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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Barack Obama’s Socialist Income Redistribution Tax Policy

George Bernard Shaw must have had Barack Obama in mind when he suggested that “a government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” Income redistribution and handouts are the basic philosophy of American liberals; it is how they get elected, re-elected, and govern once in office, using the tax code as a weapon against America’s most productive citizens.

Barack Obama’s plan would end the Bush tax cuts causing three bad things to happen. First, it would increase the capital gains tax rate from 15 percent to as high as 28 percent, which everybody except Sen. Obama knows will reduce rather than increase the money government collects on capital gains.

The next two components are aimed at Americans making $250,000 or more a year, one that makes every dollar of earnings subject to the 6.2 percent employee portion of the Social Security payroll tax. Currently, that rate applies only to the first $102,000 of income. For people who work for someone else, their employer’s tax bill will also rise, and in the case of people who are self-employed, their Social Security taxes will double.

Then, he will increase the top marginal rate on income to 39.6 percent. That means that a person working for someone else will pay 47.25 percent of their earnings in taxes to the federal government (39.6 + 6.2 + 1.45 for the Medicare tax), and self-employed workers, who pay both the employee and employer portions of payroll taxes, will pay a tax rate of 54.9 percent (39.6 + 12.4 + 2.9). State and local tax payments are in addition to these figures.

Barack Obama’s “Fairness Doctrine” states: If you earn $250,000 or more a year, we are going to take about half of your earnings.”

However, most Americans see fairness as a condition where everyone is treated the same, or as the dictionary says, the “treating of all sides alike, justly and equitably,” as opposed to the idea that some are treated differently because of their income level or other criterion.

Democrat vice presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Biden goes one step further, suggesting that anybody making more than $250,000 is not patriotic unless they subscribe to Sen. Obama’s Fairness Doctrine to give half their earnings to the government. In response to a question from ABC News reporter Kate Snow, Mr. Biden said someone making that much “is gonna pay more. It’s time to be patriotic, Kate. Time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to get America out of the rut.”

However, in addition to the fundamental unfairness of the Obama-Biden plan, and leaving aside Mr. Biden’s asinine remark, such naive ideas are dangerous and will wreak havoc in the economy, because these onerous taxes will hit the most productive segment of our society.

According to IRS data, two-thirds of small business profits are earned in households making at least $250,000 per year, and the Small Business Administration tells us that the nearly 26 million small businesses in the U.S. employ more than 50 percent of the nation’s private sector workforce, and generated 60 to 80 percent of the annual net new jobs over the last decade. Furthermore, the number of women-owned businesses, black-owned businesses, Hispanic-owned businesses and senior-owned businesses has grown substantially in recent years. Small business owners are the people Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden have in their sights. But is it really smart to punish them with higher taxes?

Mr. Obama seems proudest of the part of his plan that promises a tax cut for 95 percent of Americans. But that’s not possible, since 44 million Americans pay no income tax at all. So, since he can’t give a tax cut to all 95 percent, he’s going to give those 44 million the money they would have gotten in the tax cut if they actually were paying taxes.

But that, ladies and gentlemen, is not how the United States works, and that is not how the United States ought to be run. This nation was built upon people who worked through their adversity, who conquered their challenges, who did not depend upon government to get them over the bumps in the road. It is only fairly recently that our government has begun to function as a savior, which is Mr. Obama’s philosophy.

The vast majority of us can succeed merely by taking advantage of the opportunities provided to us in this wonderful country, and by working to succeed. We do not need or want handouts from the federal government.

Our problems can be solved by reigning in the size and growth of government, and spending less so that no American has to pay a third or more of what they earn in federal taxes. Get government out of the way so that family, friends, neighbors and private sector initiatives can help the disadvantaged, and get America out of Mr. Biden’s rut.

