Thursday, December 27, 2007

Government Intervention, Earmarks & Campaign Contributions - PJM

An interesting take on government interfering with local government, campaign finance issues and earmarks and the Washington D.C. school system. Here we have a senator from Louisiana who earmarks funds to support a company that has given her lots of bucks and basically tells the Washington D.C. school system what they need to teach their kids to read, something even the much esteemed Department of Education can't do. There are so many issues here that one can't begin to be less than a little cynical. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/19/AR2007121902645_pf.html

Thought for the Day

After watching the events of today in Pakistan, after enjoying a month filled with friends, presents and great food, one might do well to consider that but for the grace of God, one might have been born where people live in political chaos, poverty and oppression.

Braging and Talking, but Not Listening

President Bush, today, signed the "omnibus" $555 billion dollar Christmas Tree Bill presented him by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. He praised the fact that the bill stayed within his budget parameters, but cried foul on the nearly $10 Billion it funded in over 9,000 earmarks. One wonders why he just didn't tell Harry and Nancy he would veto it and sign a continuing resolution that wouldn't have funded the earmarks to begin with and left it up to Harry and Nancy to get him what the American public really wanted. Isn't it this craziness that got Bush and the Republicans into trouble to begin with? See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/26/AR2007122601581_pf.html

For another article on earmarks that might leave you scratching your head, check out:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/washington/20earmarks.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print Thank goodness we have a few senators that continue the fight even if it seems the other side is winning.

With that said, David Broder has an interesting take on the realism displayed by Harry and Nancy as to their first year of accomplishments under Democrat leadership in the Senate. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/26/AR2007122601484_pf.html

What one begins to assume by reading both of these issues is that neither the President, the Senate, the House, the Democrats or the Republicans are any better (more responsive) now than when the Republicans controlled the Congress and, frankly, George and the whole bunch would prefer to talk the talk rather than walk the walk.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

No Child Left Behind

Christmas is over (except in our hearts) and the New Year is near, so it's not too early to return our thoughts to one of the major issues that we will be hearing about probably for the rest of 2008---the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. Attached below is an article from the New York Times which basically documents the opposition to reauthorization by the major Democrat presidential contenders. Isn't it interesting they don't want it reauthorized when ol' Teddy (I can drive across that bridge okay) Kennedy helped put its original form together. Interestingly, this huge and ineffective intrusion into our education system by the federal government is supported by some Republican candidates. Whether you always agree with Senator Hagel or not, at least he is right on this issue and was from the beginning in his opposition to it.

One can only hope that not only will the bill not be reauthorized, but that the issue will generate campaign discussion as to why we even need a Department of Education at the federal level. While our educators and bureaucrats see money coming from the department as "manna from Heaven", it is nothing more than the return of our hard earned (and paid) tax dollars after it has supported a fat, uncaring bureaucracy that simply launders it, takes out the overhead to support their operation, and then returns it disproportionately to the states (if they behave--as judged by those same bureaucrats) with lots of strings attached. Do any of you believe for a moment that Nebraska or your state gets back anywhere close to what they send in tax support to the Department of Education?

Gosh, maybe the Democrats (maybe not for the right reasons) and Senator Hagel and others (for the right reasons) are correct on killing this disaster. See the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/23/us/politics/23child.html?_r=2&hp=&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1198422940-OZz/ZQoytIUvUhG6D28g5w&pagewanted=print

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas -- A prayer and a greeting

God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice
;the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
the all of Christmas, which is Christ.
- Wilda English

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas -- More thoughts from the Patriot

THE FOUNDATION: RELIGION AND MORALITY
“Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness.” —Samuel Adams
INSIGHT
“Christmas casts its glow upon us, as it does every year. And it reminds us that we need not feel lonely because we are loved, loved with the greatest love there has ever been or ever will be.” —Ronald Reagan

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” —Roy L. Smith “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” —Calvin Coolidge

“Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream... the incarnation of perfect love.” —Lucinda Franks

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” —Charles Dickens
UPRIGHT
“At the summit of national power, politicians and bureaucrats are terrified at the idea of endorsing the religious views of the majority of Americans. Our First Amendment forbids the establishment of a state religion, but many of our governing elites are taking it a step further, outlawing its very existence from the public conversation.” —L. Brent Bozell

“It’s two centuries since the passage of the First Amendment, and our presidential candidates still cannot distinguish establishment from free exercise.” —Charles Krauthammer

