A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Putting the Old Gray Mare (er. Lady) Out to Pasture

Former AIG Chairman and billionaire Hank Greenberg is attempting to wrest control of the New York Times from the Sulzberger family via a hostile buyout.

I have argued for some time that the Conservative Movement will not succeed unless we take steps to break the stranglehold the Left has on the dissemination of information-particularly the mainstream media. Our blogging and talk radio are fine, but they simply don`t have the impact on the views of the general public that the Dinosaur media still enjoys; they may be dinosaurs, but we are cavemen trying to beat a T-Rex with clubs. This last election was a testament to this power our political enemies still wield; America would never have put the cut-and-run party in power if they hadn`t been told daily that Iraq is a total disaster (despite evidence to the contrary) and there is no War. That the press was able to lie so boldfacedly to the public, and convince enough people that this Big Lie was true-illustrates that our ``new media`` is still far too weak to win this battle for the sould of America. Global Warming is another example; many Americans believe this is established fact rather than a nebulous theory without solid scientific evidence. Why? Because the media has been beating this tom-tom for twenty five some odd years. We simply MUST break this chokehold! Until both sides of the issue are presented in a fair and open manner the Left will continue to dominate.

That`s why I`m not sure what to think about this situation with the Times; Greenberg was a heavy donor to Bush Sr. and Bush Jr., and he donates to the Heritage Foundation, but he seems to be a man of business first, and I`m not at all sure he will push for the changes needed to turn the Gray Lady`s hair back to blond. Still, any change is a step in the right direction, and financial pressure on the Times may force publishing changes.

This should show us the way to progress; we can buy up enough shares in our enemies to force them to honesty. We`ve got to learn this lesson, and understand the importance of this, or we will never succeed in our mission.

Please Return Your Imams to Their Full and Upright Positions

Love her or hate her, nobody pokes the tender underbelly the way Ann Coulter does! (Thanks 7lb. Dave):

> November 29, 2006

> The six imams removed from a US Airways flight last week have apparently
> adopted my suggestion that if they really want to protest the airline,
> instead of boycotting US Airways, they should start flying it frequently.
> The spokesman for the imams — or as I believe it's phrased in their
> culture, "designated liar" — Omar Shahin, staged a protest at Reagan
> Washington National Airport on Monday, after which, according to The
> Associated Press, "he and other religious leaders boarded a US Airways
> flight to demonstrate their determination to continue praying and flying."
> The original six imams removed from the flight last week first attracted
> attention when they said prayers to Allah on traditional Muslim prayer
> in the boarding area. After boarding, they changed seats, spreading
> themselves throughout the plane. They were also overheard spouting
> anti-American rhetoric. Witnesses said the six men appeared to be either
> Islamic fanatics or U.S. Army chaplains on leave from Guantanamo.
> Following the lead of FEMA in keeping Americans safe, the Homeland
> Department's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is investigating
> the removal of the imams from the US Airways flight. (Talk about
> coincidences — I'm currently investigating the removal of the Office for
> Civil Rights and Civil Liberties from the Department of Homeland
> Imam spokesman Shahin is a great example of why airport security ought to
> be profiling Arabs. Shahin's predecessor at the Islamic Center in Tucson
> was Osama bin Laden's financier and head of logistics — until he was
> arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2002.
> Instead of aggressively distinguishing himself from his terrorist
> predecessor, judging by news reports, Shahin spent the five years after
> 9/11 denying that Muslims were behind the attacks and complaining of phony
> anti-Islamic "hate crimes" — as opposed to the pro-Islamic hate crimes he
> presumably endorses.
> In 2003, for example, Shahin alleged that a woman in Arizona had thrown
> shoes at children at the mosque.
> This is the most transparent hoax I've heard since, "If I did it, here's
> how I would have done it." This is like the joke about a speaker at an
> American communist rally opening with: "Workers and peasants of Brooklyn!"
> Shahin has so little insight into this country, he can't even invent a
> believable hate crime.
> It's Arabs who have a thing about shoes being a sign of disrespect, not
> Americans. When Iraqis toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein, the crowd
> immediately pelted it with shoes. Saddam installed a mosaic of the first
> president Bush's face on the ground floor of his palace so that visitors
> would be forced to disrespect Bush by walking on his visage in their
> Shahin himself couldn't get away from this pan-Arabic shoe fetish, adding:
> "The incidents of Muslims being attacked kind of shocked me in my shoes."
> Note to imams trying to fabricate hate crimes against Muslims: Americans
> don't share your shoe neurosis.
> At Reagan National this week, Rabbis joined the Muslims at the prayer
> protest — though one imagines they did not share this prayer from the
> Hadith: "And the Jews will hide behind the rock and tree, and the rock and
> tree will say: 'O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me,
> come and kill him!'" In fairness, they usually save that one for the high
> holidays, like the "Festival of the Six Dead Jews" or "Honor Killing
> Nor this one, also from the Hadith: "The Prophet said: 'The Hour will not
> take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims kill them.
> Muslims will kill the Jews. Rejoice! Rejoice in Allah's victory!'" (Is it
> just me, or might some fanatic twist those words into an excuse to kill
> Jews?)
> Also strange was that the NAACP has piped in to complain about racial
> profiling of Muslims. The only reason Americans feel guilty about "racial
> profiling" against blacks is because of the history of discrimination
> against blacks in this country.
> What did we do to the Arabs? I believe Americans are the victims in that
> relationship. After the attacks of 9/11, profiling Muslims is more like
> profiling the Klan.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Hose By Any Other Name

Liberals never understand a thing; a firefighter`s main tool is the hose, and it is doubtful that this woman would have anything to do with one:

Panel Rejects Lesbian Fire Chief's Resignation Deal

MINNEAPOLIS (Nov. 29) - A city panel recommended Tuesday that officials fire Bonnie Bleskachek, the nation's first openly lesbian big-city fire chief, in the wake of firefighter lawsuits accusing her of harassment and discrimination.

Bleskachek had earlier agreed to step down. But the city's executive council unanimously rejected a negotiated deal after a closed-door meeting.

"She was pretty stunned because it was a complete surprise," said Bleskachek's attorney, Jerry Burg.

Mayor R.T. Rybak had announced the agreement in a letter to the city's executive council in which he wrote that he no longer had confidence in Bleskachek as chief. Neither Rybak nor City Council members would immediately explain why the deal was blocked.

Bleskachek, 43, was hailed as a trailblazer when she was promoted to the top job two years ago, but her tenure has been troubled.

Three female firefighters have sued, alleging various acts of discrimination and sexual harassment. Two of the lawsuits were settled, but this month a male firefighter brought another lawsuit alleging he was denied advancement because he is male and not gay.

A city investigation is still under way. This summer, a separate investigation by the city's Department of Civil Rights into a 2003 complaint by a male firefighter - brought when Bleskachek was a battalion chief - found it "likely" that the department gave preferential treatment to lesbians or those who socialized with them.

Bleskachek was ill with the flu Tuesday and unavailable for comment on the severance agreement. She has denied wrongdoing in the past.

Her attorney, Jerry Burg, said the chief's employment agreement calls for her to be reassigned as battalion chief. She would then request a demotion to captain, he said. The agreement, Burg said, included a cash payment of $30,000 to $40,000 - the difference in annual pay between a chief and captain.

Rybak aide Jeremy Hanson said before the panel's meeting it was not a "certainty" that Bleskachek would remain with the department.

The city has spent more than $410,000 on the investigation, legal settlements and compensation of Bleskachek during her paid leave, which began March 22.

This illustrates yet again the problems caused by affirmative action, yet we continue to pursue this insane discriminatory policy. It`s time to stop hosing people for the sake of ``fairness``.

(Homo)Sexual Discrimination Against Catholics in Government

This from The Morley Institute:

Gay Activism Threatens Catholic Bush Appointee

Why would government investigators from the Office of Personal Management be asking employees of the Office of Special Council about their religious affiliation?

A struggle is under way in Washington, D.C. between Catholic conservatives trying to uphold the rule of law and homosexual activists trying to twist it to their ends.

Last year (June 20, 2005), I wrote about attacks by gay activists on Scott Bloch, who heads the OSC, but the situation has worsened. Bloch's office is now in the midst of a lengthy, and expensive, investigation by OPM, headed by Linda Springer.

Aspects of this investigation are troubling, especially to Catholics.

Some OSC employees are reporting that they have been harassed and intimidated because of their religious affiliations.

For example, one attorney, a Catholic preparing to enter seminary, was challenged by OPM's investigators, led by Inspector General Patrick McFarland, as having an unjustifiably high salary because he was a Catholic.

Investigators asked another employee specific questions about the church he had attended when he lived in a different part of the country. Another was asked if he felt he was overpaid due to his religion and background.

Additionally, two attorneys who graduated from Ave Maria Law School have been singled out as "extremists" and were harassed about being from a "non-accredited" Catholic law school (Ave Maria is accredited).

Why are Catholic tax dollars being spent to pay government employees to harass other government employees about their Catholic faith?