Barack Obama calls his plan “change we can believe in,” but his socialistic tax and spend vision is change we should be afraid of, because it will wreck our country.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Let’s Be Certain We Find the Real Reasons for This Financial Crisis

The recent upheaval in the financial sector has some people in a panic, most people bewildered, and others busy aiming their pointer fingers at whomever they think is guilty of doing something that contributed to this problem. The presidential candidates are in the latter category. They aren’t quite sure what to do or what to say, but that doesn’t stop them from saying something, anyway.

John McCain made a decisive statement, attempting to show leadership, but his statement was not a very smart one. Barack Obama, by contrast, simply blamed Republicans.

Few things are as simple as politicians make them seem in an election year. Political candidates succeed by issuing pointed statements that are easy to understand and that connect with voters; truth and accuracy are not the primary concerns.

The important thing right now is to figure out what actually happened in the financial sector, and fix things so it can’t happen again. We must ignore the tremendous amount of speculation about what “might” happen, and the doom and gloom soothsayers who tell us that the sky is falling or that the end of the world draweth nye.

Because of its complexity the current financial situation invites simple political messages that connect with voters; it does not lend itself to full explanations that illuminate.

So, when Sen. Obama says that “it’s the Republicans’ fault,” he is expressing a simple idea that a lot of people buy into, but doesn’t explain anything. It is a silly oversimplification unworthy of a man who would be President. It appeals to emotional prejudices and ignores inconvenient realities, and most important of all, it is just plain wrong.

When Sen. McCain suggested that Securities and Exchange Commission head Christopher Cox didn’t do his job, and if he were president he would fire Mr. Cox, the Senator didn’t offer specifics. We’ll know more about Mr. Cox’s role as time passes and we learn more of the details, and can then judge if Mr. McCain’s simple message to voters about firing Chris Cox was a proper evaluation of the situation.

Sen. Obama described the current agony as "the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression,” ignoring all the recessions since then, even the ones in the 80s and the one following the 9-11 attacks, both arguably more serious crises. Of course, it remains to be seen just how serious this problem will ultimately be, but given Mr. Obama’s abysmal understanding of things economic, we would do well to take his prognostications with a grain of salt.

The root of this problem is the housing market’s subprime loan crisis. A subprime loan is a loan made to someone who under normal circumstances would not qualify for a loan, based upon their income and their ability to make payments. That begs the question: Why would a bank make a loan to someone it believes is unable to make the payments?

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was given life during the Carter administration, and empowers four federal financial supervisory agencies to oversee the performance of financial institutions in meeting the credit needs of their entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Whenever an institution wants to make virtually any change in its business operation, such as merging, opening up a new branch, or getting into a new line of business, it must first prove to regulators that it has made ample loans to the government's preferred borrowers, those in low- and middle-income neighborhoods who normally would not qualify for a loan. Lenders with low ratings can be fined by the government.

The Carter administration used tax dollars to fund numerous "community groups" that helped the government enforce the CRA by filing petitions against banks whose “cooperativeness” didn’t measure up, and sometimes stopping their efforts to expand their operations. Banks responded by giving money to the community groups and by making more loans. One of those organizations was the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). An active associate of ACORN in the 90s was a young public-interest attorney named Barack Obama.

So, starting in 1977 the federal government began “encouraging”—perhaps “strong-arming” is a more accurate term—banks to make loans to people to whom they normally would not make a loan, and in 1995 the Clinton administration pushed through revisions to the CRA that substantially increased the number and amount of these loans.

All of the bad loans weren’t caused by the CRA, of course, but billions of dollars in CRA loans did go bad, as should have been expected. When Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac came along and made it possible for banks to escape the risk associated with these ill-advised loans, conditions were just right for a large portion of the banking industry, even institutions that did not fall under the CRA, to become involved in making loans to unqualified borrowers, and banks participated in big numbers.

