Friday, November 30, 2007

Creative Tax Ideas from Republicans -- PJM

On Sunday, Fred Thompson, appearing on Fox News Sunday postulated the following tax plan which got a favorable review from the Club for Growth, an organization not exactly known for being timid when it comes to opposing tax and spenders. Details of Thompson's plan are below, but this is not an endorsement for him since the plan is really the creation of the House's Republican Study Committee. Importantly, this program shows that Republicans can come up with creative ideas even if they aren't able to enact a true Fair Tax or a true flat tax which many prefer. The article written by Bob Novak in early October ( discusses the plan and its merits and is worth checking out.

Club for Growth Praises Thompson’s Tax Reform PlanWashington

– The Club for Growth praised Senator Fred Thompson for the release of his pro-growth tax reform plan this morning on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. The seven-part plan is the most comprehensive tax reform plan offered to date by a presidential candidate. The plan will:

Permanently extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts
Permanently repeal the Death Tax
Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax
Reduce the corporate tax rate to no more than 27%
Permanently extend small business expensing
Update and simplify depreciation schedules
Expand taxpayer choice

Most commendable is Thompson’s plan to expand taxpayer choice by adopting the Republican Study Committee’s recent plan, called the Taxpayer Choice Act. This plan will give American taxpayers the choice of opting into a simplified tax code that contains only two rates rather than deal with the current monstrosity known as the U.S. tax code.“While other candidates have adopted pieces of this plan, Thompson goes a step further by offering a specific corporate tax reduction and offering taxpayers the option of a simple tax plan,” said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. “His plan is based on the fundamental fact that lower rates and simpler rules across the board promote economic freedom and enhance economic growth. This is the kind of plan economic conservatives can rally around.”

Bush -- Becoming less tarnished? -- Editor

It occurs to the author that maybe George W. Bush is looking a little less tarnished. The "surge" in Iraq seems to be changing things there and all of a sudden almost 50% of the population (if you believe some polls) feels better about it. On top of that, recent scientific discoveries seem to be vindicating Bush's stand on stem cell research. While neither of these developments may be absolute they are positive as is his recent willingness to use the veto pen. For a good article on the stem cell issue see Charles Krauthammer's editorial:

Earmarks and Reform

If you think that there has been much reform in earmarks, read the article (link below) from Citizens Against Government Waste. Even when earmarks are thrown out in the committee process they still find a way of being put ("airdropped") back into bills. Amazing.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Energy Dependence - PJM

The Senate and House may actually get together and pass an "Energy" bill in the next day or so. Of course, it has become a single-issue bill for the most part that deals with C.A.F.A. standards or the regulated miles per gallons that vehicles must achieve by 2020 or thereabouts.

The sad part about this is it is just one piece of the equation. Maybe, like immigration, all you can do is take little steps since major efforts seem to end of the victims of each side of the aisle with each disagreeing with the provisions the other side wanted. Unfortunately, even more so than immigration, the United States' dependence on foreign oil is nothing more than a ticking time bomb. None of the little steps add up to the recognition that this country's energy independence is not a matter of whether gas is $3.00 or $5.00 a gallon, but whether you'll even be able to get it. ENERGY IS A NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE and it needs to be addressed just like a Manhattan Project. It is life or death to this country.

As a conservative it is hard to accept more regulations on vehilce mileage, on coal, oil and natural gas. Yet, in a concerted, realistic and defined national effort, i.e., a program to make the United States truly energy independent in 10 years, perhaps regulations are in fact part of the equation. But only so long as that equation allows drilling off our shores and in Anwar and any other place that it takes to ACHIEVE TRUE ENERGY INDEPENDENCE IN Ten years. Only so long as it includes alternative and renewal energies.

Energy is one instance where a recognition of its VITAL NATIONAL SECURITY INTEREST may justify the pain of regulation by the government and some sacrifice, economically and socially by our citizens to protect the ultimate security of our country. If, God forbid the Middle East erupts in flames and war, if crazy Hugo Chavez becomes furher unglued or if anything else blocks the free flow of oil to this country, we will all regret that we didn't use our ingenuity and good sense to avoid it. Such a crisis could precipitate a world-wide econimic depression. As China and India demand even more oil to fuel their economies we'll wish we didn't have to compete for oil, thereby driving billions of dollars a day into those who will ultimately use the dollars to kill us, to buy us and to blackmail us. See the related articles below.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

France's Problems May Become Our Own--PJM

ArticleS in today's Washington Post, and the New York Times, about rioters in France may be instructive to us. The problem there is unemployed immigrant youth without jobs or a future. There also seems to be an expectation that the state has an obligation to provide the jobs and social programs.
With that said, what is the future for our country with huge influxes of illegal immigrants in the Southwest and across the nation? Given the state (failure) of our education system as well as the reluctance of our country to enact English language immersion how can we educate all of those illegal and legal immigrants, provide them jobs and social programs? Our education, health systems and governments are already stressed by this.
The unintended consequences of continued uncontrolled illegal immigration as well as seemingly unintelligent legal immigration categories and quotas certainly exposes our own country to the same potential problems that France and other European countries are facing. It would seem that we should get our situation under control A.S.A.P. Where is congress and law enforcement?