As I reported in my Window of June 20, Scott Bloch is a Catholic and accused by gay activists of revising OSC in accord with his "religious beliefs". It's simply not true, as has been established in a Congressional hearing and a previous investigation.

One of OSC's major responsibilities is protecting federal workers from discrimination, and it is here that controversy arose.

Bloch's predecessor, Elaine Kaplan, tried to sneak sexual orientation into the law without Congressional approval. This was unlawful because "sexual orientation" appears nowhere in OSC's laws. In 1998, the court before which OSC practices rejected claims of sexual orientation discrimination because it is not contained in the law.

A Clinton appointee and an open lesbian, Kaplan coordinated with other homosexual activists to use OSC as a wedge in the culture war. Overt legislative offensives by liberals usually fail, and judicial activism can provoke electoral backlashes. They want to use this unlawful reinterpretation to browbeat states, localities, and private businesses into changing their laws and bylaws.

Citing the symbolic Clinton executive order on sexual orientation discrimination, Kaplan brazenly amended OSC's website to trumpet this revisionism and declared that OSC would enforce it despite multiple rejections by Congress.

Kaplan was aided by Clinton staffers at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), an arm of the White House. OPM posted information on its website citing OSC's authority in this new sexual orientation policy.

Meanwhile, OSC added protections for "sexual orientation discrimination" to its own website, citing OPM's authority - in essence, they rested on each other's authority, without touching the hard ground of the law as written.

Because OSC is low-profile, only activists working with Kaplan inside and outside the Clinton administration fully understood what was happening. They aimed for getting homosexuals status recognition akin to ethnic protections (African-Americans).

So matters stood until 2004, when Bloch became Special Counsel. Bloch was approached by career attorneys troubled by the Kaplan policy. Seeing that it was unlawful, Bloch restored the website and OSC policy to what it had been for decades previous.

A firestorm ensued. He was assailed by activist groups and members of congress furious that he would defy them.

But OPM made no such review, and homosexual activists remained within the Bush OPM. The OPM website still references OSC as the enforcer of a nonexistent policy.

While this was happening, Bloch was getting OSC's day-to-day operations into much better shape than he found it. Aside from the unlawful policy, Kaplan had left the OSC a mess, with a backlog of massive proportions in all areas of the agency. The backlog spanned years, and in two cases a person had died while waiting for relief. OSC has quadrupled results for service members, slashed case processing times, and is said to be backlog free for the first time in a decade.

As Bloch's first year ended, he was secure in office while legislation to restore the Kaplan policy was moribund in Congress. But the activists were about to get a new reason to attack Bloch.

The OSC reorganization included creating a new field office to balance operations in Dallas, San Francisco and Washington, DC. At the request of the General Services Administration, OSC obtained offices in Detroit, and Bloch signed off on a plan to shift personnel around to accommodate the change.

Bloch stayed well within personnel guidelines, but OSC employees unhappy with the repeal of the Kaplan policy filed a grievance. They claimed that Bloch illegally altered the policy, that they were whistleblowers for bringing attention to his illegality, and that he was reassigning them as retaliation. This spawned five other investigations by Congress, GAO, and congressional committee staff, which have vindicated him.

Bloch referred the complaint to the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency, a committee made up of the 60-odd Inspectors General. After months of deliberations between them and the White House Counsel, the decision was made to pick an Inspector General to contract with OSC to review the complaint.

In September 2005, the White House selected OPM and its Inspector General to conduct the investigation. OPM, you will recall, was the agency working with Kaplan to craft the policy and which, even today, references it.

Bloch and his staff objected to the choice of OPM any Inspector General should be able to handle this case, but OPM had an obvious conflict of interest that should have barred them from involvement.

Having lodged his objections, Bloch allowed the investigation to proceed rather than be removed for failure to comply. It is important to note that OSC is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency that is supposed to be free of White House interference.

The investigation was supposed to last two or three months. However, it has dragged out, and is currently ongoing.

One encouraging note: Senators Brownback, Inhofe, and DeMint wrote Bloch requesting all documents relating to the conflicts of interest and other problems with the investigation, including violations of constitutional rights.

Those documents reveal shocking irregularities of concern to all Catholics.

Some fear the investigation report will be slanted, and is being dragged out to pressure Bloch to resign.

It is disconcerting that a government agency is being allowing to harass a public official and his employees for their Catholic faith. Catholics should be keeping a very close eye on this situation and be prepared to defend fellow Catholics that are being discriminated against and harassed in the workplace.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Victory or Death Then, Withdrawl ``With Honor`` Now

Newt Gingrich puts Iraq in perspective:


The Sunday before Thanksgiving, Callista and I took some friends to Mount Vernon to see the new education center. It is an amazing tribute to George Washington and the creation of America.

We watched a movie about George Washington's crossing the Delaware on Christmas Eve and surprising the Hessians (German mercenaries) on Christmas Day in Trenton.  As I watched, I was struck by the amazing difference between the attitude of the Father of our Country and the current attitudes in the city that bears his name.

Gen. Washington had a long and painful summer and autumn of defeat in 1776. His American Army had been defeated across New York -- in Brooklyn, Manhattan and White Plains -- and then driven across New Jersey and forced to flee across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania.

Washington's forces had dwindled until he had only about 4,000 effective soldiers left. There were another 6,000 men present, but they were so sick they were unable to go into battle.

Faced with declining morale, rising desertions, the collapse of political will in the country at large and a sense of despair, Washington decided to gamble everything on a surprise attack.  It would require a night crossing of an icy river against a formidable professional opponent.

But the most telling sign of Washington's mood as he embarked on the mission was his choice of a password; His men said "victory or death" to identify themselves.

What if There Had Been a Baker-Hamilton Commission Advising Gen. Washington?

That night crossing, immortalized in paintings of Washington's standing in the boat as Marblehead Fishermen rowed him across the ice-strewn river, led to an amazing victory on Christmas Day. That victory led to a surge in American morale and a doubling in the size of the American forces under Washington within two weeks. And that gave Washington the strength to win a second surprise victory at Princeton.

In two weeks, Washington had gone from defeated, hopeless bungler to victorious American hero and personification of the American Cause.

Imagine there had been a Baker-Hamilton Commission -- the group charged with assessing our options in Iraq -- advising Washington that cold Christmas Eve. What "practical, realistic" advice would they have given him?

Anesthesia for Abortees

Congress is considering a bill that would force abortion providers to tell their customers that the baby will suffer a great deal of pain as a result of the abortion proceedure, and will make the providers offer to anesthetize the soon to be ex-child.

Of course, there is little chance of this passing, but the fact that it is there proves that we were making headway. How long can this barbaric practice continue in our allegedly enlightened society?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Lies and Lessons

I use America Online, and my homepage is set to their news setting. One of the things I`ve learned as a result is that AOL news is one most biased, dishonest sources imaginable. This morning I was treated to screaming headlines claiming,
``Iraq War Hits Landmark Day...Leaders turn up heat on Bush, call conflict impending disaster...``

Now, to read this one would think we suffered 40,000 casualties yesterday, and that we have inflicted none ourselves. Furthermore, this suggests that Republicans are fleeing from the Iraqi War en-masse, and that Bush is the modern Nicholas II, vainly pursuing his Alice In Wonderland dreams of Empire while his subjects starve and are revolting (I`ll say...they stink on ice!) Well, read for yourselves:

Congressional Leaders Press Bush on Iraq
U.S. Involvement in Iraq Surpasses the Length of World War II

WASHINGTON (Nov. 26) - Congressional leaders displayed eroding patience in the Iraqi government on Sunday, adding pressure on President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to find a faster path to peace when they meet this week

"It is not too late. The United States can still extricate itself honorably from an impending disaster in Iraq," Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a potential presidential contender in 2008, said in urging for a planned withdrawal of U.S. troops.

"If the president fails to build a bipartisan foundation for an exit strategy, America will pay a high price for this blunder - one that we will have difficulty recovering from in the years ahead," Hagel wrote in Sunday's Washington Post.

As the U.S. involvement in Iraq surpassed the length of America's participation in World War II, lawmakers have dwindling confidence in the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. It was the deadliest week of sectarian fighting in Baghdad since the war began in March 2003.

"I think what we've got to do is go around the Maliki government in certain situations," said Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, another possible presidential candidate. "Let's work with other groups, and let's get regional buy-in into this."

Bush, after a NATO summit in Europe, plans to meet with al-Maliki on Wednesday and Thursday in Jordan. That summit, coupled with Vice President Dick Cheney's trip to Saudi Arabia on Saturday, is evidence of the administration's stepped-up effort to bring stability to the region.

The host of the meeting, Jordan's King Abdullah, said Sunday the problems in the Middle East go beyond the war in Iraq. He said much of the region soon could become engulfed in violence unless the central issues are addressed quickly.

The king said he was hopeful the leaders will find a way to reduce the level of violence.

"We hope there will be something dramatic. The challenges, obviously, in front of both of them are immense," he said.