“The leftist argument against religious Americans’ ‘injection of religion into politics’ is merely its way of trying to keep only the secular and religious left in the political arena—and the religious right, primarily evangelical Christians, out.” —Dennis Prager

“The true spirit of Christmas is ‘gratitude.’ No matter how much we have, or how little, or how much we have lost or been taken advantage of, gratitude is the answer... Let everyone now spend a few minutes writing down a list titled ‘I am grateful for...’ The gift of Christmas will come for you, even if you think you have nothing to give.” —David Usher

“It’s common, around this time of year, to hear people grumble about Christmas being ‘too commercial.’ They have a point, of course. It’s easy to get so caught up in the buying frenzy that we forget why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. But let’s not sell ourselves short. The observance of Jesus’ birth also inspires countless acts of kindness and generosity.” —Rebecca Hagelin

The Farm Bill -- Congress Rises to Maintain the Status Quo

Along with the Omnibus "Everybody but the taxpayer wins" bill passed by the House and Senate this last week and now nearing the President's desk, the Senate passed a "Farm Bill" this week that insures the status quo. It will go to the House and probably end up as the "easy" way out of dealing with a difficult issue. While the editor is no fan of the World Herald or of Chuck Hagel in some regards, both opposed what the Senate did and for good reason. You might want to check out the following article from Taxpayers For Common Sense:
http://by110w.bay110.mail.live.com/mail/ReadMessageLight.aspx?FolderID=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001&InboxSortAscending=False&InboxSortBy=Date&Action=MoveMessage&ReadMessageId=f75ae77c-8e64-4139-9212-70fd16dfcc79&n=1576927880&MoveToFolderId=679c4341-1361-4f44-9e22-69cfc985e3e1

One need not wonder much that important issues like Social Security and Medicare can't be addressed when relatively straight forward issues such as agricultural reform can't be tackled by our political leadership on either side of the aisle.

Planned Parenthood Christmas

Being unabashedly Pro Life, the editor could not help but be impressed with the Catholic League's response to Planned Parenthood's annual Christmas card and message. Accordingly, you might enjoy the league's missive:

PLANNED PARENTHOOD’S IDEA OF CHRISTMAS
As it does every Christmas season, Planned Parenthood e-mails its supporters a Christmas card titled, “Choice on Earth.” This year it has an accompanying video on “Moments that inspired us in 2007.” One of the highlights of the year is the opening of a new clinic in Aurora, Illinois.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue ripped into this today:
“Planned Parenthood says it stands for choice. So do serial killers and rapists. Jeffrey Dahmer believed in choice as well. Choice, of course, carries no moral quotient by itself—it must have an object. And the object of choice that Planned Parenthood prizes is killing kids in utero. But to admit this is to admit to a moral monstrosity. Which explains why it prefers to talk about a woman’s ‘right to choose,’ without ever finishing the sentence.

“The introductory statement to the video that is found on its website says, ‘It’s been quite a year for Planned Parenthood and the women, men and families that we serve.’ Notice that they didn’t mention women, men and children. That’s because the kids are a problem.
“But not just any kids. The kids of white people are not a problem—it’s the kids of minorities that exercise Planned Parenthood. Founded for racist reasons—African Americans were the original problem—Planned Parenthood has now evolved into fixing another problem: Latinos. That’s why it set up its spanking new clinic in Aurora, a town that is heavily Latino.
“If Planned Parenthood needs to rip off some special day in the calendar in order to sell its sick message, let it pick some day other than Christmas. We recommend Day of the Dead.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas -- Quotes Courtesy of the Patriot

It's that time of year ... when every public nativity scene is under attack
THE FOUNDATION: RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
“The liberty enjoyed by the people of these states of worshiping Almighty God agreeably to their conscience, is not only among the choicest of their blessings, but also of their rights.” —George Washington
CULTURE
“The Christmas season is upon us, which means it’s that special time of year for the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State to make sure no wayward city council will allow a whiff of frankincense on government property. They must send out direct-mail fundraising letters asking ‘Help Us Crush a Creche at Christmas!’ The Christmas season is also that time of year when the business world implores us to consider the material as more important than the spiritual, all in the spirit of ‘the holidays.’ So we celebrate the arrival on Christmas Day of iPods and DVDs... Then again, maybe this is precisely the kind of seasonal silliness that causes the Christian faithful to shut out the noise and contemplate the real nativity scene and its eternal promise.” —Brent Bozell
THE GIPPER
“The first Christmas was a time of family joy for Joseph and Mary and the child Jesus. Although they had made a long journey to reach Bethlehem and were lodged in humble surroundings, they knew that the child Mary bore was a gift not to them alone, but to all mankind. The shepherds who gathered around the manger, and the wise men who traveled from the East to honor the King of Kings, knew that the star above Bethlehem was a guide not only for the pilgrims of that day, but for those in every age seeking the peace which passes understanding. An early American hymn sang of the Christ-child that ‘this richest babe comes poor in being, more pearled within than to the seeing.’ More than any gift or toy, ornament or tree, let us resolve that this Christmas shall be, like that first Christmas, a celebration of interior treasures.” —Ronald Reagan