Holiday Entertainment

If you love "It's a Wonderful Life" and have nothing planned for the evening of December 22, you owe it to your self to attend Bruce Crawford's presentation of the original show at Joslyn Art Museum. Each of Bruce's presentations are far more than just that of a movie but truly an event that you will long remember. Check it out at:

The Gospel, According to a Nebraska Fan :

And it came to pass in the land of Lincoln, in the kingdom of Husker Nation, that a man named Pederson arose to rule the realm of Athletics. For he was of the Kingdom, from the city of North Platte, and was a follower of the Huskers of Corn.

But he was not a wise man, forsaking the ways of the Husker Nation, sending the leader Solich into the wilderness, and turning away the warriors of old who wore the tunics of black into battle in ages past, even removing their portraits and pictures.

And in the place of Solich, he selected from the land of La-La a strange man, once known as leading a failed army known as Raiders to defeat after defeat in the grand Coliseum of the Land of Oaks, a city by the bay of San Francisco, a wicked city of Sodomites and practitioners of perversion.

And did this man, known as Callahan, become the general of the Husker armies, forsaking all traditions held dear to the hearts of the citizens.

And a strange plan known as the West Coast Offense was forced upon the armies, and the proven tactics of old were called evil and sinful by Callahan. And complex and confusing were the plans in the Offense, and failure was the result.

And the Husker armies fell apart on the fields of battle, and adversaries from the Land of Troy, the hated Sooners, the powerful Orange Cowboys from the land of Still Water, yea even the despised Purple Cats from the wasteland of Kansas, did achieve victory after victory over the once-mighty Husker armies, and the wearers of the Tunics of Black.

And in the fourth year of the reign of Callahan, did the Husker armies struggle against warriors from a land where canning jars were made. And lo, the armies of Troy, the Tiger tribe from Columbia, yea, even the Orange Cowboys, did soundly defeat the Husker armies.

And it came to pass during the battle with the Orange Cowboys, in the presence of St. Thomas of Osborne and his brave soldiers of yore, that the members of Husker Nation did turn their backs upon the slaughter of the weakened armies of Callahan.

And a hue and cry arose throughout the land, in cyberspace, and on the program ESPN, for the removal of the failed general Callahan and his aides, and his master Pederson the Jerk.

And the Chancellor heard their cries, and dispatched Pederson into exile.

And St. Thomas was summoned by the Chancellor, and was given the power to rule in the department of Athletics.

And o, did Callahan wail and gnash his teeth, telling one and all of the fine works he had done. And his lies fell on deaf ears.

And there was great joy in Husker Nation as St. Thomas restored the traditions of old, welcoming with open arms the warriors of old known to the Nation.

But there was a reminder from St. Thomas that no remedies would be quick in coming, and that time shall pass before the great Husker armies are strong and feared once again throughout the land of the Alliance of 12.

Even so, once again hope is strong among the faithful of the Husker Nation, and some day in the future the Tunics of Black shall once again be worn by the fierce defenders of the field.

Rumors From the Street

Jon Bruning:

Despite claims to the contrary it appears that Jon was approached to step aside by someone on behalf of the National Republican Party. Could it have been a prominent Lincoln former National Committeeman? Given the orchestration of the withdrawal-Johanns endorsement there was considerably more to this than meets the eyes. Were promises made to Bruning? Time will tell.

The Omaha Mayor's Race:

With Mayor Fahey taking so much flack from Elkhorn and the save Rosenblatt crowd, he may make the decision to pass on an unprecedented third term, even if he lands a 20 year contract with the College World Series. Certainly, opposition from those two groups won't go away and the Mayor needs South Omaha to win re-election. Other rumors have that right-hand man Paul Landow (the real mayor) is thinking about retirement. Paul is a tremendous asset to the Mayor and a great political operative. Councilman Jim Suttle obviously is looking to replace Fahey--he attends every event and funeral he can to make his presence known. On the other hand, it appears that Councilman Vokal may not be ready to run the next time around against Fahey or Suttle. Councilman Welch is doubtful for a run for re-election. With all of this, is it just possible that Hal Daub will become a candidate for his former job? Not at all unlikely.