Iraq's leaders promised Sunday to track down those responsible for the recent attacks, and al-Maliki urged his national unity government of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds to curb the violence by stopping their public disputes.

The Iraqi prime minister is under pressure from Shiite politicians loyal to the radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who have threatened to boycott parliament and the Cabinet if al-Maliki meets with Bush.

"This is all political posturing. It's all red herring. It's an anti-threat. This is a very stable government," responded Iraq's national security adviser, Mouwafak al-Rubaie. He said he had no doubt the prime minister would meet with Bush in Jordan.

As for Bush, some of the toughest criticism is coming from within his own party.

"We have misunderstood, misread, misplanned and mismanaged our honorable intentions in Iraq with an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam," said Hagel, a combat veteran of that war. "Honorable intentions are not policies and plans."

Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, called Iraq the worst U.S. foreign policy decision since Vietnam. He said Democrats do not have a quick answer and any solution must be bipartisan.

"It is time to tell the Iraqis that unless they're willing to disband the militias and the death squads, unless they're willing to stand up and govern their country in a responsible fashion, America is not going to stay there indefinitely," Durbin said.

That theme - pressuring al-Maliki and his government - seemed to unify Republicans and Democrats.

"I think we're going to have to be very aggressive and specific with him," said Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., the incoming No. 2 GOP leader. "And if he doesn't show real leadership, doesn't try to bring the situation under control - if, in fact, he becomes a part of the problem - we're going to have to make some tough decisions."

Yet Rep. Duncan Hunter, the outgoing chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said the United States will win the conflict in the long run by supporting a free government in Iraq. Before any decisions are made on reducing U.S. troop levels, he said, more U.S.-trained Iraqi battalions should be moved into the heavy-fighting areas of Baghdad.

"Saddle those guys up," Hunter said. "Move them into the fight."

Durbin, Brownback and King Abdullah were on "This Week" on ABC. Lott appeared on "Fox News Sunday" and Hunter on "Meet the Press" on NBC. Al-Rubaie was on CNN's "Late Edition."

Notice that the Republican criticisms were mostly against the Iraqi Prime Minister-not the President or the war effort. They weighted Hagel heavily, but is that a surprise? And of course the Democrats went after Bush and the war.

In short, there was nothing new. We were treated to just another biased diatribe, another add campaign for the Democrats at the expense of the nation.

It never occurs to these dunderheads that this war is hardly long by historical standards; there was the 7 Years War, the 40 Years War, the 100 Years War, the Russians were at war with the Mongols for Centuries, the Iraqi-Iranian war lasted 8 years, while the Cold War lasted roughly 40. The Napoleonic Wars lasted 16 years, while the War of the Spanish Succession lasted 14. Wars come in all shapes and sizes, and a war of attrition tends to take a long time; how long did it take for the British to subdue the Irish? The Scottish? The Welch? Aren`t the Spanish still fighting Basque seperatists today? How long did the Crusades last? It is absolutely foolish to believe that this thing would be over in just a couple of years.

But Hagel calling for the U.S. to ``extricate itself honorably`` is a call for our defeat, using the old code words from Vietnam. Such honor will lead to disaster.

A number of Vietnamese generals have stated that the war in Vietnam was over, and that America had won. They launched Tet in a desperate attempt to shake the boot from their throats, and were amazed when Americans began believing that the war was unwinnable. We snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory, and America suffered the Great Malaise of Jimmy Carte and worldwide contempt. Now that contempt will go beyond sneers and jeers, but will include attacks and death. Can we afford ``extrication with honor``?

Too many Americans want our defeat. They should not be surprised when the crop they have sewn sprouts forth.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Two Wrongs Do Not Make a Right

The crown jewel of the Democrats (and, indeed, most liberals) is a policy of racial discrimination known as ``Affirmative Action``. The concept of Affirmative Action enshrines into law a basically unfair discrimination in favor of one ethnicity, race, sex, or ``lifestyle`` over another. The argument liberals make is that these groups were historically held back and that this ``levels the playing field`` by actively promoting them to a higher level than they can attain on their own merits. The premise is that America is inherently unfair to some, and that only the force of Law can balance the scales.

Of course, the balancing requires imperfect human beings to impose on other imperfect human beings what they believe to be true, while ignoring the reasons for the given situation beyond their particular bailiwick; it is not uncommon under Affirmative Action for a company to be forced to hire someone less qualified-often far less qualified-to meet the quota imposed by the State. Also, it is easy to speak of historical cultural restraints imposed on minorities, but it is grossly unfair to have someone hired or promoted over you who is less qualified, less able to do the particular job, but is a member of one of the protected classes. If discrimination against black people, or women, or homosexuals is wrong, it is equally wrong to discriminate against white people, or men, or straight-laced moralists. There is an old adage-two wrongs do not make a right, and Affirmative Action attempts to right one wrong by imposing another. It is an immoral policy.

Furthermore, the premise is to use government to impose this field leveling (I wish they WOULD stick to leveling actual fields with bulldozers; they do a much job of architectural engineering than social engineering.) Government is, by it`s very nature, corrupt and incompetent because it has no competition, and the use of government to impose fairness almost guarantees a festering system of dishonesty and injustice. Money and politics will sway the righteous moral intent of such a system, and whoever plays the game better will win. Democrats understand this, and have, of course, played the game better because they understand that such a system buys them votes. It should come as no surprise that African Americans vote overwhelmingly Democratic, despite the fact that the Democrats are the ones who have hurt them over the decades; Affirmative Action, WIC, AFDC, SSI, and a plethora of other social programs are the bait which the Dems have used to entice the Black vote. (By the way, these programs constitute reparations for the Black community, and the Honorable John Conyers can go jump in the lake.) That all of these gifts have been traps which have held the Black community in servitude goes largely unrecognized by the black community and liberals themselves, who not only demand these destructive policies continue, but that they be expanded.

This also ultimately hurts the beneficiary, who is aware that he or she did not make it on merit but on skincolor, or some other secondary factor outside of their control. This is a great dishonor and stigma, and robs the person of the satisfaction of success. This sours things for them, makes them feel as if they were cheated.

A classic example of this sort of thing is race-norming; for decades the government, Democrats, and the left denied doing any such thing. Yet it struck many as odd that the U.S. Postal Service was predominantly Black, despite the fact that it has a merit-based hiring and promotion system based on test scores. Everyone knew preferences were granted (rightly, in this case) to veterans, but the USPS denied giving preferences to Blacks, who we were led to believe scored far better than Whites, Asian-Americans, or Hispanics. It finally came out that those identified on the tests as African Americans were given a large points addition to their test scores.

But we have to have this to make things fair, we are told. Horsehockey; the auto industry hired Black folks from early on, because they were willing to do the job and did it well. Until the UAW turned the American auto industry into miniature France the U.S. was a pioneer in development, quality, and vision. Why? Partly because of their willingness to pursue quality over racism. They hired the best they could get for the job, and it showed. In the process, they paid good wages to their black workmen and helped many of them rise out of poverty.

The U.S. Postal Service is laughed at as an incompetent joke, and occasionally former employees ``go postal`` by killing their former co-workers. You don`t see that behavior at GM or Ford.

The ``Postal`` behavior often stems from unfair hiring and promotional practices, it should be pointed out.

Civil Service throughout America is infected with this race-norming disease (as is Academia) and it sometimes endangers lives; particularly when applied to emergency services. We see this in the Police Departments, where women cops are promoted to important positions on the street while being physically or emotionally incapable of doing their jobs solely because the Department needs a given number of women. We see this with paramedics. (A coworker of mine once slipped and broke his leg. They sent two paramedics to fetch him, and the woman paramedic was too weak to lift him and actually dropped the man as she was hoisting the stretcher! You should have heard the scream!) We see it, too, in the Fire Departments.

Recently, I wrote an article for the American Thinker about the corruption and mismanagement of St. Louis by Democrats who have dominated the City for decades, and I was deluged by residents thanking me for exposing the nudity of the monarch. I also received some information about serious racial discrimination going on in St. Louis against white employees of the City-particularly in the Fire Department. Promotions are supposed to be merit-based (and were, under a black mayor) but aren`t being made that way; rather than promote qualified white applicants, the powers that be want evidence of ``cultural diversity`` and so are denying promotions solely based on skin color. As Jesse Jackson would like to say ``if you are white, keep out of sight!`` That might be a good motto for the SLFP.

