What the Decline of a Great Nation Looks Like

From NYTimes.com:

On the set of “Julie & Julia,” [the upcoming movie about a woman inspired to cook...and write about it...by Julia Child] the lobsters posed a special challenge. Ms. Adams appears to plunge two live lobsters into a pot of steaming water. The steam is actually a cool mist, and just off camera representatives from the American Humane Association monitored the creatures’ health. (emphasis added)

Lobsters are food for goodness sake. They're not people. They're not some kind of higher beings. They are not an endangered species. They're supposed to be boiled...and eaten with drawn butter. What a bunch of wimps we are rapidly becoming.


Most Radical Anti-Life Administration Ever

The man President Obama has appointed as his chief science advisor has some rather interesting views about when life begins (via Patterico). In a 1973 book John Holdren co-authored with noted pro-abortion anti-humanity freak Paul Ehrlich, we find this gem:

“The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food during the crucial early years after birth, will ultimately develop into a human being,” John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote in Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions.
The specific passage expressing the authors’ view that a baby “will ultimately develop into a human being” is on page 235 in chapter 8 of the book, which is titled “Population Limitation.”

At the time the book was written, the Supreme Court had not yet issued its Roe v. Wade decision, and the passage in question was part of a subsection of the “Population Limitation” chapter that argued for legalized abortion.”

This is the guy advising President Obama on your health care (hint: they insist on including abortion), global warming (not), and other key issues that matter to our lives. This is what the President thinks normal, mainstream science looks and sounds like. I would say God help us, but as noted before in this space, we are suffering a judgment we brought down on our own heads. Perhaps God forgive us would be a more apt expression. And maybe someday, with some proper intellectual guidance, Mr. Obama will develop into a leader who can steer our country aright...but I wouldn't hold my breath on that one if I were you.


The Dumbest Thing a Politician Said This Week

It's very difficult to achieve this honor because so many politicians say so many dumb things so often. But the prize this week must go to South Dakota Senator Kent Conrad who takes the prize for this statement regarding the health care "reform" process making its way through Congress.

"There are not the votes for Democrats to do this just on our side of the aisle. It is not possible and perhaps not desirable either," Conrad said on ABC's "This Week."

If you haven't counted lately, there are sixty Democrats in the Senate. Even if all the Republicans voted in lockstep (highly unlikely) there votes are indeed there "just on [his] side of the aisle." Wonder what he's trying to hide?

"Jolting" Joe Biden

From Jonathan Adler at the Corner: Today Vice President Joe Biden argues that the stimulus bill is misunderstood. He writes [in a New York Times editorial]: "the act was intended to provide steady support for our economy over an extended period — not a jolt that would last only a few months." Yet as Mark Silva reports:

As recently as June, at a roundtable in New York, Biden called the Recovery Act "an initial big jolt to give the economy a real head start.''

In March, the vice president said ''the Recovery Act, as we call it, provides a necessary jolt to our economy to implement what we refer as 'shovel-ready' projects.''

If Blanche DuBois relied on the kindness of strangers, "Jolting" Joe Biden must rely on the short memories of voters. But this sort of loose acquaintance with the truth is nothing new for Mr. "I have a much higher IQ than you" Biden. In fact he calls nothing to mind so much as this classic from the old MGM musical days:

How could you believe me when I said "I Love You"
When you know I've been a liar all my life?
I've had that reputation since I was a youth -
You must have been insane to think I'd ever tell the truth.
How could you believe me when I said we'd marry,
When you know I'd rather die than have a wife?
I know I said, "I'll make you mine,"
But who would know that you would go for that old line?
How could you believe me when I said "I Love You"
When you know I've been a liar, a good for nothing liar,
All my good for nothin' life?

Fred Astaire, from Royal Wedding (Lerner and Lane)


Does Obama Know Any Real Doctors?

Yes, I know his wife "worked" at a hospital (getting her salary doubled after then Senator Obama pushed through millions in earmarks), but reading his words from tonight's press conference...I wasn't about to watch it...football season is only seven weeks away and I don't want to replace my television set...I wonder if he knows any real practicing physicians. The President said:

"Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that's out there. So if they're looking and you come in and you've got a bad sore throat or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, "You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid's tonsils out."

There may be some doctor somewhere who does that, but none of the ones I know--and we've seen way too many the past few years--are performing unnecessary work just for the sake of money. The President's health care plan is based on lies, false assumptions, misleading descriptions and unsupported wishes. I devoutly hope that it fails in Congress.