The federal government’s fingerprints are all over this crisis, and the Democrats who are today so righteously indignant and blaming the administration are at least as guilty as the Republicans.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Long Weekend in Myrtle Beach

We managed to get away on Thursday for a long weekend which, after driving 5.5 hours each way turns out to be not really a long weekend. We headed for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and got there just after 4 p.m. After checking in and getting settled we headed out to look around the area and find a place for dinner. We chose Greg Norman’s Australian Grille. Now, Greg produces wines and his name is pretty well known for that (in addition to golf) and both Di and I thought he had several restaurants, but, no, he has only one, and it is in Myrtle Beach.

We got a table outside on the harbor; it was very relaxing and scenic. But the mark of a good restaurant is the food, and the food at Greg’s was very good. Di had veal scaloppini with Hunter sauce and portabella beggars purses, which she liked, and I had the wood-grilled ribeye with garlic mashed potatoes and apple smoked bacon green beans, which was very good. For dessert, Di had bread pudding with strawberry white chocolate, and I had mixed berrys with vanilla ice cream. All in all, a very nice evening.

Friday for lunch we went Joe’s Crab Shack, where I had a crabcake sandwich and Di had coconut shrimp. Tolerable food.

For dinner Friday, we went to the House of Blues, which was a mixed blessing. If you’ve never been to a HOB, you might want to think a little about it before going. They have a concert venue, a restaurant, an “art” gallery and a souvenir shop all right together. It’s a very loud place, with a younger crowd, and a “rustic” d├ęcor. The food was decent; Di had an 8-ounce filet with snow peas and mashed potatoes, and I had the full rack of "fall off the bone" baby back ribs with Jim Beam BBQ sauce, mashed sweet potatoes and greens. The filet was tolerable, the ribs were very good, the sweet potatoes were tasty, but didn’t really fit with the ribs, and the greens were too spicy. The most memorable thing was the appetizer, which was skillet baked rosemary cornbread with maple butter. Unique, and tasty.

Tomorrow holds the promise of a return to Thoroughbreds’, a place we went a few years ago that had both a great atmosphere and good food. Lunch is still undecided.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Congressional Action on Energy: One Step Forward;
Two Steps Back

Even before hurricane Ike struck the Gulf Coast we began seeing price spikes, shortages of gasoline, lines at filling stations and mild panic on the part of the driving public locally. Damage to drilling, refining and distribution facilities appears to be light, according to early reports, however, the storm has created new obstacles to the already difficult effort to increase domestic oil supplies at a time when we desperately need to increase them.

A large majority of Americans have said repeatedly they want more domestic drilling for both oil and natural gas to ease dependence on foreign sources, but Democrat leaders of Congress chose to ignore the will of the people in favor of breaking for its usual five-week summer vacation last month, and have seemed deaf to calls to take action.

Breaking with the leadership, a bi-partisan Senate group consisting of five Democrats and five Republicans, known as the “Group of 10,” came up with an energy proposal that was an honest effort to break the current congressional deadlock on the energy issue. The Group grew from 10 to 16, and now has become the “Gang of 20,” ten from each party, as support for the proposal has grown. Critics of the plan, like the American Petroleum Institute (API), however, say that the plan takes one step forward in getting the Congress to at long last address the issue, but it takes two steps backward by failing to encourage new production and by imposing crippling new taxes on the industry at a time we should be encouraging it to do its work, not punishing it through increased costs.

The 400-member API is the only national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry, including producers, refiners, suppliers, pipeline operators and marine transporters, as well as service and supply companies. It recently released a fact sheet on the “Group of 10” proposal that points out the shortcomings of the plan, which says in part: “It is estimated that approximately 23 billion barrels of oil and approximately 45 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas would remain off limits,” because the authors of the plan bent to environmental pressure and will not allow drilling within 50 miles of the coastline, even though oil industry experts believe substantial reserves of natural gas and oil lie within that 50 mile limit. “Twenty-three billion barrels of oil is the equivalent of 29 years worth of today’s imports from the Persian Gulf; 45 TCF of natural gas is the equivalent of 12 years of today’s net imports of natural gas,” API said.