Here is a timeline of events which illustrate the discrimination:


· 1988- City gave subjective test (fire scene essay type test and then subordinate exercise in assessment center format) and promoted from that list until 1993 (5 years), promoting over 80 candidates and exhausting list of all candidates. The racial make-up of this list was approximately 50% white / 50% black. (I believe a testing firm by the name of O'Leary administered this test, but I am not certain.)
· 1993- City hires O' Leary testing firm to administer a subjective test (fire scene essay type test and then subordinate exercise in assessment center format) and promoted from list right up to the administration of another O'Leary test in the same format in December, 1998. (At this point, there were over 50 promotions made from the '93 list and notice how this last had been used 5 years as well.) However, the test administered in 1998 was determined to be flawed by then personnel director William Duffe because of numerous grading errors and was subsequently discarded. He then reinstated the old list from 1993 and promoted from it until complete exhaustion, promoting a total of 74 candidates. The racial make-up of the 1993 list was also equally diverse.
· 2000- City hired Barrett and Assoc. to give an objective test (multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and an oral component). Of the top 75 scorers on the list, approximately 12 are black. This list is DEFINITELY NOT DIVERSE. At a civil service commission hearing in Sept. 2000, Mr. Duffe states that he too, along with F.I.R.E., is not happy with the list because of its lack of diversity. Later, he writes a letter to F.I.R.E. and the civil service commission defending the integrity of Barrett and Assoc. and their ability to give a fair test that withstands legal challenges. Interestingly, he also admits that he had changed scores on a battalion chief promotional exam in 1994 to make the list more "racially diverse" because not enough black candidates were in a promotable range. Fire chief Sherman George also states at a district meeting to numerous firefighters that he too does not like the promotional list because it does not reflect the racial make-up of the fire dept. and does not want to promote from it, but ultimately does, almost 2 months after the promotional lists were certified to use.
· 2001- City hires Blockett and Assoc., who, at this point, had never given a fire dept. promotional exam in its entire existence. The tests were subjective. However, these tests were scrapped when they were deemed compromised when a white firefighter had attempted to obtain copies of the video portion of the test and a high ranking member of F.I.R.E. actually did obtain copies of the video portion of the test.
· 2002- On Sept. 6th, the non-diverse promotional list from 2000 reaches the 2 year point and Mr. Duffe does NOT extend the list like he has always done in the past (i.e. 1988 and 1993). So, fearing for public safety, the civil service commission stepped in and reinstated the 2000 list. But in December, 2002, a judge ruled in favor of F.I.R.E.'s lawsuit to stop the reinstatement of the 2000 list by the civil service commission. And as for the total number of promotions from the captain's list = 22!
· 2004- City hires SHL, a testing company endorsed by the Dept. of Justice and experienced in fire dept. testing, to administer yet another set of promotional exams for captain and battalion chief. And as for the components of the tests:
*CAPTAIN EXAM- an open book multiple choice test and a closed book multiple choice test (objective tests) weighted worth 40% of the candidates overall grade and two assessment center tests, the first one being a role play interaction with a subordinate and the second being a fire scene (subjective tests), both weighted 60% of the overall grade. (Notice how the subjective portion is weighted heavier than the objective portion.)
*BATTALION CHIEF- an in-basket exercise and 3 assessment center exercises, two being subordinate role playing and the third being an oral fire scene exercise. This test was 100% subjective.
**It is important to point out that Local 73 firefighters desire objective tests which have clear, concise answer keys that are strictly adhered to, while F.I.R.E. members want subjective tests that do NOT have concise answer keys, but guidelines to the correct answer and it is up to the grader of the test to determine whether a test answer is correct or incorrect.
· 2004 (SUMMER)- The results from the 2004 tests are given and again the lists are not considered diverse enough by F.I.R.E. and files a discriminatory lawsuit and also files a temporary restraining order to block the city from promoting until their discriminatory case is heard in February, 2006. However, a federal judge rules in favor of the city, stating that there is no reason to stop promotions at this time and if F.I.R.E. proves their discrimination case, he could order restitution at that time. AND AS FOR DEMOTIONS OF WHITE FIREFIGHTERS IF BLACK FIREFIGHTERS WERE PROVEN TO BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST, THAT WOULD BE TOO DIVISIVE AND HARMFUL. Approximately 2 weeks later, Fire chief Sherman George announces that he will not promote because he fears that he may have to demote if F.I.R.E. wins their discrimination case. This is in direct contradiction to what the federal judge said.
**During the development of the 2004 tests, the fire chief (a member of F.I.R.E.) played an integral part in helping SHL develop the promotional tests and NO ONE INCLUDING F.I.R.E. formally complained about the tests until THE TESTS WERE GRADED AND THE RESULTS CAME OUT.
· 2004 (FALL)- Local 73 files a lawsuit against Chief George for not promoting, claiming a writ of mandamus because once an appointing authority requests a promotional list, the appointing authority is showing an intent to promote and does not have the authority to deny promotions at that juncture. A few days later, a state court judge agrees with Local 73 and orders the fire chief to promote by October 8, 2004, giving the chief 2 weeks to respond. On October 8th, the fire chief, represented by his own private attorney, files for an appeal of the state court judge's decision.
· 2005 (SPRING) The appellate court overturns the lower courts decision.

And a second version of events:


· March 2004 - promotional exams administered for fire captain and battalion chief by SHL (a testing co. hired by the St. Louis dept. of personnel)
· April 2004 - results from testing mailed to candidates of tests, placing them in a numerical sequence for promotion
· May 2004 - Civil Service Commission certifies promotional lists to be used by the Fire Chief for promotions. At this time, there are 8 captain vacancies and 2 battalion chief vacancies, but Chief George refuses to promote.
· F.I.R.E. (Firefighters Institute for Racial Equality - a black firefighters organization) files for a temporary injunction to stop promotions and a discrimination lawsuit against the city based on adverse impact
· June 2004 - federal judge Rodney Sippel denies injunction to stop promotions and states the city can promote
· July 2004 - after repeated attempts by Mayor Slay, Public Safety Director Simon, and Personnel Director Franke to ask Fire Chief George to promote, Chief George continues to refuse to promote. At this time, Public Safety Director Simon orders Chief George to request the promotional lists to set up promotions to be made. Promotional lists are given to the fire chief but still no promotions.
· July 2004 - Fire Chief George calls a news press conference and states that he is not going to promote until F.I.R.E.'s discrimination lawsuit has concluded, which will and is allowing promotion vacancies to accumulate
· September 2004 - Local 73 (a majority white firefighter AFL-CIO organization) files a lawsuit against Chief George for not performing his job properly because of no promotions and wins in the state court (Judge Dowd presiding). Judge Dowd orders the fire chief to promote, but the fire chief still refuses and files an appeal in the appellate court.
· May 2005 - the appellate court overturns Judge Dowd's decision
· November 2006 - as of today, there are currently 27 captain vacancies and 4 battalion chief vacancies. F.I.R.E.'s court case is due to be heard in February 2007.

Local 73 feels the reason Chief George refuses to promote is that there are not enough black firefighters at the top of the list for promotion. In the past (2000), when there was a promotional list that was considered by F.I.R.E. as not diverse, Chief George made the comment that he did not like the list (2000) because it "did not reflect the racial make-up of the fire dept." If he did not like the 2000 lists, then why would he like the 2004? He did promote in 2000, but it is well known that the reason he promoted was because he was ordered by his superior, then Public Safety Director Marty Aboussie and then Mayor Harmon. In 2002, he also wrote a letter to the Civil Service Commission asking them to not extend the 2000 promotional lists and to let them expire despite the fact that there was not another promotional list to take its place.

Why won't the city order him to promote now? You guessed it - democratic politics. It's o.k. for a black mayor to order him to promote, but if a white mayor ordered him….. Union chief Paul Davis stated that one of the city attorneys said that her interpretation of the situation is that the fire chief could be made to promote, and if he still refused, could be terminated for insubordination. Imagine the uproar in north St. Louis if a white mayor had a black fire chief terminated? This is why promotions will not occur - democratic politics. Whatever happened to "the best man for the job"? Isn't equality afforded us in the U.S. Constitution?

Once again, politics trumps all. This is a vintage example of what is wrong with wielding government power solely in the interest of ``fairness``; by helping one group, the city is hurting another. Racial discrimination is unfair, and a policy which discriminates either for or against is inherently unjust. The St. Louis Fire Department is endangering lives by making itself less efficient, by forcing round pegs into square holes, by fostering an atmosphere of anger, tension, and resentment. These men have to trust each other absolutely; they are the ones who risk their lives every day to keep the rest of us safe. Policies of discrimination against any of their members fractures that trust, and endangers both their lives and the lives of those they protect. But what`s a life or two to a liberal while advancing their pet cause?

Back in the `70`s the British comedy show Monte Python`s Flying Circus had a sketch about this type of thing (Britain was always ahead of us with this guano); ``Dennis Moore`` was a Robin Hood-type character who stole from the rich to give to the poor. In fact he stole so much from the rich that they were living in abject poverty, having surrendered all their worldly possessions to Moore. Having nothing left to take, he steals their last possessions-silver spoons they were using for their tea-and goes to give it to the poor couple he had been aiding. Their hovel is immaculately furnished with the booty brought them, and their attitude towards Moore is one of sneering contempt-especially when he has the nerve to bring them nothing better than silver spoons. Throughout the sketch there is the ``Theme of Dennis Moore`` playing, and it ends with ``He steals from the poor, and gives to the rich, stupid bitch...`` So, having realized that ``this redistribution of wealth is trickier than I thought`` our dimwitted hero stops a stage coach and begins picking through the valuables of the passengers, making them exchange with each-other in a vain attempt to promote equality.