The Disappearing Fence

While the writer tends to be a little cynical of government should be no surprise. Michelle Malkin has an excellent editorial today dealing with the Incredible Shrinking Boarder Fence. While many of us may have different thoughts on how best to preserve the integrity of our boarders and prevent illegal immigrants and terrorists from coming to our great nation, one thing seems certain, and that is that our Congress simply can't be trusted to do what it tells us it will do (or in this case with a bill passed in 2006, has done). Read her editorial and try not to shake your head in disgust or dismay.http://www.gopusa.com/commentary/mmalkin/2007/mm_1219p.shtml

Christmas -- A few thoughts from the Patriot

Christmas --A few thoughts from the Patriot
THE FOUNDATION: RELIGIOUS LIBERTY“Let the pulpit resound with the doctrine and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear of the dignity of man’s nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God.” —John Adams

IChThUS IMPRIMIS“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.” —Isaiah 11:1-5

THE GIPPER“The Nativity story of nearly twenty centuries ago is known by all faiths as a hymn to the brotherhood of man. For Christians, it is the fulfillment of age-old prophecies and the reaffirmation of God’s great love for all of us. Through a generous Heavenly Father’s gift of His Son, hope and compassion entered a world weary with fear and despair and changed it for all time. On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ with prayer, feasting, and great merriment. But, most of all, we experience it in our hearts. For, more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate. It is present when men of any creed bring love and understanding to the hearts of their fellow man. The feeling is seen in the wondrous faces of children and in the hopeful eyes of the aged. It overflows the hearts of cheerful givers and the souls of the caring. And it is reflected in the brilliant colors, joyful sounds, and beauty of the winter season. Let us resolve to honor this spirit of Christmas and strive to keep it throughout the year.” —Ronald Reagan

INSIGHT“The concerted effort to minimize Christmas has resulted in it being our national Happy Holiday holiday. The Christmas season is now the holiday season. Christmas parties are now holiday parties. Christmas is a time for giving and receiving presents and in many homes, nothing more. Who is this fellow, Jesus Christ, anyway?” —Lyn Nofziger

RE: THE LEFT“Democrats who supported a House resolution to honor Ramadan voted against a similar resolution to honor Christmas and Christianity... 18 Democrats voted ‘nay’ or ‘present’ on a resolution to ‘recognize the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.’ An eagle-eyed Republican House staffer points out that those same members, with one exception, voted to ‘recognize the commencement of Ramadan,’ a Muslim religious observance in October. Nine Democrats voted against the Christmas resolution. They are: Rep. Gary Ackerman (N.Y.), Rep. Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), Rep. Diane DeGette (Colo.), Rep. Alcee Hastings (Fla.), Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.), Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.), Rep. Robert Scott (Va.), Rep. Pete Stark (Calif.) and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (Calif.). Another nine Democrats chose to vote ‘present.’ They are: Rep. Hon Conyers (Mich.), Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.), Rep. Rush Holt (N.Y.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), Rep. Peter Welch (Vt.) and Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.) Each of them supported the Ramadan resolution except for Rep. Lee, who did not vote.” —Amanda Carpenter

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hopes Brighten for the GOP in 2008

It's easy to get down about the future of the GOP come next November, but at least things aren't quite as dim looking as they were earlier. You might want to read Chris Cillizza's "Fix" article on the prospects for the GOP in the senate next year:

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/thefix/2007/12/senate_talk_of_60_fades.html?nav=rss_blog

Also, if you are interested in looking at more detail in the House and Senate races, check out:
http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=28