The organization also points out that the industry has proven it can safely develop resources in all areas, even those just off shore, due to improved technology, so fears of environmental damage are baseless.

The proposal also includes a state opt-in option that ultimately could prevent any new drilling, which would defeat the purpose of the proposal, and a tax measure that would likely be found to be a breach of the existing lease contracts.

The group proposes $30 billion in additional taxes on the industry that would be used to fund the transition of 85 percent of new U.S. motor vehicles from petroleum-based fuels to non-petroleum-based fuels and alternative energy technologies within 20 years. However, this plan would make government the focal point of development of new energy technologies by taking money that is already being spent on development by the oil and natural gas industry, which currently funds 70 percent of the existing investment in these technologies.

Raising taxes on business results in higher costs, making goods and services more expensive and less desirable, and tends to discourage the production of those goods and services. As an example, in the 1980s a windfall profits tax was imposed on the oil and natural gas industry. The result was a decrease in the amount of domestic energy that was produced, and a corresponding increase in imported oil. This is precisely what the country does not need if we are serious about energy independence.

It is a positive development that some members of Congress finally understand that the recent do-nothing position of the leadership is the wrong approach, but we must question the wisdom of breaking a deadlock on domestic energy policy with a measure that attacks the ability of oil companies, the leaders in both conventional energy and alternative energy development, to pursue those goals.

The current policy and the “Gang of 20” proposal draw a bead on the goose that laid the golden egg, targeting the industry with punitive measures instead of encouragement. What Congress must do is stop playing politics and “gotcha” with energy policy and open up those areas for drilling that are most likely to hold natural gas and oil, and free oil companies to explore there. And then do whatever needs to be done to support the industry in repairing the damage from Ike, and encourage the building of new refining capacity.

If we are truly serious about becoming energy independent, we can do nothing less.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Revealed: UK’s First Official Sharia Curts

From The Sunday Times

ISLAMIC law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases.

The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.

Previously, the rulings of sharia courts in Britain could not be enforced, and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.

It has now emerged that sharia courts with these powers have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester with the network’s headquarters in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Two more courts are being planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, whose Muslim Arbitration Tribunal runs the courts, said he had taken advantage of a clause in the Arbitration Act 1996.

Under the act, the sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals. The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case.

Siddiqi said: “We realised that under the Arbitration Act we can make rulings which can be enforced by county and high courts. The act allows disputes to be resolved using alternatives like tribunals. This method is called alternative dispute resolution, which for Muslims is what the sharia courts are.”

The disclosure that Muslim courts have legal powers in Britain comes seven months after Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was pilloried for suggesting that the establishment of sharia in the future “seems unavoidable” in Britain.

In July, the head of the judiciary, the lord chief justice, Lord Phillips, further stoked controversy when he said that sharia could be used to settle marital and financial disputes.

In fact, Muslim tribunal courts started passing sharia judgments in August 2007. They have dealt with more than 100 cases that range from Muslim divorce and inheritance to nuisance neighbours.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Support Sometimes Comes From Unexpected Places

Former Alaska Democrat presidential candidate Mike Gravel stuns lefties interviewing him during the Republican Convention by defending Sara Palin herself, and John McCain's selection of her as his VP running mate.

The interviewers, especially the female, are incredulous at his responses, and keep asking him questions, apparently hoping he'll realize his mistake and give them the answers they want.


(Many thanks to Copious Dissent)





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Friday, September 12, 2008

Help Determine Locations for Oil and Natural Gas Exploration

Right now the Minerals Management Service (MMS) is collecting comments on its next five-year offshore leasing plan. The MMS – the federal agency responsible for administering the offshore oil and natural gas program – considers the size, timing, and location of the areas to be considered for federal leasing, and it bases its recommendations on the public’s comments. The plan is reviewed by Congress and approved by the Secretary of the Interior.