The Pythoners captured with satire the whole problem with liberal philosophy; the world is inherently unfair and an approach which tries to guarantee equality of outcome makes things worse. If a bunch of silly English Kniggits making a comedy show could understand this, why can`t the intellectuals, the policymakers, the cream of liberal thought?

It`s time for something completely different-how about trying a merit-based system?

Friday, November 24, 2006

New Cultural Revolution

We`ve managed to export Liberalism to China! If they keep this sort of thing up, we have nothing to worry about.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Proclamations

New York, 3 October 1789

By the President of the United States of America: a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor--and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me `to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.'

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be -- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks -- for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted -- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions--to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually -- to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn [sic] kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord -- To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease [sic] of science among them and us -- and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

George Washington

Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day October 3, 1863

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence [sic], have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

The Earliest Colonial Shelters

The Mayflower had never intended on landing in New England. The Pilgrims had planned on settling in the much warmer Virginia where they could be close to the primary English colony and would have access to at least rudimentary civilization. They were English Seperatists, people who had broken from the Church of England and sought to Purify their Church (hence Puritans). Originally they had settled in Holland, but wished to remain English and so left for the New World where their countrymen had established their Virginia settlement at Jamestown (after their first settlement at Roanoke had been massacred by ``friendly`` local natives). Unfortunately, the Mayflower missed her mark badly, and landed on November 21 in the wilderness off Cape Cod at a place which would be known as Provincetown. They soon discovered a harbor which seemed a good place for a colony, and this they named Plymouth after their point of departure in England. It was December 21.

The early colonists found themselves in country facing the bitter New England winter, without housing for themselves. Living in tents at first, the settlers realized they could not take the time to build themselves fine clapboard houses, and the log cabin had not yet come to America (the log cabin was a Swedish invention, although the Russians used something similar, and would not come to America until Swedes sent colonists to settle.) The need for housing more substantial than a tent was critical, lest the colonists freeze. The earliest colonial homes were quite rude, indeed; they were generally dugouts or wigwams.

To build a dugout, you must first find an area where the ground has some sort of indentation; either a washout or an overhanging cliff is nice. With a spade you can expand the washout, making it deeper and level (you`ll have to rechannel where the rainwater will go) and then putting some kind of walls and roof over it. If you use a cliffside, you can sink a couple of forked posts in the ground, lay logs in the forks to form a ridge, lay poles between the ridge and the cliff to act as roof rafters, then cover with whatever material may be handy-smaller poles, grass or other thatch, etc. The ground helps to stabilize the temperature inside, so a smaller fire will keep the dugout warm. Often larger poles were used for the roof, and sod was placed on top of it. This worked poorly, as the sod leaked during heavy rains, but a drip-cloth hung over the ceiling would catch mud clods as they fell and drain off some of the water. It was not uncommon to get wet in a dugout, and often the settler would put a canopy over his bed (pallet would be a more accurate description) to keep him from getting rained on during the night. Sometimes, walls would be framed-especially over a mud wall-to help insulate the structure. Using waxed-paper for windows (you couldn`t see out, but it did let light in) and crudely fashioned wooden doors, the settler ended with a house which may not have had all the comforts of home, but at least kept him from freezing in the bitter New England winter.

The Indians throughout the American Woodlands built a structure which came to be called by the English settlers wigwams; these were unusually good (though only semi-permanent) houses made from bent saplings and covered with bark (birchbark or Elm) as siding. The architect would cut a series of saplings, no wider than an inch or so at the base, would char the bottoms in a fire to protect them from bugs, and would push them into the ground in pairs. He would then bend the tops over and tie them off to form a series of arches, which he would connect with crosspieces. The English had built arbors in much the same fashion, so the native`s construction techniques were not wholly unfamiliar to them.

A door was left at one end (actually, the Indians simply used a hole which they covered with an animal skin or matt) and the new-albeit small-home was either covered with bark, skins, or with mats woven by the women of the tribe. More mats were lined in the interior, and a second set of poles was often placed on the outside of the structure to hold the siding securely. When the wigwam was completed it was generally oval shaped, with a hole left open at the top and covered with a sheet of bark or mats to allow smoke to escape, and a small fire was kept going in the center. The early colonists were amazed at how warm and comfortable these wigwam were.

The natives sometimes build huge wigwams which became known as longhouses because they could be as long as 90 feet, and were occupied by multiple families. They would be known by the number of fires needed inside; they could be a three fire, five fire, etc. Often the longhouses were badly ventilated and very smoky, so the occupants spent as little time in them as possible.

Here is a website with photographs of Indian wigwams in Minnesota (from a later period); this is an excellent site, but takes a long time to load because of the many pictures. Still, it is worth the wait!

The English learned from their neighbors, and began constructing their own wigwams. They added several improvements, including a more peaked shape, an actual door, and a stick-built fireplace. This last was made by building a stone or shod firepit, then cutting sticks, peeling them, notching them, and stacking them log cabin style to form a chimney. The interior of this chimney would then be plastered with clay to prevent fires. Some of the English wigwams were covered with thick reed thatching, much like an old English thatched cottage rather than mats or bark (thatch makes great insulation) and more of this thatch would be laid on the dirt floor. (The natives used pine or cedar boughs and carpeted over this with more mats).

These English wigwams worked very well, but were fire-prone, so the colony discouraged continuous use of them. As soon as weather permitted the Pilgrims began construction of the plank houses they were more familiar with from home.

Go here to see a reconstruction of an English wigwam.

These earliest structures built by the Pilgrims and others are not what most Americans think of when they think of pioneers, but the days of the log cabins lay yet in the future, and the adapted wigwams and dugouts of the earliest settlers worked just as well as the later Swedish log cabins, and often were less work to construct. (Most Americans think that all Indians lived in tepee`s, too, but that was mainly a form used by the plains tribes.) I have to admit, I have a soft spot for the wigwam; it is a miracle of compact comfort.

I built one for myself on my property in the Ozarks; mine was more along the lines of the Native American than English variety, although I covered it with old carpeting, tarpaper,and tarps. If I light a gasoline lantern inside, the structure becomes noticeably warmer, and I can sit inside on a cold day with just a few lamps going and be quite comfortable. I haven`t slept inside (I don`t have a smoke hole, although I was working on heating it with a barrel-stove) but will probably get around to that at some point. I have it full of tools and things I want to keep dry, and will probably end up using it as a storage shed. Oh, and instead of tying the poles with twine I simply duct-taped them together. A true pioneer!

Anyway, I thought everyone could give thanks for their nice, warm homes on this November day of gratitude to the Almighty; the Pilgrims had NOTHING, no place to stay in the dead of the Massachusetts winter. They slept in tents while the snow fell and the wind howled, at least until they could construct their dugouts and wigwams. I am fairly certain the wigwam was cause enough for thanks to the Pilgrims!

Empty Piggybanks and Playstation America

The last election revealed, at least to me, the fundamental weakness of the Republicans at the grassroots level. Many conservative pundits are desperately trying to salve their wounds, telling themselves that this was merely an aberrational outburst by the American People and that the Republicans will be back stronger than ever in `08. While I admire their enthusiasm, I have to disagree with this particular assessment; the Republicans lost in both chambers of Congress, and, more importantly, lost big-time on the State and local levels. This bodes very ill for the health of the Party, and illustrates the collapse of the conservative coalition in the heartland of America.

I`ve argued previously that the loss of the House of Representatives would not be the end of the world, but that the loss of both Chambers would signal disaster. Unfortunately, I had greater faith than was warranted; I knew that many people here don`t understand the nature of the war we are in, and that perhaps as many as half of Americans do not believe we are at war. Still, I assumed enough people would understand the childishness of the Democrats, that in these critical times where our security and our lives are at stake we simply couldn`t afford to hand power to the Children`s Hour. Unfortunately, the Democrats have been diligently peddling their opium dreams to an America which has largely forgotten Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, and even the concept that the world is not America`s oyster. Too many Americans live in a sand castle reality, where tomorrow will be the same as yesterday, where our position, our ease, and our comfort are assured by Divine Right and the ACLU. Just look at the mad scramble for Playstation 3! Americans are more concerned with a TOY than with their own security! We have a Playstation Culture, a culture where the lines have blurred between reality and fantasy. It should come as no surprise that this Penny Arcade society would fall for the paper machete pie and construction paper sky offered by the H.R. Puffinstuff party.

The sad fact is, the Republicans have failed at the grassroots. The reasons for this are legion; the collapse of the Reagan coalition in an attempt to accept the moderate wing-and their money-as partners, the laundry maid approach to politics advocated by Bush and Rove (they`re wishy-washy), McCain`s campaign finance reform which President Scrub-a-dub-dub signed, the conservative`s unwillingness to deal with the power of the mainstream media, etc. But the main thing is that the Republicans became used to power, and power became the goal of the party rather than the advancement of ideas.