A Christmas Tree with Earmarks rather than decorations -- PJM

Will, the Senate and Congress continue their race to get home for Christmas (Can we say that word legally anymore?) by apparently coming up with a omnibus budget bill they think the President can sign. Of course, like Santa Claus (the secular symbol of giving), they have loaded up their sleighs with all kinds of goodies for their constituents--approximately 9000. By the time the Senate acts on it and sends it back to Nancy Pelosi (who will present it but not vote for it), it will contain unrestricted funding for the war efforts so, unfortunately, the President will probably sign it rather than taking the courageous step of vetoing and perhaps forcing the congress to pass a one year continuing budget resolution which would ensure no growth in government and none of those 9000 earmarks. Below are some links to some articles on the subject that are worth your reading. Once, we get past the earmark issue and the budget we'll attempt to find more stimulating topics.http://thehill.com/index2.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=70359&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=70

A little more on earmarks. One of our faithful readers suggested that you might be interested in Senator Tom Coburn's article on earmarks, "Who's afraid of Competition?" It points to the folly of earmarks attached to the defense appropriations bill. Check it out at: http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MTc1NzYxMTM5ZmIwMzZjNzc1Zjc1ZjA4ODkyMmEzMTc=

Monday, December 17, 2007

Earmarks (Pork) and the Budget

It the home stretch and those capable senators and congressmen back in the Capitol City want to get home in time to put presents under their trees --- and those of their constituents so a budget deal is in the works to finance some 12,000 earmarks and put through an omnibus budget bill. You might want to check out Robert Novak's column on this. It will make you just a little cynical if not angry:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/printpage/?url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/12/a_republican_retreat.html

Christmas Cards -- Don't Forget the ACLU

If you haven't read the article about Barbara Walters and the President's Christmas Card (below) you should. But in the spirit of Christmas it isn't too late to wish our friends at the American Civil Liberties Union a Merry Christmas. Of course, they hate Christmas so your Christmas card (especially a religious one) in an envelope that possibly could contain a check for their "valuable" operations would make them take the time to open your card and hopefully those of thousands of others in search of a few dollars to continue their "valuable" operations. You can mail your card to them at: ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor New York, NY 10004 Come on, get in the spirit!

Philadelphia -- English Cheesesteaks and Hate Crimes

This is great! Just when yours truly thought he was through with Philadelphia and the eviction of the poor Boy Scouts of America, now he finds that the City of Brotherly Love is going to persecute a poor cheesesteak restaurant owner for putting up a sign at his counter saying "order in English". Of course the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations finds that this is close to a hate crime and similar to the signs of the 60's and before that said "white only". Seems to the author that in order to even become a citizen of the United States one has to have the ability to read (and take a test in) English. Poor Geno: You might want to write a letter of support to him or make sure you visit his business next time you visit the the "City of Brotherly Love":
Geno's Steaks
http://www.genosteaks.com/
1219 S 9th StPhiladelphia, PA 19147
(215) 389-0659
Of course, you might also want to contact The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations and let them know what you think of this or even tell them you might not want to visit their fair city:
Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations
34 S. 11th Street, 6th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215-686-4670Fax: 215-686-4684TTY: 215-686-3237
Website: http://www.phila.gov/
For the article, see: http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,316939,00.html

Christmas Cards -- The President and Our Governor

Okay, it's that time of year and we all get various types of Christmas, holiday, Chanukah (I won't mention that holiday founded by a prisoner back in the early 70's) cards. Well, it seems Babs Wawa (Barbra Walters) is offended that President Bush cared enough to send her a Christmas Card that quotes Scripture and wishes her a Merry Christmas (the editor got his card, too). How could he, the President of the United States commit such a dastardly act? Well, I for one am thankful we have a President that believes in the meaning of Christmas and isn't afraid to express it with his Christmas Card--which by the way is not paid for by the federal government. Seems to me that this nation was "founded under God" and might be better off if we all had a little more Christmas spirit and a little less commercialism. For the article see: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/dec/07121403.html

By the way, congratulations to Governor Heineman who also is gutsy enough to send out a real Christmas card that also quotes Scripture. You may not know this but last year's tally of cards send by governors across the country showed that about only 8, as the writer recalls, even used the word Christmas in them. Oh, and by the way, Governor Heineman paid for his card, too!