Send your rumor updates to

Say Thank You To A Service Member at Christmas

For those of you who would like to say thank you to a service member overseas at Christmas, there is nothing quicker than this. Just click the address below and follow the simple instructions and you can send a Thank You Card, courtesy of Xerox in less than a minute. A nice thought.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

English Is (or Should be) our Language

A couple of interesting articles on English as our national language and its use in the workplace. It seems to me to be somewhat incongruous that a non-citizen (legal or otherwise) should be able to sue an American company for requiring him to speak English on the job. On the other hand, when so many companies are requiring bi-lingual speakers for many of their positions it would seem it is a position that business may have created for itself. I wonder if as discussed below in the case of a factory job what OSHA would say were an accident to occur? Would the company be responsible because someone was injured because he couldn't understand the non-English warning spoken by a fellow employee? Or would the company be responsible because it's non-English speaking employee wasn't warned of a danger in his native language? Sounds like a Catch-22 that only lawyers (no offense intended) end up the winner of.....

Probably more important is this country's national identity. If we want to become a Canada (always on the verge of becoming two separate nations) we should encourage bi-lingual speech and in time at least a portion of our country from Texas, New Mexico, Arizona to California will become English as a second language (if we are lucky) states and who knows, maybe in time they will seek separation as has Quebec. Or we can say that English is the unifying language on which this country is built and that immigrants (legal ones) should be expected to embrace it as they seek to benefit from our nation's great benefits of freedom and opportunity and ultimately citizenship.

Some may call me a racist, I choose to be called an American. --- PJM

Speaking English on the Job is Common Sense... Right?

Posted By Bobby Eberle On November 27, 2007 at 7:09 amA new survey shows that a vast majority of Americans believe that companies should be allowed to require employees to speak English while on the job. This makes perfect sense, right? If you're on a construction site, and there is a large steel I-beam heading for your head, you'd probably want your co-workers to warn you about it... in English!But yet again, this type of policy is causing an uproar, this time in Connecticut, where a sheet metal plant is being sued by five Spanish-speaking workers because the company "ordered its employees to speak only English on the job because of safety concerns.

"First, some numbers... According to a new poll by Rasmussen Reports, 77% of American voters say "companies should be allowed to require employees to speak English while on the job." The telephone survey found only 14% disagree with the position.The English-only worksite sentiment crosses party affiliations with 84% of Republicans and 70% of Democrats in agreement. "Just 13% of American voters believe that requiring workers to speak English is a form of racism or bigotry. Seventy-nine percent (79%) disagree."Rasmussen notes that the

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) does not feel the same way as the vast majority of the American public. Rasmussen cites EEOC documents which state "linguistic characteristics are closely associated with national origin" and can therefore be used to "discriminate on the basis of national origin."

Earlier this year, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against a Framingham, Massachusetts Salvation Army Thrift Store for requiring that only English be spoken in the workplace. In 2003, a federal court ruled in favor of the Salvation Army in a similar case brought by the EEOC. The head of the agency testified before Congress that “an employer who establishes an English-only rule has a responsibility to show a business necessity for that rule.” According to the EEOC website, 4% of those living in the United States speak little or no English.

Now, for the latest case... FOX News is reporting that "[a]fter a sheet metal plant in Connecticut ordered its employees to speak only English on the job because of safety concerns, five Spanish-speaking workers decided to take the company to court. The employees, who are legal immigrants, say the rule amounts to discrimination and actually makes the workplace more hazardous." "I can think of no good reason for them to institute this policy," said Steven Jacobs, the lawyer for the workers who are suing GC Industries in Deep River, Conn. "It's offensive to people who speak Spanish and is potentially dangerous. It inhibits them from communicating in their native tongue in situations that could put people at risk."No good reason? How about the safety of the other workers? Communicating in their native language might save them, but what about the others?

This is America isn't it?The main problem here is that governmental organizations such as the EEOC and liberal groups forget what America is all about. There is a culture seen around the world that is distinctly AMERICAN. Yes, we are a nation of immigrants, and proud of it. Those immigrants came here to live the American dream and to BE American. Somehow, along the way, these groups forgot that fact and are actually discouraging immigrants from becoming American. The great American "melting pot" has been replaced by a "stew" in which everyone is encouraged to live in America but not embrace being American.

A Tale Of Two Tongues

By Bill MurchisonTuesday, October 9, 2007

Vamos a ver, as we say down at Bo's Hardware Store. According to an ABC News "Good Morning America" poll, two thirds of Americans don't mind hearing Spanish spoken as a matter of course right here in the United States. I doubt this rather seriously, given the tendency of poll respondents to avoid saying anything that might make a polltaker say under his breath, "Racist, racist!" But the poll does bring to the fore a significant question: How much sense does it make for the United States to accommodate the widespread speaking of a tongue other than English in a nation where English is supposedly the universal and semi-official language? I don't think it makes much sense at all, though I expect such a viewpoint to enrage and disgust our country's dominant cultural left.

To those who don't appreciate the intrusion of Spanish -- melodious Romance language as it is -- into daily American life, ABC imputes a tendency to back stricter immigration rules and to hold "negative views on immigration generally, particularly on illegal immigration."