Bereft of any strong, positive message, the public has grown bored and the Republicans could not scare them into voting against the Santa Claus Democrats. The grassroots can`t succeed without a message, and the message from the party in general has become so unfocused and unprincipled that the piggy bank is empty.

While the Republicans may well win back control of Congress, they have set themselves up for long-term failure. They are clearly losing at the state level, and redistricting comes after every census. Who will control the redistricting? The Republicans cemented their control of Congress because they had worked for over a decade to control the machinery which controlled redistricting. They were able to gerrymander districts to keep themselves in power. Having achieved their goal, they began concentrating on national power at the expense of the grassroots. But, ultimately, all politics is local, and victory or defeat will be achieved at the precinct, at the mall, at the park and playground and school. It starts with convincing the uninformed, with soccer moms and nascar dads, with college kids and townies and 4H`ers. While conservatives haven`t failed, exactly, with this, they have rested a bit too much on their laurels. We have to remember that this is an eternal battle, because there is always a new generation coming up and because many we have convinced have forgotten.

Win those battles and you win control of state legislatures, of state governorships, of state courts. Win the states, and you win Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court. Lose those small battles and you LOSE!

This last election illustrates that Republicans have LOST, that Americans are swinging towards the Democrats. This may not be an ideological defeat, but then, the Republicans have not waged an ideological campaign for the hearts and minds of the American People (I wish the President had concentrated more on winning American hearts and minds, and more on winning battles in Iraq.)

We are going to have to rebuild from the bottom up, and this is going to be a tedious process. Unfortunately, given the conservative nature of the Republicans (conservative with a small c; by this I mean unmoving, not ideological) it appears we will have business as usual, and the Republicans may be in for a long, cold winter.

(From the Evans-Novak Report)

State Legislatures 2006

For Republicans, the story on state legislatures in the election of 2006 rounds out the story of defeat across the board in the House and Senate and in governorships nationwide.

Democrats gained control of four state Senates and six state Houses. Republicans lost seats in most states, but may have gained functional control of one state Senate. We take a look at some of the legislative changes this week. We will continue our summary of key states next week.

Alabama: The realignment of the 1990s still hasn't reached Alabama on the state government level, but it's getting closer. Officially, Democrats here have majorities in both houses, as they have since Reconstruction. But a bi-partisan majority now threatens to oust the Democratic leadership of Sen. Lowell Barron (D). Because Republicans gained two seats and narrowed their deficit in the Senate to 23-12, six conservative Democrats are in talks with them to create a new, mixed 18-seat majority caucus.

Republicans gained just one seat in the House, bringing the Democrats' advantage to 62-43. Projected Mixed Control.

Arizona: Republicans needed just one more House seat to get a two-thirds majority and override vetoes by Gov. Janet Napolitano's (D). But Democrats gained seven seats in the state House, narrowing the Republicans' edge to 32-28. The Republicans' candidate for governor, conservative activist Len Munsil (R), was so weak that it had a clear impact on the Republican totals for state government statewide.

Republicans' Senate edge remained the same at 18-12. Continued Republican Control.

Florida: Democrats picked up seven seats, depriving Republicans of their two-thirds majority in the state House. It was the largest Democratic gain in 20 years. But the 78-42 margin was bumped back up when State Rep. Will Kendrick, in his last term due to term-limits, defected to the GOP, putting the margin at 79-41. Kendrick, who hails from the state's conservative Panhandle, has always been a conservative anyway, so his defection to the majority comes as just a tiny surprise. Continued Republican Control.

Minnesota: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) won a lonely victory in Minnesota as Democrats swept the down-ticket statewide races. Republicans even unexpectedly lost incumbent Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer (R).

But in the state House, Republican losses were catastrophic. The 18-seat Democratic gain there came after a 2005 partial government shutdown and Pawlenty's budget cuts of local government aid in 2006. Republicans entered the 2006 elections clinging to a one-seat majority, but they wound up with an 85-49 deficit. It was a huge gain for Democrats after their massive gains in the House in 2004.

Democrats grew their margin in the state Senate by six seats, bringing the total to 44-23. Change to Democratic Control.

Oklahoma: Republicans had high hopes of capturing the state Senate in this, the second election in which term-limits began ousting the old guard of Democratic incumbents. In fact, they would have taken Senate control if not for the defection of state Sen. Nancy Riley to the Democrats over the summer. The Senate ended in a 24-24 tie.

Jari Askins (D), who won the lieutenant governorship vacated by Rep.-elect Mary Fallin (R), will be able to break party-line ties and will at least help organize the Senate under Democratic control.

Republicans believe the disastrous gubernatorial bid of Rep. Ernest Istook (R) dragged down their ticket and prevented their expected Senate takeover. Republicans continue to control the state House with a 56-45 majority after losing one seat.

Riley, who won a four-year term in 2004 running as a Republican, made an unsuccessful run at the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor and remains in the Senate at least until 2008. Continued Mixed Control.Pennsylvania: Republicans just barely held on to the state House after a tumultuous primary season and a disastrous up-ticket election.

Incumbents from both parties faced angry voters during the primary season after the legislature had given itself a pay-raise in a way that clearly contravened the state constitution. The public furor cost the jobs of the top two Republican state senators, who lost their primaries, and several other members as well. Democrats also faced stiff primary challenges because of the pay raise, but by and large, their incumbents survived.

Democrats gained seven seats in the state House, for a final composition of 102 Republicans and 101 Democrats. One recount, still pending, could flip control to the Democrats, but this is not expected.

Republicans' lead in the state Senate remains unchanged at 29-21. If the GOP can find a credible candidate to succeed Gov. Ed Rendell (D), they still have a chance of totally controlling the all-important redistricting process after 2010. Republicans still control both chambers, but their margin is extremely precarious. Continued Republican Control.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Six Imams-No Waiting

A group of 6 Imams disrupted a U.S. Airways flight to Phoenix at the Minneapolis airport the other day. They rose in unison and began their evening prayers, with such reassuring phrases as Allah Ahkbar to express their harmlessness to their fellow passengers. U.S. Airways summarily booted their Imami tails off the plane, to the chagrin of CAIR which is threatening a lawsuit. Apparently, the offending Imams were attending an Imam conference (?) and were preparing to return to the border state of Arizona, where they would get on with whatever they get on with (ahem).

Had Christians done this, had a group of six Bishops rose and began saying the Rosary, the ACLU would have been on them like ugly on their primate ancestors. Nobody would be talking about violations of rights; instead we would be lectured once again with that overchewed bubble gum reasoning about ``separation of Church and state``. Does anyone see a double standard here? Will the ACLU take up the Imami cause?

If nothing else, there is the simple matter of courtesy; one should pray (and read, and think, and listen to music) quietly in such a confined space as an airplane. No one would have objected had the Imams remained seated and prayed quietly; it is objectionable-and scary-to have a bunch of bearded Moslems stand in a plane and holler in Arabic.

I`m sorry, but Moslems have refused to condemn terrorism in any but the smallest ways, and this sort of behavior is provocative. These Imams have brought this on themselves by not taking a strong stand against their Jihadist brothers. How can they complain about unfair treatment when they have never been willing to play by the rules?

I would like to ask them if they think the treatment received by Christians, Jews, Buddhists, etc. in Islamic countries is unfair? You get put in prison for carrying a Bible, for example. You have to pay extra taxes, and can get into a world of hurt for attending church services. Once a Moslem, you cannot convert under the penalty of death. Who is unfair?

I suspect a number of things are going on here: this is a test of air security, a provocation to claim persecution, and simply an f-u to the American People (and that does not stand for Felix Unger!) This was an act of open defiance by our ``betters`` to show they can get away with poking us in the eye. Of course, many Americans will side with the Imams...

If we require six Imams to pray on a plane, how many does it take to properly shepherd a city? Maybe they can set up drive-through prayer centers; call it McIslam, with the call to prayer coming through the ordering machine (they could imitate the old Jack in the Box and have a figure of a bearded Imam there), the car could face Mecca, and the attendant could hand out prayer rugs at the window. ``Would you like a Jihad with those prayers, sir?`` Their slogan could be ``I`m bombing it!`` or ``We kill `em all for you!``

If America were anything like the Islamic World, the Imam convention would never have escaped Minneapolis alive. We are clearly not playing on a level field.

Michelle Malkin Links to ``Democrats Paradise``

I occasionally run a Google search on my name to gage how things are going with Birdblog. I generally find this a depressing exercise, since my stand on Darwinism didn`t make any friends among the Left and most of what I find starts with ``Timothy Birdnow-moron`` or ``idiot`` or ``fool`` or what-have-you. (One guy actually compares me to American Idol abomination William Hung! I have to admit that was really funny!) Not that I care what a bunch of nihilistic sophomores think, but I still don`t enjoy wading through a mass of vitriol to find what I am looking for-links or comments on my blog or on my articles. (It is amazing how obsessed so many of those folks are with what I think; why, you`d almost have to conclude I touched a nerve!) I like to see who has me posted up, and thank them for it. Every once in a while I have a nice surprise; a positive comment with a link.

