice. This is wrong. Conservatives will support candidates who pledge to repeal this law and support the free speech rights of all Americans.