Look for more comments about Christmas throughout the week.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Bill of Rights

Tomorrow is the 216th anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights. With that said, the Patriot offers some interesting historical background and comments. It's worthwhile reading. Check it out at: http://by110w.bay110.mail.live.com/mail/ReadMessageLight.aspx?Aux=4%7c0%7c8CA0C81F52C9470%7c&FolderID=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001&InboxSortAscending=False&InboxSortBy=Date&ReadMessageId=9a863fb5-90e3-468d-8d14-7dcf16ba0cff&n=119722642

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

From the Editorial Page of the Wall Street Journal

“After three days of screaming headlines about the CIA destroying videotapes in 2005 of the ‘harsh’ interrogation of two terrorists, it now comes to light that in 2002 key members of Congress were fully briefed by the CIA about those interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. One member of that Congressional delegation was the future House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi... Porter Goss, the former chair of the House Intelligence Committee who later served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006 is explicit about what happened in these meetings: ‘Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing. And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement.’ In all, the CIA provided Congress with some 30 briefings on waterboarding before it became a public issue... One certainly may hold as abhorrent the idea of aggressively interrogating any terrorists ever, either for fear of what they might do to our people, as John McCain does, or because one thinks this violates our values. What one may not do—at least not if one wants the system to function—is assent to such a policy in 2002 and then, when the policy is made public, put up the pretense that one is ‘shocked’ and appalled to learn of it. This is bad faith.” —The Wall Street Journal

Earmarks and Republicans

Since the Objective Conservative has criticized House Majority Leader Hoyer and "farmer Ben" Nelson on earmarks lately, it wouldn't be right not to put some well-deserved blame on such as Republican Mitch McConnell who seems to be a bit ambiguous about earmarks, particularly since he has made every effort to send his share of pork back home to Kentucky. Even when given an opportunity to hold Democratic leadership to a possibility of eliminating all earmarks, McConnell waivers. See: http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=5&docID=news-000002640445

Monday, December 10, 2007

Earmarks -- Fiscal and Ethical Issues

Last week we 'discussed" Ben Nelson's earmark for the Center for Drought Control and among other things noted that the director of that entity didn't know what he would use the $25 million grant (manna from D.C.) for. Well, a look at today's Washington Post story about House Democrat Majority leader Hoyer ought to infuriate all. First, consider that he has authored $96 million in earmarks to take care of his home state of Maryland. Among his current batch of earmarks is a proposed grant of $450,000 to a foundation whose director isn't sure what he will do with the money (perhaps I should apply for such a grant. I'm not sure what I would do with it, but then once I had the money I could probably spend it on something). Worse yet the same entity that is to receive the funds had a grant in prior years and has made no report on how the funds were used or how successful they were at doing what they were supposed to do with them, what ever that was. On top of that it seems the director and others in the foundation have given Hoyer $31,000 in political contributions over the last couple of cycles! Read the story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/09/AR2007120901640_pf.html

While tax payers and citizens are often given the local examples of how wonderful grants are, they would be well advised to consider the fact that they seldom, especially in Nebraska, come close to getting their proportionate slice of the pie. Further, everyone would be better off it the money funding these earmarks and some of the departments of government as well (can you say department of education?) were never collected and taxes were reduced by a pro-rated amount.

A matter of Values -- Dogs vs Humans

CNN Breaking New Just In: " Ex-NFL star Michael Vick sentenced to 23 months in prison for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy."

While the editor may or may not be a dog lover, there seems to be something wrong when Michael Vick gets 23 months in jail for his part in a "dogfighting conspiracy" and yet the American public has the right to abort 1.5 million lives a year. Seems equally ridiculous that the PETA folks and some crazy New York City councilman are concerned about a bunch of horses that draw carriages when thousands of abortions occur there weekly.

Friday, December 7, 2007

If You Still Think the Sky is Falling -- PJM

If you still think the sky is falling you might want to read the article by three folks from the American Enterprise Institute. It is a rather thorough critique of the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) report on what you may or may not expect 100 years from now. Really, this is worthwhile:

http://by110w.bay110.mail.live.com/mail/ReadMessageLight.aspx?Action=DeleteMessage&FolderID=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001&InboxSortAscending=False&InboxSortBy=Date&ReadMessageId=80b34b52-2d20-4a99-88d2-fa90ec0d5b6d&n=1869370615

Down with No Child Left Behind and The Department of Education -- PJM

This just happens to be about the best article on the role of the Federal government in education that I have come across. It comes from the Cato foundation so expect a very libertarian approach. I think after you read it you will not only question why we should renew No Child Left Behind, but also question why we need or should even consider having the federal government involved in education. By the way, while I note that the Objective Conservative took a shot at Senator Hagel yesterday, one should at least acknowledge that he voted against the original No Child Left Behind bill and hopefully will oppose its extension. http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=8793

R-U-M-O-R-M-I-L-L

Tanya Cook (D)is planning to run for Legislative District 13 seat of Lowen Kruse. Kurt Geshwender (R), long-time real estate broker is already actively campaigning for this seat

Brenda Counsel (D) will announce her bid for Legislative District 11 seat now held by term-limited Ernie Chambers (I). Even Brenda will be a blessing here after 30 years of Ernie.