Last night was one such; the great Michelle Malkin linked to my American Thinker article on the triumph of liberalism in St. Louis!

I have to say, it was nice to get some positive feedback for a change. I`d like to thank Michelle for linking my piece, and welcome any of her readers who found this site as a result.

Gee, it`s good not to see the adjectives idiot, imbecile, nut, drooling knuckle-dragger, etc., associated with my name!

Europe`s Liberal Horn of Plenty

The incomparable Walter Williams illustrates the Democratic dream for the future:

(Hat Tip: Wil Wirtanen)

Should we copy Europe?
By Walter E. Williams
Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Some Americans look to European countries such as France, Germany and its Scandinavian neighbors and suggest that we adopt some of their economic policies. I agree, we should look at Europe for the lessons they can teach us. Dr. Daniel Mitchell, research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, does just that in his paper titled "Fiscal Policy Lessons from Europe."

Government spending exceeds 50 percent of the GDP in France and Sweden and more than 45 percent in Germany and Italy , compared to U.S. federal, state and local spending of just under 36 percent. Government spending encourages people to rely on handouts rather than individual initiative, and the higher taxes to finance the handouts reduce incentives to work, save and invest. The European results shouldn't surprise anyone. U.S. per capita output in 2003 was $39,700, almost 40 percent higher than the average of $28,700 for European nations,.

Over the last decade, the U.S. economy has grown twice as fast as European economies. In 2006, European unemployment averaged 8 percent while the U.S. average was 4.7 percent. What's more, the percentage of Americans without a job for more than 12 months was 12.7 percent while in Europe it was 42.6 percent. Since 1970, 57 million new jobs were created in the U.S., and just 4 million were created in Europe.

Dr. Mitchell cites a comparative study by Timbro, a Swedish think tank, showing that European countries rank with the poorest U.S. states in terms of living standards, roughly equal to Arkansas and Montana and only slightly ahead of West Virginia and Mississippi. Average living space in Europe is just under 1,000 square feet for the average household, while U.S. households enjoy an average of 1,875 square feet, and poor households 1,200 square feet. In terms of income levels, productivity, employment levels and R&D investment, according to Eurochambres (The Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry), it would take Europe about two decades to catch up with us, assuming we didn't grow further.

We don't have to rely on these statistics to make us not want to be like Europeans; just watch where the foot traffic and money flow. Some 400,000 European science and technology graduates live in the U.S. European migration to our country rose by 16 percent during the 1990s. In 1980, the Bureau of Economic Analysis put foreign direct investment in the U.S. at $127 billion. Today, it's more than $1.7 trillion. In 1980, there was $90 billion of foreign portfolio investment -- government and private securities -- in the U.S. Today, there's more than $4.6 trillion, much of it coming from Europeans who find our investment climate more attractive.

What's the European response to its self-made economic malaise? They don't repeal the laws that make for a poor investment climate. Instead, through the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), they attack low-tax jurisdictions. Why? To support its welfare state, European nations must have high taxes, but if Europeans, as private citizens and businessmen, relocate, invest and save in other jurisdictions, it means less money is available to be taxed.

Dr. Mitchell addresses this issue through his research at the Center for Freedom and Prosperity ( The OECD has a blacklist for countries they've identified as "tax havens." The blacklisted countries include Hong Kong, Macao, Malaysia (Labuan) and Singapore. Also targeted are Andorra, Brunei, Costa Rica, Dubai, Guatemala, Liberia, Liechtenstein, the Marshall Islands, Monaco, the Philippines and Uruguay. The blacklisted jurisdictions have strong financial privacy laws and low or zero rates of tax.

The OECD member countries want the so-called tax havens to change their laws to help them identify the earnings of their citizens. Most of all, OECD wants these countries to legislate higher taxes so as to reduce their appeal. A suggestion that we should be more like Europe is the same as one suggesting that we should be poorer.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Black Specter of Stalin

Aussiegirl`s mother lived through the Great Famine in Ukraine, the attempted genocide of the Ukrainian people by the Exalted-Leader-of-the-Worker`s-Paradise, Joseph Stalin. Her touching account of this horrific event can be read here at Ultima Thule.

Let me give you a small taste:

Soon, the terrible, black specter of the Stalin created Famine-Genocide of l932-33 spread throughout the land. And even though I was still quite young, I remember that frightening apparition of the famine very well. Images that are seared in my memory forever -- hundreds -- thousands of people, their limbs and bellies grotesquely swollen from starvation -- the walking dead, the half-dead and the dead -- orphaned children wandering homeless and begging for food in the streets -- or simply dying in the gutters.

In school during class a small boy suddenly pitched forward onto his desk and died -- I shall never forget the sound of his head hitting the desk -- and he wasn't the only one. And the textbooks, newspapers and so-called "artistic literature" all around us overflowed with the slogan: "We are grateful to Comrade Stalin for our happy childhood!" What obscene and monstrous mockery!

This is a must-read!

Creating The Gap

Reader Wil Wirtanen passes along his exasperation at the political season of reruns:


While listening to Senator-to-be James Webb on Meet the Press, I was struck by his statement about closing the gap between the rich and the poor. It harkens back to the revolution of 1917. Another progressive goal to the future by looking in the rearview mirror.

Has it ever struck the Dimocrats that the reason for the increasing gap is due to their bankrupt philosophy. A philosophy that has bankrupted people of their primary survival skills.

They give handouts to anyone who thinks they have been wronged. If you can’t get a job it is because of your race, weight, sex, etc. Don’t worry, you don’t have to work, we will extend unemployment.

Or, you can get a hamburger flipping job and we will raise the minimum wage just so you can make a living wage. Don’t worry, all businessmen are rich and they don’t deserve it.

You have large outstanding debt and can’t go bankrupt (it isn’t that you spend more than you make). No, it is because the Republicans changed the law so it is harder to go bankrupt to prevent someone else from picking up the tab for your irresponsibility.

You can’t feed your family so the government will feed you and your family with food stamps; it leaves more money for you to buy liquor, expensive sports clothing, or bling bling instead of food.

You don’t have to save for retirement-there is social security. You can live off the younger generation like the old folks lived off you. It doesn’t matter that the government dictates the amount of money you can have in retirement.

You don’t have to worry about your health because the government eventually will pay for all of it. Who cares that you have to wait 3-4 months to see a specialist if you have single payer insurance? Your cancer will wait till you see the specialist.

In every one of the areas of primal survival the Dimocrats have negated the sense of risk without diminishing the risk. They have created a class of slaves that can not survive without the handouts.

Milton Fiedman recently passed away. The town crier who showed economic freedom is essential to individual freedom. The Dimocrats need to get a library card and read his works. (They obviously won’t spend the money to buy his books, it would mean someone might make a profit.)

The Dimocrats want to reward the unproductive of society with the hard work of the productive in society. This philosophy espoused by the Dimocrats begs the question, Who is John Galt?

Who, indeed? To prove his point, Wil sends this little tidbit from the Wall Street Journal. Since it is only available to subscribers, he thoughtfully forwarded the article in it`s entirety:

Rebalancing Act
Democrats Target Wealth Gap
And Hope Not to Hit Economy
Divide Between Rich and Poor
Continues to Widen;
Spurs 'Robin Hood' Plans

Can Growth Benefit Workers?
November 21, 2006; Page A1

By almost every measure, the gap between winners and losers in the American economy has widened over the past 20 years. In this month's election, anxiety about that gap was not far behind voter anger over Iraq and congressional corruption in driving Democrats to victory. "We will make our economy fairer" vowed House Democrats, in a campaign manifesto.

Now they're in a position to try, raising a big question: What can Democrats do to resist inequality in a way that doesn't choke off economic growth? Can government slice the economic apple more evenly without shrinking it?

Today's inequality reflects a confluence of forces. Technology is increasing employers' appetite for some skilled workers, while diminishing it for assembly-line workers in auto and textile factories. Imports and outsourcing are doing the same. Schools aren't graduating enough of the workers in short supply, such as engineers. Immigration is contributing to a glut of others, visible wherever day laborers gather hoping for work. Unions are atrophying. Corporate boards, hedge funds and sports teams are increasingly willing to write super-sized paychecks to a chosen few.

At the extremes, some politicians (not all of them Democrats) believe the benefits of a globalizing, high-tech economy are outweighed by the costs to U.S. workers. They would build a fence around the U.S. to reduce immigration or erect tariff barriers to imports. Even at the Democratic middle -- where the virtues of technology and globalization are prized -- proposals to reduce inequality range widely. They include interceding in the market to raise pay at the bottom or limit it at the top, pushing "Robin Hood" take-from-the-rich tax policies, improving shock absorbers that protect workers when their employers crash, extending health and retirement plans to workers without them and spending more to promote education from pre-K through college.