MMS is accepting public comments on its 2010-2015 plan until Monday, September 15th. Apparently several anti-drilling groups have called on their members to flood MMS with comments. Therefore, the majority of comments oppose new leases. Considering that numerous national polls have shown Americans support increased drilling, their comments do not reflect the nation’s sentiments.

Showing support for drilling via MMS can have an immediate impact on the next leasing plan and can send a message to lawmakers.

You can comment by going to this site, and I urge you to do so.

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Unemployment: Another Crisis for the American Economy?

“The nation's unemployment rate bolted above the psychologically important 6 percent level last month for the first time in five years, and it's likely to go even higher in the months ahead, possibly throwing the economy into a tailspin as Americans pick a new president,” screamed our favorite AP economic writer Jeannine Aversa last Saturday, following the release of the August unemployment figures.

“A blizzard of pink slips propelled the jobless rate from 5.7 percent in July to 6.1 percent in August, the Labor Department reported Friday,” she continued, adding, in case readers weren’t properly frightened, that “such a sharp increase is usually a strong recession warning, and it dashed investors' hopes for a late-year recovery.”

The rise in the unemployment rate is the new weapon with which to bash the Bush Administration, using it to demonstrate just how awful the current economic environment is, and help everyone understand why we need a Democrat in the White House. Ms. Aversa’s hysterics certainly help make that job easier.

But perhaps Ms. Aversa is right. After all, we lost 84,000 jobs in August and have lost a total of 605,000 so far this year. In August, 9.1 million Americans were unemployed. Those numbers are enough to scare anyone, aren’t they? Especially when they are amplified by a hyperbolic reporter who chooses loaded words like “blizzard” and “propelled” for a straight news story, and thinks that’s her job.

But tossing around numbers without perspective is a reckless exercise. It allows demagogues to manipulate the uninformed and the unsuspecting, leading to gross misunderstanding, and that leads to bad policy making.

Combining the actual numbers and Ms. Aversa’s the-sky-is-falling rhetoric may convince many that the situation is dire, but in fact it isn’t as bad as you are led to believe. Of course, if you have lost your job—and need and want a job—then being unemployed is a serious problem. If the government didn’t pay you for a period of time while you looked for another job, it would be far worse. But as bad as things are for some out-of-work people, looking at the big picture—the unemployment data for the entire nation—tells a very different story.

Historically, 6.1 percent unemployment is neither unusual, nor a particularly high rate. In every year between 1980 and 1987 the unemployment rate exceeded 6.1 percent, and stood at more than 9.5 percent for two consecutive years. From 1991 to 1994 unemployment was higher than it is today, reaching 7.5 percent in 1992. In fact, in the 29 years since 1979 the unemployment rate was 6.1 percent or higher in 14 of those years, almost half the time, and many times significantly higher. In only seven years between 1979 and 2007 was the unemployment rate lower than 5.0 percent—25 percent of the time. It should be noted that periods of high unemployment plague both Democrat and Republican administrations.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Standards considers full employment to be when 94 to 96 percent of the workforce has a job, and when the unemployment rate is 4.0 to 6.0 percent. Today’s rate of 6.1 percent is barely outside that range, and 149.2 million Americans have a job. Putting the unemployment rate into perspective, a rate of 6.1 percent means 93.9 of every 100 people wanting a job have one. In most schools, a grade of 93.9 percent gets you an A.

It is also instructive to know that in 2007, the estimated unemployment rate for all nations averaged 30 percent, and France, Greece, Spain and Germany were all at 8.3 percent or higher. Next to those numbers, the U.S. doesn’t look so bad.

But when the political season is in full bloom, a party that hasn’t held the White House for eight years and heads a Congress with the lowest approval ratings in history will use every possible weapon to try to win the presidency. In this atmosphere even fairly good times have to be made to look bad. And times like these, when the country is facing economic challenges, have to be made to look like the end of the world.

Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama availed himself of the opportunity to make political hay on unemployment recently. "You would think that George Bush and his potential Republican successor John McCain would be spending a lot of time worried about the economy and all these jobs that are being lost on their watch," the first-term Senator said. "But if you watched the Republican National Convention over the last three days, you wouldn't know that we have the highest unemployment rate in five years because they didn't say a thing about what's going on with the middle class."

Notice that Senator Obama didn’t say that unemployment is not really very high in historical terms; he exaggerated the situation for political gain. Perhaps, rather than wondering why John McCain isn’t losing his cool over this exceedingly normal unemployment situation, we ought to be concerned that Barack Obama is blowing the unemployment situation out of all perspective.


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Thursday, September 11, 2008


2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers joined together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11. Each person payed tribute to a single victim.

We honor them by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.

So reads the introductory material on the 2996 Web page. I was assigned James Arthur Greenleaf, Jr. I was the 1357th blogger to sign up for the 2,996 Tribute project.

The name of each 9-11 victim has been assigned to a blogger. I urge each of you to explore more tributes of the innocent victims of September 11, 2001 by going to the 2996 Web site and following the links beside each victim’s name. (The original plan was to post the memorials on September 11, but that was changed today. Some tributes may not be posted until Monday.)

This project was a very moving one for me. In searching for information on Jim Greenleaf’s life, I was deeply touched by who this young man was.

James Arthur Greenleaf, Jr., age 32, native of Waterford, Conn. Mr. Greenleaf was a foreign exchange trader at Carr Futures and died at the World Trade Center. He was a resident of New York, N.Y. Mr. Greenleaf was a 1991 graduate of Connecticut College, he was the son of Mr. And Mrs. James Greenleaf, Sr., and the former husband of Susan Cascio, a 1992 graduate of Connecticut College.


The following was posted by Mr. Greenleaf’s mother on Legacy.com

April 6, 2002

My Dearest Jim,

Almost 7 months have passed and not a day goes by that I don't think about you. Some days I pretend that I just haven't seen you in long time and that you will be visiting soon. I know that it will be a long time till we see each other again, but it does help on the bad days.

Just this week Dad and I received 2 letters from old friends of yours recalling some great times that they spent with you and they wanted us to know what an impact you had on their lives. One letter we received said that she had children of her own and just hoped that some day they might grow up to be the kind of person that she remembers you as being. What a
wonderful tribute to the fine man that you were. You touched so many people and I'm sure that you had no idea of how others thought of you.

I know that I kissed you and told you how much I loved you every time I had the opportunity to, but I wanted to say it to you today again.


I love you so much,


Mom


Peter, Bryn and I talk about you all the time and remember all the wonderful times we spent together.
(Patricia Greenleaf, Waterford, CT)

Quilt graphic thanks to Kim at United in Memory

The James A. Greenleaf, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established to honor and remember a dear family member and friend who lost his life as a result of the catastrophe which occurred in New York City in 2001. The fund will be used to provide financial assistance to students attending St. Bernard High School.


Dave McBride also hopes to help others by honoring the memory of his long-time friend with the 5th Annual 5K River Run For The Fund. The race, which takes place this Saturday, May 13th at Ocean Beach Park in New London, is part of the Greenleaf Memorial Foundation, which also incorporates an annual Golf Tournament and a Memorial Dinner. McBride and James Greenleaf were best friends since high school, graduating from St. Bernard in 1987.

Sadly, Greenleaf lost his life because of the terrorist acts that occurred as he was working in New York City on the morning of September 11th, 2001. In a tribute to Greenleaf, his family and friends created the James A. Greenleaf, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc., with proceeds used to award full book scholarships for 8th grade students to attend St. Bernard High School. The organization received approximately 30-40 scholarship applications annually, which require a formal essay and teacher recommendations that are reviewed by the Foundation’s Board of Directors. The fund also hopes to increase its scholarship offerings either to St Bernard students or other local students who will be attending college.


Leave a message in honor of James Arthur Greenleaf Jr.