But don't say good-bye to Ernie because he no doubt will be replacing his meager earnings as a state senator with those from serving on the soon to be elected/appointed Learning Community Board. Can't let any reference to the Learning Community go without saying that it is just another example of government gone amiss and an extra, bureaucratic layer of government. Not only shouldn't it exist, it certainly shouldn't include Sarpy County. Thank goodness, it's primary architect, Ron Raikes (I) will also be gone after next year.

Tawanna Black (D) is planning to run for City Council, District 2. A challenge to Frank Brown (D)?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Another Government Bailout

Well, it's Christmas and Uncle Sugar and every presidential want-t0-be wants to make sure that the sub-prime mortgage market doesn't create problems for those poor innocent folks who couldn't read their mortgage documents or for those investors who are faced with non-performing loans (investments) so why not just freeze those rates or as Hillary wants invest $5 billion in another solution?

Still can't find this authority in the Constitution, but what does that matter. By the way when did the federal government get the power to unilaterally change contract terms. Gosh, if it can expand on that authority (power) how much more can it do for us?

As old Ev Dirksen said, "a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money" The Objective Conservative suggests you read the referenced article from Dick Armey and the Freedom Foundation before getting on the Bail-Out Band Wagon:

http://www.freedomworks.org/processor/printer.php?issue_id=2921

The World-Herald Promotes Ben Nelson's Earmarks -- Speaks with two tongues

On November 21, the Objective Conservative (see blog of that day) took on Ben Nelson for wanting to earmark $25 million dollars to the university's Water Center and National Drought Mitigation Center. Given a current annual budget of $2.25 million, a $5 million annual increase might be considered hefty especially since its director wasn't even sure what he would do with the money. (Maybe Harvey Perlman could funnel it back for a couple of contract buyouts). In any event, the Friday, November 30, World-Herald editorial page endorsed "farmer Ben's" idea because the "lack of funding has compelled the center to turn away requests by state governments and others to hold workshops on drought planning and mitigation". Please, Senator Colburn, will you intervene?

What makes the World-Herald's endorsement all the more amusing is their editorial immediately below, "Farm-bill civics lessons", where in they take the Bush administration to task on "budget gimmicks" noting, "the Bush administration pathetically, is more than six years late in coming around to forcefully favoring budget discipline." Guess the thrust of the WH is okay if Ben wants it but criticize Bush if he let's him have it.

PA Boy Scouts to be Evicted

In case you haven't followed earlier Objective Conservative Blogs, it is now official that the Philadelphia Boy Scouts will be evicted. The Objective Conservative congratulates them for standing their ground--even if they are about to be removed from it literally. As stated before, however, the Objective Conservative wonders why any government should provide free space for any non-government entity. See link below or prior posts: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/06/us/06scouts.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print

Another Point of View on Iran's Nuclear Capabilities

With all the media and anti-Bushies carrying on about Iran and the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's nuclear capabilities you might wish to read the following article by John Bolton, former Ambassador to the U.N., member of the Bush administration and now Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. One might want to ask one self whom does he trust, i.e., the United Nations, the National Security staff or John Bolton. To many, John Bolton is more credible.

http://www.aei.org/include/pub_print.asp?pubID=27201

To be fair and balanced, you can also check out the article in today's New York Times which isn't quite as "left-oriented" as one might anticipate:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/06/world/middleeast/06intel.html?_r=1&th=&oref=slogin&emc=th&pagewanted=print

Objective Conservative's Man of the Month -- Senator Colburn --Ed.

Since columnist PJM brought it up (see article directly below), The Objective Conservative wants to recognize Senator Tom Colburn (R-OK) as its Man of the Month. Colburn is the kind of senator Nebraskans would be lucky to elect to fill Chuck Hagel's shoes. It should be noted that while Hagel was regarded as "off the farm" by most Nebraskans on issues of immigration, the war in Iraq and George Bush (In fact, Hagel's comments last week that "I have to say this is one of the most arrogant, incompetent administrations I ever seen or ever read about" were simply outrageous!), he has generally opposed earmarks and government intrusion into business. Colburn has advised fellow senators that there will be no "hotlining" of earmark bloated spending bills before senators close the books on a less than stellar year of achievement. If you are not familiar with what "hotlining" is, check out this article and the reason that Senator Colburn is our Man of the Month.
http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=5&docID=news-000002636829