In which case a word from a certified immigration "moderate" with some university training in Spanish and a 40-year habit of muttering to himself in said language -- a word, I say, from such a one might be of use. And it's this. A bilingual nation can't and won't cut it. Language enshrines and perpetuates cultural division, of which surely we have enough right now. I wouldn't care if our newcomers were speaking the tongue of my Celtic forbears. I would beg the Highland laddies kindly to carry on in the Queen's English.

One nation, one language is the sensible rule everywhere perhaps but Switzerland, which for historical and geographical reasons carries on in German, French and Italian. In Belgium, an artificial firebreak kind of nation, the French speakers and the Dutch speakers are talking of going their separate ways. Wouldn't blame them if they did.

The more we condone -- not to mention encourage -- the routine speaking of Spanish in schools and in the workplace, the slighter and slimmer grow opportunities for that thoroughgoing cultural assimilation all should desire -- Spanish speakers as well as English speakers.
Bad enough are ballots in Spanish. Dios mio! People are going to vote who -- let's say -- aren't thoroughly comfortable with the tongue of the country in which they're voting? What kind of nonsense is this?

Nowadays, in stores like Target, with large Hispanic clienteles, we find Spanish-English signs: electronicas along with electronics. Golly -- you suppose a customer looking for electronicas is so mentally disabled as not to be up to the task of figuring out the English equivalent? Linguistic crutches of this sort aren't kind, they're insulting; as well as subversive of hopes to get us all reading and talking off the same page.

Ja, the Texas Germans spoke their original tongue for a long time, without substantial harm to our state's social fabric. They also spoke good English, especially those who wanted to. I wouldn't submit the Latin Americans among us won't make a similar peace with changed conditions, but I wouldn't bet many dolares on it either, given the propinquity of the United States to the Spanish-speaking homelands.

Another thing I'm not going to do is blame our Spanish-speakers terribly much. They'd be a lot further along in the assimilation game were it not for all the 1960s relics who dominate the universities and the media, and who think anyone out of tune with their quaint notions of cultural equivalency -- all cultures and nations at eye level -- is a nativist with kinfolk in Jena, La., if not Neshoba County, Miss.

The cultural left's ongoing primal scream over our racism, imperialism, greed, spiritual poverty, whatever, is part of the furniture of modern life. There's at least one consolation. Much more downplaying of the tongue of Shakespeare, Johnson and Melville, and hardly anyone will be able to understand a word they say up there in the Harvard philosophy department.

Bill Murchison is a senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.

Response to World Herald Midlands Voices Article on Scott Kleeb---By Patrick McPherson

Leadership can make difference but Kleeb is not the answer

Mike Nellis’ article in this space, "Leadership of Kleeb can make the difference" fails to recognize reality.

Certainly, as Nellis states, there is a real lack of leadership in Washington--on both the Democrat and Republican sides of the aisle. And yes, when there has been no appropriation bill passed by the congress and signed into law by the president it seems that leadership, consensus and statesmanship are lacking. After last year’s change of political party leadership one would think that there would not have already been thousands of new earmarks attached to appropriation bills and continued scandals created by bribery and self serving. Yet, such is still the case.

As to Nellis' assertion that Nebraskans such as Bryan, Norris, Kerrey and Hagel have led the fight on issues dominating national discourse one questions whether that is a tradition the state should want to continue. Did any of them ever become president? Did any of them ever effect a real change? Maybe this writer has limited history regarding Bryan and Norris, but what did Bob Kerrey do other than cast a vote for what was the greatest federal tax increase in history and temporarily give Nebraskans a little Hollywood glitter? As for Hagel, he supported an immigration bill that neither Nebraskans nor the country wanted and he opposed the president's efforts in Iraq against the wishes of the majority of his constituents. Are these the kind of traditions Nebraskans want to continue or do these represent contrarian attempts to broaden national images in support of unrealistic presidential ambitions?

As to the Nellis' suggestion that the press in the state has written the obituary of the two-party system, meaning the Democrat Party, they certainly have. However, don't forget that Democrat Nelson won a formidable victory in 2006 over a well financed candidate. Don't forget that others like Exon, Zorinsky,Kerrey and Nelson dominated Nebraska Republicans in the U.S. Senate over the last three decades. With the possible exception of Kerrey, most of these reflected Nebraska values, not those of the east or west coast.