From: Lisa LaGalia Date: 11/19/2004 Message: Hi babe it me. Still not better without you. Can't you take me there where you are. We should be together

From: Maureen Griffin Balsbaugh Date: 08/29/2005 Message: At every one of your events. We know you are there in spirit....laughing.


Jim Greenleaf, rest in peace.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Rumors Detract from Real Campaign Issues

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has certainly set the political world on its ear since being named as John McCain’s vice presidential running mate a few days prior to the Republican National Convention at the end of last month. And her speech to the convention raised the delegates to fever pitch, a reaction that spilled through the exits of the St. Paul Xcel Energy Center into the streets and out across the nation.

All of this has proved to be more than the Democrats were counting on, and in reaction all manner of weirdities have appeared. The rumors about Gov. Palin are mostly ridiculous on their face, and a few others are still to be settled.

Probably the stupidest one is that the Governor’s new baby isn’t really hers, but her 17 year-old daughter’s, as if 1) the female Governor of any state could have a baby and no one would know, or that she could not have a baby and convince people that she had one, and 2) that her 17 year-old daughter could have one baby in April and be five months pregnant with a second one in August.

No doubt that Gov. Palin will have some legitimate issues arise over the next few weeks, but these silly “issues” the Democrats are bringing up are far more a testament to their desperation than to Palin’s flaws.

On the other side of the aisle, Barack Obama has been in the public eye longer that Sarah Palin, and so the opportunity to debunk the rumors about him has been far greater than for the Alaska governor. Nevertheless, some issues persist, and some are of legitimate concern.

The most serious challenge to Sen. Obama, if it was proved to be true, is the assertion that he is not a legitimate citizen of the U.S. and therefore not qualified to run for president. That one has been researched by FactCheck.org, among other organizations, and found by that organization to be a false claim. Is that evaluation conclusive? Who knows?

Far more worrisome, though less serious in practical terms, is the assertion that Sen. Obama is a Muslim, or was influenced by his Muslim upbringing as a child. There is at least an easily accessed history on this issue, the evaluation of which can be debated, but the authenticity of which cannot. Mr. Obama claims to be a Christian and produces various evidence to support that claim, like being married in a Christian church, having his children baptized in a Christian church, and being a member in good standing and a regular attendee of a Christian church. The problem with this argument, at least to me, is that the brand of Christianity practiced at this church is nothing that the vast majority of Christians would recognize as Christianity.

We have to hope that questions about all four candidates will be asked and answered over the few weeks remaining before the election, and that the American people will be well enough informed to make a good decision.

The pitiful state of the media these days does not offer a great deal of hope.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

The American Dream
Is Not a Government Handout


The phrase “American Dream” comes to us from historian and writer James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book, The Epic of America, where he said: “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone.” The phrase became a symbol of the opportunity America offered, and was reflected in great stories of personal triumph.

Adams complete definition is a broader statement, however, the rest of which explains that Americans are blessed “with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”

“It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely,” he writes, “but a dream of a social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

Adams tells us that the American Dream is, at its core, unbridled opportunity, and what we do with that opportunity, or what we fail to do with it, determines whether, and to what degree, we achieve the American Dream.

In the United States Declaration of Independence, our founding fathers told us that certain truths are 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.” This sentiment is the foundation of the American Dream. It expresses the founders’ vision of a great nation where men and women are free “to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable.” Inherent in that vision is that Americans have the will and determination to overcome the circumstances standing between them and their dream.

This is where the American Dream comes under attack. Forces now, and over the last four decades, are and have been hard at work tearing down the traditional American sense of rugged individualism, the sense of perseverance in search of a distant goal, the sense of personal responsibility, the innate understanding that life is not usually easy and that we will be the better for our contesting against adverse circumstances, and what seem to be overwhelming odds.

One member of those forces is Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

When he tells us that America is the greatest nation on Earth and we must change it, the American Dream is one of the things he wants to change.