A Red Letter Day

Today Rhonda's hair was long enough to put in a pony tail! It's sort of a Shetland pony tail, but it still counts! She's come such a long way since chemo, and we're rejoicing in the small victories too.


A Short Question for NASA

Forty years ago today, Neil Armstrong took "one small step." He managed to do that on a rocket with computers less powerful than my cell phone and without the benefit of modern materials and construction techniques. So why can't we do it today? We're not just not making progress, we're actively going backward. When the (poorly designed from the very beginning) space shuttle is retired next year, we will have no effective space program.

For a seven year old kid who sat up for what seemed like forever waiting for something to happen as we watched the live broadcast of the first moon walk, it's incomprehensible that we've retreated from that vision. I'm not a big JFK fan, but the Apollo program to send a man to the moon was both a stroke of genius and a boon to our nation. Somebody needs to get on the ball and either get NASA back to what it used to be, or else get it out of the way and let private enterprise do the job. This is a sad anniversary for me because of how we have failed to advance from the 1960s. Shame on us.


A Sad Anniversary

Forty years ago today, Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car off the bridge at Chappaquidick, ending the life of Mary Jo Kopechne. In a more just world, he would have paid for his crime and his political career would have ended, but he was a Kennedy and it was Massachusetts, and he got his driver's license suspended. The position in which Kopechne's body was found indicated that she was alive after the wreck...and died a slow and agonizing death that almost certainly could have been prevented had Kennedy sought immediate help. But he was more concerned with saving his own political career than with her life. It's worth remembering that act of cowardice and self-preservation as he is praised as the "lion of the Senate." Lying of the Senate would be closer to the truth. What a despicable excuse for a man.

As the old bumper sticker put it, Ted Kennedy's car killed more people than Three Mile Island.

Too Soon To Judge the Stimulus Package

Much debate has raged over the stimulus package rammed through Congress mostly unread in the opening days of the Obama Administration. "It's working," the President declared recently. But given that the promise was the stimulus would hold unemployment to 8% and it's already reached 9.5% skeptics have naturally pointed out the discrepancy. The problem with assessing whether the stimulus plan works is that you first must understand what it's purpose is.

When it was being proposed and (rapidly) debated in Congress, conservatives pointed out that it was a quick fix for anything because the spending was backloaded--by design, most of the money was to be spent in 2010 or later. For all the talk of "shovel-ready projects" and the urgency to pass it immediately, there had to be another purpose. I think the key is found in the number 2010. The stimulus package had a major purpose and a large side benefit. The side benefit was to reward Democratic constituencies (something on which much Republican ire focused) but that was not the main design. The main purpose of the stimulus package was to help Democrats win in the 2010 election.

We won't be able to judge whether the stimulus "worked" until those results are in. The stimulus as passed was never going to make much immediate impact on the economy. And by virtue of the fact that it only stimulates growth of government and bureaucracy rather than private enterprise it was never going to create real wealth and prosperity. The remainder of this year is going to be tough. Unemployment will almost certainly top 10% by this fall and the housing market continues to be an anchor dragging the entire economy down.

The real question will be whether the economy begins to recover before mid-2010. If it does (no thanks to the stimulus, but the Mainly Socialist Media will give all credit to The One anyway if it does...and probably try hard to cover for him if it doesn't) then the GOP will sink even further. If there is no recovery, the shoe will be on the other foot. For a preview of what an election in a bad economy will look like next year, simply look at the polling data for this year's races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey. Obama carried both states--VA was close and NJ was a blowout. But the Republicans are polling way ahead in both races.

Obama has staked a lot on the stimulus package. And he knows it's a gamble. That's why he's pushing so hard to get health care, cap and trade, bank reforms and more through Congress. This year may be (please, Lord, make it so) his only chance.


Your Tax Dollars at Work

In a sane world, this would be satire. But given our "leadership" in Washington these days, nothing seems capable of being over the top. (hat tip Powerline) And so, sadly, tomorrow the House Democratic leadership has scheduled a vote on the following:

H.R. 1018 is the "Restore Our American Mustangs Act." It can fairly be described as a welfare program for horses. Believe it or not--this isn't satire--here is what the bill will do:

The "Restore Our American Mustangs Act" ... would create a new $700 million welfare program for wild horses. The program:

* Conducts a horse census every two years

* Provides "enhanced contraception" and birth control for horses

* Establishes an additional 19 million acres of public and private land for wild horses

* Covers $5 million tab to repair horse damage to land

* Mandates that government bureaucrats perform home inspections before Americans can adopt horses

In an era of record smashing deficits, it's hard to imagine who seriously thinks that we have the money for this kind of nonsense. Ugh.