Nellis says that Scott Kleeb is the answer to the problems of the Democrat Party after his bold congressional campaign of 2006. Nellis also states that Kleeb's ten-point loss nearly accomplished the impossible. Perhaps the writer doesn't understand mathematics, but a 10% win by Adrian Smith in his first run for an open congressional seat seems pretty impressive, particularly in a very bad year for Republicans nationwide. A reflection upon the history of open elections in the third district might be instructive. In 1974, Republican Virginia Smith won election for an open 3rd District Seat by only 737 votes (50.2%). She represented Nebraskans until her retirement in 1990 when Republican Bill Barrett won an open seat election over his Democrat opponent by about 4,400 votes (51% vs. 49%). In 2000, after Barrett's retirement, beloved football coach Tom Osborne won election to the seat by a huge margin. To assert that Kleeb nearly accomplished the impossible in view of these facts is simply wishful thinking.

Nellis' partisan belief that Kleeb is the answer (to no viable Democrat candidates for the 2008 senate race) is even more ludicrous when one understands that Kleeb never lived in Nebraska before coming here shortly before the election to work as a ranch hand. To suggest that Kleeb has established himself as a force in the community a mere year after losing election is equally unsupportable. What real service has Kleeb done for Nebraska compared to other potential Democrat or Republican candidates? Nellis suggests elections should be a test of leadership, not power, but how has Kleeb demonstrated leadership that has had an impact on people over any length of time?

Most Nebraskans agree with Nellis that candidates for the U.S. House and Senate shouldn't be determined in smoke filled rooms in Washington. To do so means selecting more of the same folks that have accomplished so little for solving the real problems of the country, i.e., Social Security, Medicare, energy, etc. The country needs real leaders that will deal with these issues without worrying about re-election.

To say that Scott Kleeb is the "leader" that can make the difference for Nebraska Democrats only shows either their desperation or lack of any sense of reality. Democrats will have to build a farm team of folks like Exon, Zorinsky, and yes even Ben Nelson before they can expect any success in once again winning national elections.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

End to a long nightmere

Note to Harvey Perlman:

In your press conference announcement of the firing of Steve Pederson, you were asked who was running the athletic department and your response was "I don't know, I sure hope somebody is". Well, Tom Osborne is running the athletic department.

Why don't you have the courtesy to name him Athletic Director since you are not doing the national search you promised, since it is demeaning to call Tom Osborne "interim" anything, and since his firing of Coach Callahan is now correcting your mistake of hiring Pederson five years ago?

Note to N.U. President Milliken:

It's time you sent Harvey Perlman back to the law school and found a competent leader for the U.N.L. campus.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Philadelphia and the Boy Scouts

It's very easy as a conservative to say that the Boy Scouts in Philly are being discriminated against, which, of course, they are. On the other hand a conservative might ask if it is the duty of Philly or any city to subsidize a non-profit organization? It is easy to take affront when one of "our" organizations is being discriminated against by the federal, state or a local government, but what if Philly were subsidizing a "man/boy" organization or something else repulsive to conservatives? No doubt we'd all be on the band wagon to end that in a hurry. Our country was founded on Christian/Judeo values and should never back away or discriminate against those values, but realize that government's involvement (subsidy or apparent support) creates dilemmas that sometimes makes us take positions that our political philosophy doesn't always support in a consistent manner. Our philosophy vs. our expectations of government. Something to think about.

Philadelphia Gives Boy Scouts UltimatumCity Solicitor Tells Branch to Renounce Its Ban on Gays or Lose Rent Subsidy