Senator Obama wants government to bestow the American Dream on every American who hasn’t yet achieved it, or at least make it difficult for them to fail to enjoy it.

But the American Dream is not a right, and it is not a government program. When you think about it, the American Dream is the antithesis of a government program.

Our government was set up to be of limited size and scope; it wasn’t designed to micromanage our lives or our economy. Government’s role is to support a system that allows every American a shot at the American Dream. That is very different from what Mr. Obama is suggesting. And, the fact is that the Obama plan will only make the situation worse, and will require more of what has put the American Dream out of the reach of so many Americans: Too much government interference in the lives of the people and too high taxes on the productive elements of our society.

Late last year in Iowa, Mr. Obama said the reason he’s running for president is to keep the American Dream alive. But his idea of keeping the dream alive includes government imposing mandates on employers, such as raising the minimum wage and mandating the number of sick days for all workers, and implementing expensive government programs, such as creating Promise Neighborhoods, implementing a series of tax credits for certain groups, and creating transportation programs for certain groups.

Putting these measures into effect will not be free, and the price will be paid through increased costs and higher taxes to businesses, which will increase consumer prices, and higher taxes for wealthier Americans, limiting how much money they have available to use as they see fit. That is another of the ideas of the founding fathers: citizens being able to keep the fruits of their labors.

Karl Marx wrote the now-famous phrase, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” That concept is the cornerstone of socialist thought, and over the last 40 years socialist dogma has crept into our government and is the root of much of what our government does, and what a large number of politicians want to do.

America grew and prospered for nearly 200 years without the heavy government interference we see today. The American Dream was a goal its citizens pursued and achieved without government help. Today, we are becoming more dependent upon government for our very survival.

Karl Marx would be proud.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

People in Minnesota Demonstrating
Their Abysmal Ignorance


That line is borrowed from an English professor from long ago talking about people doing a man-on-the-street interview, and while it is not original, it is certainly an apt description of the protesters at the Republican Convention in St. Paul.

These fools go around wearing masks like common thieves, physically assaulting convention delegates by pushing and shoving them, throwing bleach and other liquids on them, spitting on them, cursing them, trying to steal their credentials, breaking out windows of businesses unfortunate enough to be where they gather, throwing rocks and bottles at police, and other similar criminal activities. These are real classy people. It’s embarrassing to know that such cretins inhabit the United States.

One of the idiots was shown chanting, “This is what democracy looks like.” No, jackass, that’s not what democracy looks like, that’s what felonies look like. It’s what punks look like.

Democracy looks like people expressing their opinion against or for some cause, without stooping to being thugs or hoodlums. Democracy looks like people promoting their ideas in a fashion that doesn’t turn more people against their cause than it attracts.

Many of these morons have earned a healthy stint in the slammer, perhaps some hard labor, and have to pay for the damage and injuries they have caused by the toil of their hands.

It’s not their fault, but Democrats will get the blame for this asinine behavior, because these jerks are far-left whackos. I wonder if the Democrats will condemn this despicable and criminal behavior.

Just in case you’re wondering, I am tense and angry about this crap.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Obama Shows Some Class

John McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has revealed that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. Mrs. Palin said in a statement her daughter Bristol would keep the child and was to get married.

The trolls of the political world have jumped on this event, using it for cheap political benefit, with the usual gutter blogs demonizing the young girl and her parents. The truth is that there are numerous unplanned, unwanted pregnancies every day, in this new age of sexual permissiveness, a part of the progressive philosophy invading the U.S. since the 60s. Unwanted pregnancies are a plague on our society that attack both conservatives and liberals.

To his credit, Democrat nominee Barack Obama has condemned the left-wing idiocy as “off limits.” “I have heard some of the news on this and so let me be a clear as possible,” Sen. Obama said. “I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people’s families are off limits, and people’s children are especially off limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics.”

I don’t have many good things to say about Barack Obama, but in this case, he has done himself proud. This is a non-event, in terms of presidential politics.

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