The Next Time That Crazy Guy with all the Animals Comes By, Get on the Boat!

We are in a world of trouble. Remember that the projections made by the Obama Administration called for unemployment to peak at 8% (currently 9.5 and heading higher) and economic growth to have started returning by now (not so much). Here is a look at some hard data from the real world that puts Hope and Change to flight...well, there is definitely change, but as Obi-wan said, "these aren't the droids you're looking for." (from BizzyBlog)

You can click on the chart for a larger version, but in plain English, tax revenues for the second quarter declined by more than a quarter of a trillion dollars! The deficit for this year (the part they admit to, and there are some serious accounting tricks being used to make things look far better than they really are) is already over $1.1 trillion dollars...and we've still got three months to go. If they weren't cooking the books we would likely end the fiscal year (September 30) with a two trillion dollar shortfall.

What does this mean? It means that Obama's plan to tax the rich to pay for health care can't possibly work. It means that the Waxman-Markey abomination to fix "global warming" by taxing businesses (and who do you think pays those taxes?) can't possibly work. It means that any significant economic recovery is a long, LONG way off. And our vehicle is being driven very fast the wrong way on a one way street.


"If Only the Czar Knew"

In Russia many years ago, the peasants lamented their lot in life with the phrase, "If only the Czar knew." They believed that if the leader only knew how bad things were, something would change. At least one wag suggested that it was the discovery that the Czar did know but didn't care that led to the Russian Revolution.

When President Obama was in Ghana recently, he decried the toll of corruption. "No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top," he said. The United States corporate tax rate (generally regarded as the highest in the world) is 35%. So the question is, does the Czar know and not care, or is he truly as clueless about the way the real world works as his lack of experience and words so often suggest?

Desperate Need for "Proper" Schooling

This morning on the Today Show, they interviewed someone named Ian Halperin who apparently wrote a book about Michael Jackson. (I guess it pays the bills, but that hardly seems like a productive use of time for an adult.) In the course of discussing what comes next for the singer's three children, Halperin said they "have a desperate need for proper schooling." I know absolutely nothing about the education Jackson's children have received, but I do know this: the bias, prejudice and hostility toward home schooling in our society is getting a lot worse.

Of course this strikes a chord with me because of the decision we made (a long time ago now) to homeschool our children. There were many factors involved in that decision, and with both of them now in college both we and they would describe it as the absolute right one. They are not maladjusted misfits, undereducated failures, or ignorant of modern society and science (though thankfully they do reject much of the bogus "science" that fills the airwaves and textbooks). In fact, they're both honor students in difficult academic fields at excellent schools.

Does every family who homeschools do a good job? Of course not. Does every family who homeschools make mistakes? Of course. But how is that different from a more traditional classroom education? Does anyone seriously want to argue that our public and even private schools are succeeding with every student? Homeschooling suffers from sometimes accurate but usually greatly exaggerated portrayals of the people and product involved. But a similar eye turned toward mainstream education could produce far worse. No, it isn't for everyone. But homeschooling is a valid, valuable and viable option for receiving an education.

And Mr. Halperin, next time you want to slam homeschooling, just "Beat It."


Be Afraid; Be Very Afraid

From a column by Francis Cianfrocca at The New Ledger (hat tip He Who Needs No Linkage) on our response to the current economic crisis:

If this works, I’ll be the first to tip my hat to Ben Bernanke and the intellectual revolution he has founded. But it will be a repudiation of centuries of financial history. What’s far more likely to happen is that the massive reflation efforts will work for a time, possibly for years, possibly for a decade. In that time, some fundamental aspects of global finance and trade will need to be repaired. Two that spring to mind are the bad habit of Americans to spend beyond our means, and the worse habit of China and other developing countries to respond to our overspending by undervaluing their currencies and allowing their economies to overexpand.

The pathway to success for Bernankeism is all about buying time to reset the underlying imbalances. But it’s an extremely dangerous game because the tools of Bernankeism (and Obamian deficit spending) are all about giving us far more of what made us sick in the first place. If we can fix the basic problems before the painkillers wear off, we might be all right. If not, the game will end in a deflationary episode that could rival the Thirties.