By Dafna LinzerWashington Post Staff WriterMonday, November 19, 2007; A03
PHILADELPHIA -- This may be the last free Thanksgiving dinner for the Boy Scouts of Philadelphia.Citing a local 1982 "fair practices" law, the city solicitor has given the Scouts until Dec. 3 to renounce its policy of excluding homosexuals or forfeit the grand, Beaux-Arts building it has rented from the city for $1 a year since 1928."While we respect the right of the Boy Scouts to prohibit participation in its activities by homosexuals," the solicitor, Romulo Diaz, said last week in an interview, "we will not subsidize that discrimination by passing on the costs to the people of Philadelphia."The city has yet to complete an official assessment of the property. But it has tentatively placed the market value at $200,000 a year and has invited the Boy Scouts to remain in the nearly 100-year-old building as paying tenants.The confrontation between the city and the nation's third-largest Scouts chapter has been building for four years, with each side blaming the other for backing out of previous agreements and for escalating tensions.The local branch, which operates as the Cradle of Liberty Council, tried to skirt the bylaw in 2004 by issuing a four-line statement, which concluded: "Prejudice, intolerance and unlawful discrimination in any form are unacceptable within the ranks of Cradle of Liberty Council."The statement satisfied the city until gay rights groups worried that "unlawful discrimination" gave the chapter cover to continue the anti-homosexual hiring practices of the Boy Scouts of America."We thought it meant unlawful under the city code," Diaz said. "But when community folks started to complain, we asked for a clarification and got no response."The Supreme Court ruled seven years ago that the national Boy Scouts, as a private organization, had the right to exclude homosexuals from its ranks. The Boy Scouts also prohibit atheists and agnostics from employment on the grounds that such beliefs are inconsistent with the values of the country's largest youth organization. Two years ago, Congress passed the Support Our Scouts Act to protect chapters from local government attempts to strip them of access to public facilities in response to the anti-homosexual policy.Jeff Jubelirer, a spokesman for Cradle of Liberty, said the chapter, hoping to save its historic headquarters, had sought to renounce an affiliation with the national policy when the dispute with the city arose in 2003."We were trying to be amenable to all sides, but National would not allow us to keep that language, so we rescinded it. We can't have a policy where we put in specific words that National won't allow or we'll loose our charter. We can't afford not to be part of the national Boy Scouts," he said.Jubelirer said Cradle of Liberty has not received any complaints from an individual claiming discrimination. While the national application for scout leaders clearly states that employment is not open to homosexuals, Jubelirer suggested the local chapter has been operating under a "don't ask, don't tell" policy for other employees."It's not something that is asked" of applicants, he said. "But if someone were to come forward with something regarding sexual orientation, political beliefs, atheism or communism, that would be a problem."Cradle of Liberty says it serves more than 64,000 youths, mostly from the inner city, and that, as a result, its programming is centered more on mentoring and after-school programs instead of suburban camping trips. But it also hosts the oldest scouting event in the country, a three-day annual encampment at Valley Forge. Each year, thousands of troops gather to commemorate the harsh winter that George Washington spent there with Continental army soldiers.Jubelirer said the council board has not decided how it will respond on Dec. 3 and is weighing its options, including a legal fight. What it would like is another compromise, and Jubelirer said it is hoping the city's next Democratic mayor, Michael Nutter, will be more amenable to a deal after his January swearing-in.But Diaz said he had the support of Nutter and the city council, which voted in May to evict the Scouts if they did not change the policy."If I do not receive an executed lease, signed by the Boy Scouts, to remain as tenants paying a fair market rent, we will begin looking for alternative tenants that can take over the property June 1, 2008," Diaz said.Staff writer Robin Shulman contributed to this report.

History of Thanksgiving -- From the Patriot Post

Freedom From Want by Norman Rockwell, 1943
“Tomorrow being the day set apart by the Honorable Congress for public Thanksgiving and Praise; and duty calling us devoutly to express our grateful acknowledgements to God for the manifold blessings he has granted us, the General... earnestly exhorts, all officers and soldiers, whose absence is not indispensably necessary, to attend with reverence the solemnities of the day.” —George Washington (December 17, 1777)
The necessity of Thanksgiving
In this era of overblown political correctness, we often hear tales of Thanksgiving that stray far afield from the truth. Contemporary textbook narratives of the first American harvest celebration portray the Pilgrim colonists as having given thanks to their Indian neighbors for teaching them how to survive in a strange new world. This, of course, is in stark contrast to the historical record, in which the colonists gave thanks to God Almighty, the Provider of their blessings.
The “First Thanksgiving” is usually depicted as the Pilgrims’ three-day feast in early November 1621. The Pilgrims, Calvinist Protestants who rejected the institutional Church of England, believed that the worship of God must originate freely in the individual soul, under no coercion. The Pilgrims left Plymouth, England, on 6 September 1620, sailing to the New World on the promise of opportunity for religious and civil liberty.
For almost three months, 102 seafarers braved the brutal elements, arriving off what is now the Massachusetts coast. On 11 December, before disembarking at Plymouth Rock, the voyagers signed the Mayflower Compact, America’s original document of civil government predicated on principles of self-government. While still anchored at Provincetown harbor, Pastor John Robinson counseled, “You are become a body politic... and are to have only them for your... governors which yourselves shall make choice of.” Governor William Bradford described the Mayflower Compact as “a combination... that when they came a shore they would use their owne libertie; for none had power to command them...”
Upon landing, the Pilgrims conducted a prayer service and quickly turned to building shelters. Malnutrition and illness during the ensuing New England winter killed nearly half their number. Through prayer and hard work, with the assistance of their Wampanoag Indian friends, the Pilgrims reaped a rich harvest in the summer of 1621, the bounty of which they shared with the Wampanoag. The celebration incorporated feasting and games, which remain holiday traditions.
Such ready abundance soon waned, however. Under demands from investors funding their endeavor, the Pilgrims had acquiesced to a disastrous arrangement holding all crops and property in common, in order to return an agreed-to half of their produce to their overseas backers. (These financiers insisted they could not trust faraway freeholders to split the colony’s profits honestly.) Within two years, Plymouth was in danger of foundering under famine, blight and drought. Colonist Edward Winslow wrote, “The most courageous were now discouraged, because God, which hitherto had been our only shield and supporter, now seemed in his anger to arm himself against us.”
Governor Bradford’s record of the history of the colony describes 1623 as a period of arduous work coupled with “a great drought... without any rain and with great heat for the most part,” lasting from spring until midsummer. The Plymouth settlers followed the Wampanoag’s recommended cultivation practices carefully, but their crops withered.
The Pilgrims soon thereafter thought better of relying solely on the physical realm, setting “a solemn day of humiliation, to seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer, in this great distress.” In affirmation of their faith and providing a great witness to the Indians, by evening of that day the skies became overcast and gentle rains fell, restoring the yield of the fields. Governor Bradford noted, “And afterwards the Lord sent to them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of thanksgiving.”
Winslow noted the Pilgrims’ reaction as believing “it would be great ingratitude, if secretly we should smother up the same, or content ourselves with private thanksgiving for that, which by private prayer could not be obtained. And therefore another solemn day was set apart and appointed for that end; wherein we returned glory, honor, and praise, with all thankfulness, to our good God, which dealt so graciously with us...” This was the original American Thanksgiving Day, centered not on harvest feasting (as in 1621) but on gathering together to publicly recognize the favor and provision of Almighty God.
Bradford’s diary recounts how the colonists repented of their financial folly under sway of their financiers: “At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number.”
By the mid-17th century, autumnal Thanksgivings were common throughout New England; observance of Thanksgiving Festivals spread to other colonies during the American Revolution. At other junctures of “great distress” or miraculous intervention, colonial leaders called their countrymen to offer prayerful thanks to God. The Continental Congresses, cognizant of the need for a warring country’s continuing grateful entreaties to God, proclaimed yearly Thanksgiving days during the Revolutionary War, from 1777 to 1783.
In 1789, after adopting the Bill of Rights to the Constitution, among the first official acts of Congress was approving a motion for proclamation of a national day of thanksgiving, recommending that citizens gather together and give thanks to God for their new nation’s blessings. Presidents George Washington, John Adams and James Madison followed the custom of declaring national days of thanks, though it was not officially declared again until another moment of national peril, when during the War Between the States Abraham Lincoln invited “the whole American people” to observe “a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father... with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.” In 1941, Congress set permanently November’s fourth Thursday as our official national Thanksgiving.
The Pilgrims’ temporary folly of sundering and somersaulting the material as transcendent over the spiritual conveys an important lesson that modern histories are reluctant to tell. The Founders, recognizing this, placed first among constitutionally recognized rights the free exercise of religion—faith through action.
If what we seek is a continuance of God s manifold blessings, then a day of heartfelt thanksgiving is a tiny tribute indeed.
This Thanksgiving, please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces standing in harm’s way around the world, and for their families—especially the families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who have died in defense of American liberty.
On behalf of your Patriot staff and National Advisory Committee, we wish God’s peace and blessings upon you and yours this Thanksgiving.
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis!
Mark Alexander Publisher