Senator Colburn, Federal Dollars, Swiming pools and local building codes -- PJM

This article from the Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/30/AR2007113002186_pf.html , will certainly brand me as just as callous as poor Senator Tom Colburn. Yes, it's terrible that a child should drown because of poorly made products and it seems to me that there are a lot of trial lawyers that would be more than happy to sue the manufacturers or builders of such products. Senator Colburn, a hero to those who want to curtail government waste and earmarks, is the bad guy here because he opposes the federal government dictating/persuading changes to local building codes by federal grants. In other words, to accomplish something the federal government really has no domain over (at least according to the 10th Amendment), it will dish out grants to states and local entities to make changes that responsible local governments and legislators should be doing on their own, with local tax dollars if needed. What's falling out of the sky is not manna from Washington but rather your tax dollars.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Can Conservatives Come Back -- Comeback by David Frum

David Frum of the American Enterprise Institute has written a new book conservatives may wish to invest in. This from AEI:

Click here to read a chapter of Comeback as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

Not in a generation has conservatism been in as much trouble as it is at the end of the Bush years. A majority of Americans say the country is "on the wrong track." Voters prefer Democrats over Republicans on almost every issue, including taxes. The married, the middle-class, the native-born are dwindling as a share of the population, while Democratic blocs are rising. A generation of young people has turned its back on the Republican party.Too many conservatives and Republicans have shut their eyes to negative trends.

David Frum offers answers. Frum says that the ideas that won elections for conservatives in the 1980s have done their job. Republicans can no longer win elections on taxes, guns, and promises to restore traditional values. It's time now for a new approach, including:
A conservative commitment to make private-sector health insurance available to every American
Lower taxes on savings and investment financed by higher taxes on energy and pollution
Federal policies to encourage larger families
Major reductions in unskilled immigration
A genuinely compassionate conservatism, including a conservative campaign for prison reform and government action against the public health disaster of obesity
A new conservative environmentalism that promotes nuclear power in place of coal and oil
Higher ethical standards inside the conservative movement and the Republican party
A renewed commitment to expand and rebuild the armed forces of the United States--to crush terrorism--and get ready for the coming challenge from China

Frum's previous bestselling books have earned accolades for their courage and creativity from liberals and conservatives alike. Today, with the conservative movement and the Republican Party facing their greatest danger since Watergate, Frum has again stepped forward with new ideas to take conservatism--and America--into a new century of greatness.
David Frum is a resident fellow at AEI.

Agriculture, bad loans and the Senate race -- Ed.

An article in today's Washington Post may create an issue for former USDA chief Mike Johanns should Tony Raimondo or a viable Democrat oppose him. Seems the U.S.D.A. has guaranteed billions of dollars of loans with what could be argued as poor oversight and management. Over $1.6 billion lost on loans that were to promote economic development and create jobs only the money went for movie theaters and to hire illegals and non-Americans. The bottom line here is that government continues to do things on a national level that it has no right (under the constitution) or justifiable reason to do.

Check out the site:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/04/AR2007120401958.html?wpisrc=newsletter

Congress on Vacation

Congress is back at work for a few days and the President has warned them that they have a lot to do before Christmas Recess. With that in mind, the Objective Conservative thought you might find "Uncle Jay's" explanation of congresional recesses/vacations instructive. Just click on the screen.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Study Al Gore could love -- Energy Usage and Divorce

This one is just too good. It might give Al Gore something to write a new book about or to do a new academy award, Pulitzer Price documentary about. A study that shows divorced couples use more energy than those who marry or co-habitate. Amazing that it took a university study, no doubt funded by federal grants and taxpayers to tell us that two people living in separate abodes use more energy than two living together. When will it end? See link below:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/03/AR2007120301797_pf.html

Theme Parks & the Federal Government -- PJM

You might want to check out the article on Theme and Amusement Parks(see link below). Not that these are a big issue on the radar when Social Security and Medicare are going broke, when funding for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan is being threatened, when appropriations bills aren't being passed and when there is a fight over the SCHIP and a new energy bill. What seems to be important is the fact that here you once again have the federal government, through our congress, trying to control at a federal level what is not its domain but rather that of the states'. After all, every problem has a federal solution.