Meddling With the Market

High on Democrats' to-do list is lifting the federal minimum wage. It's been steady at $5.15 an hour since 1997, while consumer prices have risen 25%. Although many economists warn a higher minimum wage means fewer jobs, the 1990s suggest that boosting the minimum wage can boost incomes of those at the bottom. But its potential to shrink the gap between the wealthiest and poorest wage-earners is limited, especially when wages at the top are soaring far away from the middle and bottom.

Limiting pay at the top has proven tough. A 1993 law that discouraged tax deductions for executive salaries above $1 million is widely regarded as a bust. "Executives responded by rewarding themselves with millions of dollars worth of stock options" instead of big salaries, lament former Clinton aide Bruce Reed and Chicago Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a key strategist in the Democrats' win, in their pre-election book calling for "a new social contract for the 21st century." They go on, "This time we should approach the problem from the other direction and require companies that provide stock options to their executives to provide stock options to every worker."

That's unlikely to become law. But Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat in line to chair the House Financial Services Committee, vows to push legislation that would force companies to provide more and clearer details of CEO pay, devise policies to recapture incentive pay if earnings are later restated, and require shareholder approval of "golden parachute" payments to dismissed executives. Mr. Frank says he plans hearings into a "fundamental" economic question: "How do you do a better job of sharing overall economic growth with the average worker?"

Few Democrats would block employers from laying off workers or closing factories, as is often done in Europe. But several newly elected Democrats, particularly from the beleaguered Midwest, vow to slow the flood of imports and rethink the pacts that President Bush has been negotiating to lower trade barriers.

There also is strong support among Democrats for strengthening American labor unions to try to tilt the balance in the labor market more toward workers. A bill co-sponsored by 215 House members and 43 senators, would, among other things, require employers to recognize a union after a majority of workers sign cards asking for representation instead of secret-ballot votes.

Robin Hood

A popular alternative among Democrats is to champion the market -- that is, allow it to direct people and money to best use -- and then tax the rich to give more to the poor. Enlarging the earned-income tax credit, viewed by many economists as a smart alternative to a higher minimum wage, is an option likely to figure in Democratic tax deliberations. The credit offers up to $4,536 to a family with two or more children to offset payroll taxes that the working poor pay. And it offers a cash bonus if the credit exceeds taxes paid, rewarding low-wage workers without raising employers' costs.

But most of the focus is on taking more from the top. Many Democrats would let at least some of Mr. Bush's income-tax cuts expire in 2010 or roll them back. Many favor preserving the estate tax, which Republicans target for abolition. New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to restore a 1990s rule requiring new spending to be offset by spending cuts or tax increases; upper-income taxpayers are the sure target.

The Senate Finance Committee, with the blessing of both parties' leaders, is circulating a list of ways to shrink the "tax gap" between taxes owed and taxes actually paid. Most are aimed at upper-income taxpayers, such as requiring stock brokers to report not only the price a client got for shares, but also the original purchase price paid.

Boosting taxes on upper-income Americans would reduce disparities and provide revenues for other attacks on inequality. Raising the top two tax rates, now 33% and 35%, by a single percentage point would yield $90 billion over five years, the Congressional Budget Office estimates.

Another favorite Democratic target is the lower tax rate -- a maximum of 15% -- on capital gains and dividends. The administration says the lower rates have strengthened the stock market and the economy. Some Democrats say they're unfair. "We must end the Republicans' war on work, which taxes a millionaire at a lower rate for his stock trades than it taxes the wages his secretary earns for placing the call to his broker," wrote Rep. Emanuel and Mr. Reed. Also under discussion, often in conversations about ways to shore up Social Security, is increasing the ceiling -- now set at $94,200 -- on wages subject to the Social Security payroll tax.

Republicans as prominent as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently have warned in speeches of risks posed by widening inequality. But many conservatives fear taxing the rich in response would reduce incentives for innovation, entrepreneurship and education -- and thus reduce economic growth to the detriment of all. Their counsel: Try to lift incomes of the poor and middle class, and don't worry if the rich do even better.

Democrats argue that the 1990s proved that raising taxes on upper-income Americans can produce lots of revenue and coincide with a very strong economy. Republicans counter that the 2000s show tax cuts propel the economy and can coincide with surging tax revenues. Both arguments exaggerate the ability to isolate tax rates from other economic crosswinds. But the fundamental disagreement is over the extent to which higher taxes discourage work, savings and investment. "The market is not so good at spreading the gains. We need an activist government that pursues broad-based growth," says Mr. Reed.

Shock Absorbers

One direct response to workers' anxiety is expanded government programs to cushion the fall of those who lose jobs in today's rapidly changing economy. "Better preparation before adverse events happen and more...assistance after bad events occur" would both help workers and "diminish political demands for growth-reducing policies, such as protectionism," says Peter Orszag, who heads the Hamilton Project, a think tank spawned by former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin to find way to promote "broad-based economic growth" and "economic security."

Targeted federal programs, created to lure congressional votes for free-trade pacts, now reach few people. There's a tax credit to help those who lose jobs due to imports buy health insurance. And there's wage-loss insurance, which offers cash to eligible workers dislocated by imports to compensate for taking lower-paying jobs. Inequality foes would greatly expand such programs.

Lori Kletzer of the University of California at Santa Cruz and Howard Rosen of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, for instance, would offer eligible dislocated workers up to half the difference between weekly earnings at their old and new jobs, up to $10,000 a year. This isn't cheap: They put the price tag at between $2.6 billion and $4.3 billion a year, financed through general tax revenues or an expanded payroll tax.

Universal Coverage

An alternative, albeit expensive, is to close the gap between those with health insurance and a retirement-savings plan (on top of Social Security) and those without. About 25% of people in households with incomes below $25,000 lack any health insurance, even government provided. Among the over-$75,000 crowd, only 8.5% are without insurance. About 45% of full-time workers on private payrolls aren't offered private retirement savings plans of any sort at work.

Gene Sperling, a former Clinton aide who published a 300-page "economic strategy for shared prosperity" last year, preaches to Democrats: "Simply voting yes [on trade pacts] and getting 5,000 more people on Trade Adjustment Assistance is a losing strategy. With control, Democrats can envision a more expansive social compact might make people less fearful about the pace of change and globalization."

Finding a politically palatable and affordable way to make health insurance universally available has been impossible, so far. Mr. Bush has pushed tax credits to help more people buy insurance on their own, and dangled rule changes and low-premium, high-deductible policies to encourage small firms to offer coverage. Although some Democrats still drool over proposals for government health insurance for all, others prefer piecemeal approaches. Among them: Allowing businesses with up to 100 employees tax credits to buy insurance through a government-sponsored pool modeled on the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan, which gives federal workers a choice of private health insurance plans.

On retirement savings, outside the contentious Social Security debate, Democratic and Republican centrists are inching toward similar proposals, described differently. Mr. Sperling is pushing a "universal 401(k)" to which employees, employers and, in some cases, the government would contribute, a cousin to the private accounts Mr. Bush wanted to carve out of Social Security. Increasingly prominent Democratic Sen. Barack Obama cites it favorably in his new book, "The Audacity of Hope" and Ms. Pelosi backs a similar proposal. It would, in essence, narrow tomorrow's inequality by encouraging Americans to save more in their working years.


Improving education is the feel-good solution, seen across the political spectrum as a way to promote growth and equality simultaneously. "The economy increasingly rewards education and skills," says Edward Lazear, chairman of Mr. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. "We would not want it any other way. However, inequality in skills and education levels means inequality in income." His fix: Improve public schools for the disadvantaged through the No Child Left Behind Act and foster competition among schools.

Democrats are focused on doing more to help Americans pay for college, especially important since the typical college grad earns 45% more than the typical high-school grad. Ms. Pelosi's platform calls for making up to $12,000 a year in college tuition tax-deductible -- or the equivalent in a $3,000 tax credit -- as well as cutting interest rates on student loans and increasing the maximum Pell Grant for low-income students to $5,100 from $4,050.

A coalition that spans the political spectrum is pushing more government support of Pre-K education. The case: Low-income children are behind when they arrive at kindergarten and never catch up; spending more on them sooner would have a big payoff.

One political problem: Education has a long fuse. It can take a generation to see results.

In the end, government can do only so much, especially given Americans' traditional ambivalence toward big government and European-style social welfare programs. "It's not hard to think of government policies with redistributive aspects," says Mr. Sperling, the former Clinton adviser. "What gets hard is to say: Here's my vision for how the private sector is going to create jobs that lead to a strengthening, not a hollowing out, of the middle class."

Americans want government to protect their current jobs and tell them where their next job -- and their children's jobs -- will come from. "But government is not good at that," Mr. Sperling says.


The Democrats have never been able do develope any new material in the last 30 years, and so we have a recycling of their failed policies yet again, wrapped in shiny new paper to be sure, but the same old thing. It`s rather like getting a pet rock for Christmas thirty years in a row; the damn thing never had any value to begin with! Can`t I take a raincheck? My basement is full of pet rocks!

With LOST in reruns, I had hoped for something new on the political scene to keep me occupied-alas, we have returned to ALL IN THE FAMILY yet again. Yawn!

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