Earmarks and Ben Nelson

Our farmer (of turkeys), Senator Ben Nelson is out to bring home some pork to Nebraska through an earmark if the Farm Bill ever gets passed and not vetoed by President Bush. The November 20th edition of the Omaha World-Herald (page4B) carried an article titled "Millions sought for Drought Mitigation". It noted, "Under the proposal by Nelson, D-Neb, the federal government would enter into a five-year, $25 million agreement with the drought center" (Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska Lincoln) "--a big boost for an operation established in 1995 on a budget of $200,000." Now, lets think about it--the center was established in 1995, only 12 years ago, and according to the article it now has an annual budget of $2.25 million, much of which comes from the federal government (Can you say earmarks?). So, now Nelson wants to give the center an additional $5 million a year for the next five years. And the center's director says, according to the Omaha World-Herald that "he is still a little bit unsure exactly what all the new funding will be used for, but he said many needs exist." The center's director, Michael Hayes, did say that he would be able to expand his staff of 18 (can you say creeping bureaucracy?) and expand his staff so it could conduct more drought planning and mitigation workshops. Nelson is quoted as saying that, "funding for the drought center is needed to have better forecasting of when droughts will occur and for how long. Farmers can make better planting decisions if they know whether a sustained dry period is on the horizon", and that "predicting drought is the next best thing to preventing drought. " Given global warming, Nelson and the mitigation center should just listen to Al Gore and Church of Global Warming alarmists and assume we are in for a long, long drought--or perhaps consult the Farmer's Almanac. In any event, here we have another university program, bulging with bureaucracy, buoyed by federal dollars and potentially fattened by earmarked dollars from Farmer Ben and our federal inability to refrain from wise fiscal management. So let's pray for continued drought so we can be fed (no pun intended) by manna from heaven via Washington.

Immigration--The Government doing its job

Is there any wonder why folks are so cynical about government when it comes to the immigration issue. The following article should raise some hackles. The very agency that is charged with dealing with naturalization issues can't do its job. And by its ineptness will give liberals talking points in next year's election for its failure to do its job so folks can vote. Senator Hutchison and Congressmen Pence introduce an immigration bill last year that would have supported hiring MasterCard or Visa or a similar corporation to process green card applicants south of our boarder in Mexico (the lack of a rational process is one of the reasons we have so many people crossing illegally t0 begin with). Maybe the Department of Homeland Security should think about getting a little help to do its job.

Agency Buried in Immigrant ApplicationsBy SUZANNE GAMBOAAssociated PressNovember 21, 2007WASHINGTON (AP) -- Millions of people who applied for naturalization and other immigration benefits to beat a midsummer fee increase are caught in a paperwork pileup that threatens the chance for some to become U.S. citizens in time to vote in next year's presidential election.The application backlog is so large that Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, is months behind schedule in returning receipts for checks written to cover fees -- an early step in the process.''Were we caught off guard by the volume? Let's just say it was anticipated it would increase. It was not anticipated it would increase by that much,'' said Emilio Gonzalez, director of Citizenship and Immigration Services.The immigration agency would not say how many applications it has received. The American Immigration Lawyers Association, a private legal advocacy group, said it was told by agency officials that 3.5 million applications had come in over a two-month period. The agency projected a workload of 3.2 million applications for fiscal years 2008 and 2009.Gonzalez ordered his staff to give priority to naturalizations, but some applicants will miss voting in primaries, which begin in January.''I really want to target the elections,'' Gonzalez said. ''I really want to get as many people out there to vote as possible.''The onslaught of applications has led to some files being sent back with errors or mistakenly rejected, while others seem lost in the system, applicants and attorneys say. Service centers in Nebraska and Texas have the longest delays. The Texas Service Center is working on applications dating from July 26, according to the agency's latest Web posting.Boston janitor Betsy Camacho, 44, applied for U.S. citizenship on July 27. On Nov. 9, she got a receipt acknowledging the check she wrote for her fees had been deposited and her information was logged in the agency's computer.Normally such receipts are returned to applicants within a week to 10 days, immigration attorneys said.''I would like to vote, to participate, to travel with a passport, have freedom of expression,'' Camacho said. A native of El Salvador, she has lived in the United States for nearly 25 years.Some groups that have been waging national campaign to help 1 million legal residents become citizens and vote in 2008 fear the pileup will hurt their efforts.''Everybody keeps saying immigrants don't want to be part of this country, they don't want to assimilate and here people are coming in droves to show how much they want to be part of this country and here are these barriers. I think it's unconscionable,'' said Eliseo Medina, executive vice president of Service Employees International Union.The application crush was worsened by another flood of about 300,000 applications from skilled workers wanting to become legal residents. The agency initially said it wouldn't accept the visa applications but changed its mind amid public outrage.The agency also set up hot lines and is posting progress updates on its Web site. Files are being sent to Vermont and California for processing there. The agency has asked staff members to volunteer to help clear the delayed paperwork, just as the State Department did when confronted with a passport application backlog because of a change in law requiring Americans to show a passport when flying to and from Mexico, Canada and the Bahamas.At least 110 immigration workers have volunteered to help process applications and are being sent to Texas and Nebraska, said agency spokesman Chris Bentley.After businesses began to complain that their employees were being grounded, officials also changed regulations to allow immigrants who hold visas for skilled workers and visas for employees of international companies to travel without a receipt.Still, the situation is hardly under control.Ashish Bansal applied for a green card on July 2. His application was returned to him twice, citing issues that had not been a problem for other clients of his attorney. The bureaucratic snag forced Bansal to delay plans to travel with his family.''My application seems to be in a black hole. I don't know when it's going to be accepted,'' said Bansal, originally from India and now living in Silver Spring, Md. on a skilled worker visa.Immigration application fees were raised in part so the agency could increase its work force. But the additional workers won't be on board in time to deal with the pileup. They are intended to be on board to adjudicate the applications.Congress appropriated $460 million in recent years to Citizenship and Immigration Services to cut previous application backlogs to six months. But that funding ended last fiscal year.Rendell Jones, the agency's chief financial officer, said the agency could not afford to delay the fee increase until after the presidential elections.Without the fee increase, the agency estimated it would receive about $1.25 billion in annual revenue in fiscal years 2008 and 2009. It projected a funding gap of about $1 billion, but that includes about $524.3 million in planned improvements. Those include spending $124.3 million on improved information technology; $14 million to pay for humanitarian programs such as one resettling Haitians and Cubans and $41.2 million to provide professional development and training for employees.To cover the costs, the agency increased fees charged applicants, which can include citizens, rather than ask Congress for more money.The failure to anticipate the swamp of applications has left some skeptical of the agency and uncertain whether the pileup is political.''I hope there is no politics involved, but it makes me wonder when it's a Republican administration and those pushing anti-immigrant legislation are Republicans and the ones managing this process are Republicans,'' Medina said.