See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/03/AR2007120302091_pf.html

Democrat Senate Candidate

On the verge of President Bush's visit to Nebraska for the mega-buck fundraiser for Johanns, Tony Raimondo may be sending a message. Beating the deadline to re register for a potential run against Mike Johanns for the U.S. Senate race, Raimondo, of Behlen Manufacturing, has changed his political registration from Republican to Democrat. If Raimondo wanted to run for the senate without facing a primary battle he had to change his party registration by December 7th. Now, you can bet that Ben Nelson and the whole national Democrat party will be waiting anxiously for a formal announcement. Although candidate Johanns just spent time visiting Tony at his home within the last couple of weeks, it appears that Tony wasn't swayed by Johanns' visit to stay out of a potential run by remaining Republican. If in fact Tony files, the political landscape for the senate race changes greatly. Although Nebraska Democrats may not need another "Ben Nelson", they'd do all they could to support Tony and the national party would bring in big bucks in hope of getting that one seat that might make the Senate filibuster proof.

Monday, December 3, 2007

GLOBAL WARMING -- The Sky is Falling --PJM

Another broken promise by this authour, but he just can't contain his lack of enthusiasm for mandatory caps on carbon emissions and the issue of global warming. Last month many of our country's finest governors met to address this issue (see http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/15/washington/15climate.html). And, this week esteemed leaders from the United Nations will be meeting to bash the U.S. for not signing the Kyoto Treaty and for Bush's intentions to stay away from their solutions until his term in office expires (see http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/world/asia/03bali.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=print). Of course, none of the signatories of the treaty have lived up to their promises and as mentioned before India and China aren't required to do anything as they approach the point of putting more pollution into the atmosphere than does the United States.

If this is so important to these individual states, why don't they just act individually to pass these caps and then work out reciprocal agreements with other states? Maybe because they don't want to be at a disadvantage to states that don't pass the cap legislation? So, have uncle sugar do it so all states are equal, right? Will what happens when uncle sugar does it and other countries don't, or don't abide by the same rules? Kind of like Unilateral Disarmament. In the long run, it will just cost more American jobs while China and India continue fueling their economies without regard to carbon emissions. And, remember, man is only responsible for about 6 or 7% of those greenhouse gases anyway. Net effect: China and India and developing countries grow their economies and jobs while we give up jobs, hurt our economy and have minimal impact on, yes--global warming.

More Rumors -- Editor

Jon Bruning

Certainly sounds like Jon Bruning was "promised" something by the former Lincoln national committeeman and others who helped orchestrate his withdrawal from the senate race and his endorsement of Johanns. Could it be that he was promised party support in a run for governor after Heineman finishes up in 2014? That's a long way away. Hope Jon got it in writing because one can only imagine who else among his Republican peers might be interested in that job at that point. Ricketts? Osborn (Shane)? Sheehy? Terry? Smith? Fortenberry? Foley? And what if Nelson doesn't run for re-election in 2012 (His wife wouldn't be happy with him)? Same names, same promises. PROMISES ARE EASILY FORGOTTEN BY POLITICIANS.

PA Boy Scouts reach deadline (continued)

Will the deadline for the P.A. Boy Scouts to change their attitude officially toward gays has come and gone and it looks like they still intend to be affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America instead of caving to Philadelphia City Hall. No Doubt, the scouts in P.A. will be looking for a different home soon. See Conservative Blog of November 21 for more on this issue or check out today's article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/02/AR2007120201896_pf.html

While one respects the Boy Scouts for standing up to their principles, one must also ask why they or any organization should expect a free ride from government?

Republicans and Mental Health

CETON, NJ -- Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats or independents to rate their mental health as excellent, according to data from the last four November Gallup Health and Healthcare polls. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans report having excellent mental health, compared to 43% of independents and 38% of Democrats. This relationship between party identification and reports of excellent mental health persists even within categories of income, age, gender, church attendance, and education.

The basic data -- based on an aggregated sample of more than 4,000 interviews conducted since 2004 -- are straightforward. The differences are quite significant, as can be seen. While Democrats are slightly less likely to report excellent mental health than are independents, the big distinctions in these data are the differences between Republicans and everyone else.
One could be quick to assume that these differences are based on the underlying demographic and socioeconomic patterns related to party identification in America today. A recent Gallup report (see "Strong Relationship Between Income and Mental Health" in Related Items) reviewed these mental health data more generally, and found that men, those with higher incomes, those with higher education levels, and whites are more likely than others to report excellent mental health. Some of these patterns describe characteristics of Republicans, of course.

For lots more data and charts, see:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/102943/Republicans-Report-Much-Better-Mental-Health-Than-Others.aspx?version=print