Eight Weeks to Go

Just eight weeks left till Bama plays Virginia Tech to kick off the football season. It's been a very long offseason since the debacle in the Sugar Bowl. I can't wait for the new season to start. Bring on the Hokies.


Happy Birthday Rhonda

A bittersweet day for a very special young lady, but a good day nonetheless. The last year by far has been the most difficult of her life. But God is good, and we still have her with us. A godly young woman, an excellent student, an artistic spirt and a close friend, she's been hurt and suffered far more than her dad would like. But through all of it, she trusts in God and continues to follow him.

My prayer is that the next year will be far better. Happy Birthday Bear.


Abortion as Eugenics

An amazing admission surfaced today from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (hat tip to Ed Whelan at the Corner) on the topic of abortion. This is from an interview she did with the New York Times Magazine. A lot of us have known this for a long time, but it's startling to hear it admitted in public.

Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.

Abortion was promoted specifically and directly at reducing the black population...the "populations that we don't want to have too many of"...and the same group that votes 90%+ for the party of death--even though it means death for their own people. It's not just all about money, although it certainly is a huge financial racket. It's about eugenics, plain and simple. And if a pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice feels free to say so in public, that's an awfully bad sign for the future of our country.


George Washington Slept Here

I learned something very interesting (to me, but then it's my blog...) over the weekend. Brenda and I have been doing some research into our family trees. It's been fun to see what we can find. We've even made a couple of trips, visiting old cemeteries and digging through stacks of old books and records at libraries.

Anyhow, my parents came for a visit and I was hunting some things on my dad's side of the family. On his mother's side, my eighth great-grandmother was Elizabeth Warner. She was born in Virginia in 1672 and died in 1719 (Two hundred and ninety years ago). From her and her husband, the line runs through the Lewises to the Alexanders to the Cannons to the Byerses.

The interesting thing came in when I found that Elizabeth Warner had an older sister named Mildred...who married Lawrence Washington and had a son named Augustine, who had a son named George (him, you've probably heard of). I'm not very good with the whole third cousin twice removed thing. But since my ancestor was George Washington's great aunt (that part I'm sure of), I'm at least a little bit related to the Father of Our Country.

And that's pretty cool.

The Decline and Fall of the United States of America

No great civilization can long survive the collapse of some sense of public morality. Some people argue with George Washington's assertion that religion is indispenable to such morality; history does not. Any nation that honors the immoral and "call[s] evil good" as the prophet Isaiah put it is on a steep slope to destruction.

Yes, we're there. Yes, I'm talking about the national media/public obsession with the funeral service for a child-abusing, drug-abusing, once talented freak. No, he's not in a better place. No, Al Sharpton, he was indeed "strange." (I do feel very sorry for his three kids, who are about to become pawns in a fight that's liable to take years and chew up whatever, if anything, is left of their inheritance. They don't deserve what's coming next.) It's a sad sign of the decline of our country. A better generation would not have tolerated Jackson, let alone lionized him.

We're in sad shape. And I'm afraid it's going to get a lot worse. The things we have lost are not easily, if ever, recovered. A few months back I heard a preacher say, "No nation in history that turned its back on God ever returned to Him without an intervening judgment."


We Should Sing More Than the First Verse!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


Calvin Coolidge on Independence Day

On July 4, 1926, the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, President Calvin Coolidge, the only President born on the fourth of July, gave a speech to commemorate the anniversary. You really should read the whole thing (it's an extraordinarily eloquent address from the man known as "Silent Cal"), but here are the final paragraphs:

Before we can understand their conclusions we must go back and review the course which they followed. We must think the thoughts which they thought. Their intellectual life centered around the meeting-house. They were intent upon religious worship. While there were always among them men of deep learning, and later those who had comparatively large possessions, the mind of the people was not so much engrossed in how much they knew, or how much they had, as in how they were going to live. While scantily provided with other literature, there was a wide acquaintance with the Scriptures. Over a period as great as that which measures the existence of our independence they were subject to this discipline not only in their religious life and educational training, but also in their political thought. They were a people who came under the influence of a great spiritual development and acquired a great moral power.

No other theory is adequate to explain or comprehend the Declaration of Independence. It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people. We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren sceptre in our grasp.

If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped.