George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section. It will
quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in
this rapid-fire world of ours. Of course, as in military
a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed
by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction. Charge that to
"the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or
campaign must maintain to be effective. But the mission will
be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick",
by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.
That's all I promise.
to return to the current Rapid Response list
WEDNESDAY, December 28 through 31, 2008
A Pot Pourri today.
- In the current national and world financial meltdown,
you can hardly tell the victims from the perpetrators...especially
since they all want a handout. A front-page article in today's
NYTimes tells how Washington Mutual for years gave out loans based
simply on a palpable pulse and nothing else. Real estate
developers - those enthusiastic builders of McMansions all around us -
are getting in line, like "Oliver", wanting "some more".
Even some Crocodile Dundee from Down Under is bemoaning his town's
financial losses after years of investing in exotic "market
instruments". And then there are the "victims" of Bernie Madoff's
$50 Billion Ponzi scheme, those who could "see no evil, hear
no evil, speak no evil" as long as Madoff was sending them double
digit dividends - as opposed to every other investor - a man who
appears to have had a sense of humor by naming his 50 ft. yacht
"Bull". Get it? If you ignore gravity, you fall. And
if you ignore common sense, you fail. And you should fail.
Actions must have consequences in order for society to
- "Education Reform" continues to be an
oxymoron...as long as the Democratic Party remains a wholly owned
subsidiary of the benighted Teachers Unions. Read the WSJ and
this web-site for regular reports on this sad subject.
- "Health Care Reform" ideas now fill nearly two
of my grocery - sized boxes, with no realistic proposal in sight.
Plenty on that subject throughout this web-site, going back to the
- Today the NYTimes published a major article on the Catholic
priest shortage. Here is another self-inflicted wound by
the Church hierarchy: decades of clergy sex scandals and their even
more damnable cover-up; questionable theologic bases for continued
insistence on un-married priests and only male priests; alienation of
large numbers of the laity due to intransigence regarding hormonal
birth control, and timidity regarding all-out attacks on the
abomination of abortion. Our Faith is Divine. But our
Church hierarchy is all too human.
- Hamas / Gaza / Israel. Anti-Semitism, in
its most virulent form in the crazy Middle East, continues to be the
"canary in the mine", warning of coming disaster.
- The Taliban is taking over Afghanistan, as we
plan to send 30,000 more of our men into a meatgrinder with no
discernable end-game. As in the role that "gangs" play in our
inner cities, you can't beat something with nothing, whether it be the
lack of a family structure here or the lack of an effective central
government there. If the Taliban has any redeeming social value
there, let's negotiate. If not, let's totally and permanently
destroy opium production there, implement a Marshall - type plan for
the people of Afghanistan, and kill anybody who resists our
efforts. And why do this? Because a stable Afghanistan is
definitely in our own national self-interest.
- Meanwhile, the NYTimes has recently been addressing the
status of our armed forces, especially the
critical state of our Army. Some good suggestions. But here
again, our supposed leaders cannot bring themselves to deal with
reality. What we need, and have needed for the last 5 years, is a
fair Draft: a two or three year program depending upon whether
the draftee is suitably educated on presentation...or whether he or she
needs a first year of remedial education. Now, there's a win-win
situation. Too logical?
So: are these the END-TIMES, or just the end of good times for a
while? I believe the latter to be true. But that doesn't
mean that there won't be "wailing and knashing of teeth".
Fear not. As the philosopher said: WHATEVER YOU SURVIVE
MAKES YOU STRONGER".
SATURDAY, December 27, 2008
Christmas and New Year to you all.
Confession (Reportedly by Ben Stein)
am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it
does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful
lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.. I don't feel
threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they
are: Christmas trees.
doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me.
I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in
a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it.
shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time
of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on
display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If
people want a crèche, it's just as fine with me as is the
Menorah a few hundred yards away.
don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think
Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I
think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed
around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that
America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the
Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we
should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we
understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.
But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these
celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a
little different : This is not intended to be a joke; it's not
funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson
asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding
Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful
response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this,
just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our
schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.
And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed
out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His
protection if we demand He leave us alone?'
light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.
I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was
murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want
prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you
better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not
kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself.
And we said OK.
Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they
misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we
might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide).
We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And
we said OK.
we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they
don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill
strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out.
I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE
how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the
world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers
say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send
'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start
sending messages regarding Jesus Christ or God, people think twice
about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass
freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed
in the school and workplace.
you laughing yet?
how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your
address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they
will think of you for sending it.
how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than
what God thinks of us.
it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it...
no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought
process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is
Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
FRIDAY, December 26, 2008
No, I'm not getting lazy. But there's
no need to reconfigure my thoughts...exactly.
to Reboot America
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: December 23, 2008
I had a bad day last Friday, but it was an all-too-typical day for
It actually started well, on Kau Sai Chau, an island off Hong Kong,
where I stood on a rocky hilltop overlooking the South China Sea and
talked to my wife back in Maryland, static-free, using a friend’s
Chinese cellphone. A few hours later, I took off from Hong Kong’s
ultramodern airport after riding out there from downtown on a sleek
high-speed train — with wireless connectivity that was so good I was
able to surf the Web the whole way on my laptop.
Landing at Kennedy Airport from Hong Kong was, as I’ve argued before,
like going from the Jetsons to the Flintstones. The ugly, low-ceilinged
arrival hall was cramped, and using a luggage cart cost $3. (Couldn’t
we at least supply foreign visitors with a free luggage cart, like
other major airports in the world?) As I looked around at this dingy
room, it reminded of somewhere I had been before. Then I remembered: It
was the luggage hall in the old Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport. It closed in
The next day I went to Penn Station, where the escalators down to the
tracks are so narrow that they seem to have been designed before
suitcases were invented. The disgusting track-side platforms apparently
have not been cleaned since World War II. I took the Acela, America’s
sorry excuse for a bullet train, from New York to Washington. Along the
way, I tried to use my cellphone to conduct an interview and my
conversation was interrupted by three dropped calls within one
All I could think to myself was: If we’re so smart, why are other
people living so much better than us? What has become of our
infrastructure, which is so crucial to productivity? Back home, I was
greeted by the news that General Motors was being bailed out — that’s
the G.M. that Fortune magazine just noted “lost more than $72 billion
in the past four years, and yet you can count on one hand the number of
executives who have been reassigned or lost their job.”
My fellow Americans, we can’t continue in this mode of “Dumb as we
wanna be.” We’ve indulged ourselves for too long with tax cuts that we
can’t afford, bailouts of auto companies that have become giant
wealth-destruction machines, energy prices that do not encourage
investment in 21st-century renewable power systems or efficient cars,
public schools with no national standards to prevent illiterates from
graduating and immigration policies that have our colleges educating
the world’s best scientists and engineers and then, when these
foreigners graduate, instead of stapling green cards to their diplomas,
we order them to go home and start companies to compete against ours.
To top it off, we’ve fallen into a trend of diverting and rewarding the
best of our collective I.Q. to people doing financial engineering
rather than real engineering. These rocket scientists and engineers
were designing complex financial instruments to make money out of money
— rather than designing cars, phones, computers, teaching tools,
Internet programs and medical equipment that could improve the lives
and productivity of millions.
For all these reasons, our present crisis is not just a financial
meltdown crying out for a cash injection. We are in much deeper
trouble. In fact, we as a country have become General Motors — as a
result of our national drift. Look in the mirror: G.M. is us.
That’s why we don’t just need a bailout. We need a reboot. We need a
build out. We need a buildup. We need a national makeover. That is why
the next few months are among the most important in U.S. history.
Because of the financial crisis, Barack Obama has the bipartisan
support to spend $1 trillion in stimulus. But we must make certain that
every bailout dollar, which we’re borrowing from our kids’ future, is
It has to go into training teachers, educating scientists and
engineers, paying for research and building the most
productivity-enhancing infrastructure — without building white
elephants. Generally, I’d like to see fewer government dollars shoveled
out and more creative tax incentives to stimulate the private sector to
catalyze new industries and new markets. If we allow this money to be
spent on pork, it will be the end of us.
America still has the right stuff to thrive. We still have the most
creative, diverse, innovative culture and open society — in a world
where the ability to imagine and generate new ideas with speed and to
implement them through global collaboration is the most important
competitive advantage. China may have great airports, but last week it
went back to censoring The New York Times and other Western news sites.
Censorship restricts your people’s imaginations. That’s really, really
dumb. And that’s why for all our missteps, the 21st century is still up
John Kennedy led us on a journey to discover the moon. Obama needs to
lead us on a journey to rediscover, rebuild and reinvent our own
THURSDAY, December 25, 2008
WEDNESDAY, December 22 through 24, 2008
After all...to our
extended family, a unique nation: MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A PEACEFUL NEW
Read this excerpt from a
Romanian Newspaper. The article was written by Mr. Cornel Nistorescu
and published under the title 'C'ntarea Americii, meaning 'Ode To
America ' in the Romanian newspaper Evenimentulzilei 'The Daily Event'
or 'News of the Day'
Ode to America ~
are Americans so united? They would not resemble one another even
if you painted them all one color! They speak all the languages
of the world and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations and
the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand
put on the heart.
rushed to accuse the White House, the Army, or the Secret Service that
they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their
rushed out onto the streets nearby to gape about.
the Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand.
the first moments of panic, they raised their flag over the smoking
ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national
flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and
on every car a government official or the president was passing. On
every occasion, they started singing:'God Bless America !'
watched the live broadcast and rerun after rerun for hours listening to
the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors with a woman in a
wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the Californian hockey
player, who gave his life fighting with the terrorists and prevented
the plane from hitting a target that could have killed other hundreds
or thousands of people.
on earth were they able to respond united as one human being?
Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some
turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call,
millions and millions of dollars were put into collection aimed at
rewarding not a man or a family, but a spirit, which no money can buy.
on earth can unite the Americans in such a way?
land? Their history? Their economic power? Money?
tried for hours to find an answer, humming songs and murmuring phrases
with the risk of sounding commonplace, I thought things over. I
reached but only one conclusion... Only freedom can work such miracles.
SUNDAY, December 20 and 21, 2008
This has got to be read to be believed. When and
where will the outcry come
that says "I'm not gonna take it any more"? GS
study finds $1.6B went to bailed-out bank execs
By FRANK BASS and RITA BEAMISH, Associated Press
Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts
awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses,
and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.
The rewards came even at banks where poor
results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to
Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation
due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over
multimillion-dollar executive pay packages.
Benefits included cash bonuses, stock
options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security,
country club memberships and professional money management, the AP
review of federal securities documents found.
The total amount given to nearly 600
executives would cover bailout costs for many of the 116 banks that
have so far accepted tax dollars to boost their bottom lines.
Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services
committee and a long-standing critic of executive largesse, said
the bonuses tallied by the AP review amount to a bribe "to get them to
do the jobs for which they are well paid in the first place.
"Most of us sign on to do jobs and we do
them best we can," said Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat. "We're told
that some of the most highly paid people in executive positions are
different. They need extra money to be motivated!"
The AP compiled total compensation based
on annual reports that the banks file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The
116 banks have so far received $188 billion in taxpayer help. Among the
_The average paid to each of the banks'
top executives was $2.6 million in salary, bonuses and benefits.
_Lloyd Blankfein, president and chief executive officer
of Goldman Sachs,
took home nearly $54 million in compensation last year. The company's
top five executives received a total of $242 million.
This year, Goldman will forgo cash and
stock bonuses for its seven top-paid executives. They will work for
their base salaries of $600,000, the company said. Facing increasing
concern by its own shareholders on executive payments, the company
described its pay plan last spring as essential to retain and motivate
executives "whose efforts and judgments are vital to our continued
success, by setting their compensation at appropriate and competitive
levels." Goldman spokesman Ed Canaday declined to comment beyond that
The New York-based company on Dec. 16
reported its first quarterly loss since it went public in 1999. It
received $10 billion in taxpayer money on Oct. 28.
_Even where banks cut back on pay, some
executives were left with seven- or eight-figure compensation that most
people can only dream about. Richard D. Fairbank, the chairman of Capital One Financial Corp.,
took a $1 million hit in compensation after his company had a
disappointing year, but still got $17 million in stock options. The
McLean, Va.-based company received $3.56 billion in bailout money on
_John A. Thain, chief executive officer of
topped all corporate
bank bosses with $83 million in earnings last year. Thain, a
former chief operating
officer for Goldman Sachs, took the reins of the company in
December 2007, avoiding the blame for a year in which Merrill lost $7.8
billion. Since he began work late in the year, he earned $57,692 in
salary, a $15 million signing bonus and an additional $68 million in
Like Goldman, Merrill got $10 billion
from taxpayers on Oct. 28.
The AP review comes amid sharp questions
about the banks' commitment to the goals of the Troubled Assets Relief
Program (TARP), a law designed to buy bad mortgages and other troubled
assets. Last month, the Bush
administration changed the program's goals, instructing the Treasury Department to
pump tax dollars directly into banks in a bid to prevent wholesale
The program set restrictions on some executive compensation
for participating banks, but did not limit salaries and bonuses unless
they had the effect of encouraging excessive risk to the institution.
Banks were barred from giving golden parachutes to departing executives
and deducting some executive pay for tax purposes.
Banks that got bailout funds also paid
out millions for home security systems, private chauffeured cars, and
club dues. Some banks even paid for financial advisers. Wells Fargo of San
Francisco, which took $25 billion in taxpayer bailout money, gave its
top executives up to $20,000 each to pay personal financial planners.
At Bank of New York Mellon Corp., chief
executive Robert P. Kelly's stipend for financial planning services came to
$66,748, on top of his $975,000 salary and $7.5 million bonus. His car
and driver cost $178,879. Kelly also received $846,000 in relocation
expenses, including help selling his home in Pittsburgh and purchasing
one in Manhattan, the company said.
Goldman Sachs' tab for leased cars and
drivers ran as high as $233,000 per executive. The firm told its
shareholders this year that financial counseling and chauffeurs are
important in giving executives more time to focus on their jobs.
JPMorgan Chase chairman James Dimon ran
up a $211,182 private
jet travel tab last year when his family lived in Chicago and he
was commuting to New York. The company got $25 billion in bailout
Banks cite security to justify personal
use of company aircraft for some executives. But Rep. Brad Sherman,
D-Calif., questioned that rationale, saying executives visit many
locations more vulnerable than the nation's security-conscious
commercial air terminals.
Sherman, a member of the House Financial Services
Committee, said pay excesses undermine development of good bank
economic policies and promote an escalating pay spiral among competing financial institutions
— something particularly hard to take when banks then ask for rescue
He wants them to come before Congress,
like the automakers did, and spell out their spending plans for bailout
"The tougher we are on the executives
that come to Washington, the fewer will come for a bailout," he said.
FRIDAY, December 19, 2008 (and probably again on Christmas)
Christmas Everybody. . .
THURSDAY, December 18, 2008
President Bush, glad to have you
says he didn't compromise soul to be popular
WEDNESDAY, December 16 and 17, 2008
And what happened to "The Buck Stops Here"? The only "buck"
these bastards are talking about come in bundles of billions.
So, go out and buy a good mattress...one that won't produce lumps
when you stash your money in it. GS
takes himself out of Madoff fraud probe
MONDAY, December 15, 2008
ANOTHER NO-BRAINER, EVEN FOR THOSE WITH NO BRAINS.
traditional justice: String up Somali pirates
Saturday, December 13, 2008
"I had a mother who read to me, sagas
of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow
teeth, "blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath."
— Strickland Gillilan
"The Reading Mother"
There is an ancient law, almost as old
as seaborne commerce itself, that says pirates are offenders against
the law of nations, who may be arrested on the high seas by the
warships of any state. Throughout history, arrest commonly was followed
by summary trial and execution, either by forcing pirates "to walk the
plank" or by hanging them from the foremast — well-deserved ends for
criminal elements of the sea. The "blackbirds" referred to in the
Gillilan quote above, incidentally, were human cargo stolen from
What once was clear authority for naval
commanders to suppress piracy on the high seas has been clouded by
contemporary interpretations of customary and statutory international
laws and by rules of engagement that effectively tie the hands of
It should be relatively easy for
state-flagged warships to curb, indeed to end, the depredations of
Somalia-based pirates who, this year alone, have taken and held for
hostage some 120 ships, their cargoes and their crews in waters near
the Horn of Africa.
Instead, we are treated to the
spectacle of small speedboats manned by a handful of lightly armed
criminals capturing ships flying the flags of countries from throughout
the world. The most spectacular piracies in recent months include the
seizure of the Saudi-flagged Sirius Star, a super tanker carrying two
million barrels of oil destined for the United States, and the
Kenyan-bound Ukranian ship Faina, loaded with 33 Russian battle tanks.
Both of these prizes remain in pirate hands. This should not have
happened. It need not have happened.
Let's be clear about a few things.
First, the coastline of Somalia is vast. In length it approximates that
of the eastern seaboard of the United States. There are, however, a
finite number of ports, perhaps as few as three, from which the pirates
operate. Somalia claims a customary 12-mile territorial sea, but given
the chaotic state of affairs existing in that war-torn country, it
exercises no effective control over its near waters.
Second, boarding an underway ship at
sea from small boats is not easy. Given even a very modest investment
in armed security on transiting vessels, boarding such ships should be
next to impossible.
Third, unattended small boats do not
operate on their own hundreds of miles at sea. (Those that took the
Sirius Star were 450 miles from the nearest land.) Somali pirates make
use of captured "mother ships" for food, ammunition and berthing, etc.
These are few in number and their location is, or should be, well known
to the naval ships and aircraft assigned to anti-piracy patrols. As an
aside, the much heralded recent sinking of a pirate mother ship by the
Indian Navy appears to have been mistaken. It's now reported that the
ship sunk actually was an unarmed Thai fishing vessel.
Fourth, a multinational, U.S.-led task
force of some 12 to 15 radar-equipped ships has been remarkably
ineffective in combating Somali piracy. Operating under rules
established by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the
Sea, it apparently is precluded from taking the initiative against the
pirates (firing on them only when fired upon first), forbidden measures
to reclaim vessels already held by pirates, and denied authority to
operate inside Somalia's lawless territorial sea.
Fifth, U.S. and other Western
governments turn a blind eye to the fact that piracy is a rich source
of actual or potential funding for Islamist terrorists. They, and the
scholarly research organizations hired to advise them, consider piracy
more of a nuisance than an actual threat to vital sea lines of
communications. No one knows where the many millions paid as ransom to
Somali pirates eventually winds up. But even if none of it currently
funds terrorists waging war on the civilized world, how long can
terrorists ignore such low-hanging fruit in narrow sea lanes? The
potential for seized vessels being scuttled or blown up in strategic
choke points or even in critical harbors and ports by terrorists is
immense, and keeping this from happening should be a first order of
business for responsible authorities.
A squadron of U.S. destroyers (with no
lawyers on the bridge) could rid the Gulf of Aden, one of the most
important sea lanes of communication in the world, of Somali piracy in
relatively short order. It would be a signal lesson to other would-be
plunderers of the narrow seas. Let's get on with it.
R.L. Schreadley, a
former Post and Courier executive editor, is a retired Navy officer.
SUNDAY, December 14, 2008
Meanwhile, we have to live in the world that we have, while always
trying to make it better.
- Reviewing the news reported by the NYTimes on Dec. 7, we find the
following: a) credit-rating firms like Moody's, and supposed
Federal watchdogs like the SEC, the Congressional committee of
Barnie Frank and the Senate committee of Chris Dodd, gave new meaning
to the "fox in the chicken-coop" analogy: those chickens
never went into the foxes' lair - too comfortable where they were;
b) "Obama vows public works on vast scale": and where
is he going to get the estimated trillion dollars to pay for it...this
is just a variation of FDR's "All we have to fear is fear itself"
comment, by FDObama; c) U.S. troops in
Afghanistan: what's our "in game" and what's our "out-game"
while feeding our children and grandchildren into a meatgrinder? All
of this - and more, to follow - smacks either of criminality
or of "THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL THEY ARE DOING". More
proof of this is in the just-leaked Federal draft report on U.S.
reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
- While Main Street is finally starting to re-discover the
word SAVE, our media continues to drip with calls to
spend,spend,spend...and don't pay until two thousand whatever. The
NYTimes regularly devotes a glitzy publication called the NYTimes Style
Magazine to this siren song. Oil is not our only addiction; and
we had better solve both quickly. This sick society cannot get
better on ever-increasing doses of opium. Here's a better idea
for shopping, a blast from the past, the "lay-away plan".
You put your desires and needs on hold until you can pay for them. What
- In the same NYTimes edition noted above, one editorial is
entitled "The Deluder in Chief".
Granted, things don't look good for our President who seems to have
already left office. But for anyone to attempt to write the Coda
on George Bush's Presidency before at least five or ten years of
research and revelations have surfaced has no knowledge of
history...and only a blood-lust.
- Losing one's job is rightly considered "Capital
Punishment" by workers. But the most painful part of the
sentence is losing one's health care coverage.
Instead of re-carving the Health Care wheel into a rectangular block of
wood, the first priority at this time should be insuring continuing
health care coverage for all those without a job. This would have
to be done at the Federal level, by those with the "$700 Billion" and
the "$14 Billion" who own the printing presses at the U.S.
Treasury. And it could be done through existing programs like
Medicare, Medicaid, Husky, etc. You dolts in Washington:
"Is anybody there? Does anybody care?"
- And then there are my two perennial favorite topics:
Public Education, and "Abortion, Morality and Ethics",
otherwise called "The Culture Wars", for which I keep separate
categories on this web-site. The latter will be the subject
of more extended treatment soon, including the central...and not always
helpful...role of the Roman Catholic Church. Regarding the
former, we learn once again that "Students lie, cheat, steal,
but say they are good" (see the Survey reported by AP national
writer David Crary, in The Day (www.theday.com) Monday Dec. 1,
pA1). We see never-ending reports of the "system" failing its
wards. "But Wait - There's More": see "Lessons From
40 years of Education 'Reform', by Louis Gerstner, Jr. (in WSJ
Monday Dec.1, 2008, Opinion, pA23). And finally there's news from
none other than that cesspool of Teacher Union emanations, Washington
D.C. God Bless Michelle Rhee, the new head of those schools,
as reported in Time, Dec. 8, 2008. And we can receive
some ironic solace from the decision (a no-brainer) of First
Parents Barack and
Michelle Obama to send their kids to
private school. Choice is wonderful, isn't it?
SATURDAY, December 12 and 13, 2008
I understand that in London, England during The Blitz, the
authorities learned from experience that, in order to avoid panic and
riots in the bomb shelters during Nazi air raids, they would
announce to the gathered citizens every fifteen minutes: "Ladies
and Gentlemen, the news is ...there is no news." This
evidently had a calming effect.
Today, I will use a modification of that technique:
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE NEWS IS...THERE IS NO GOOD NEWS.
I could be more precise, as you know. We all know the current
BUT WAIT; I will soon give you "tidings of great joy":
the Holy Season of Christmas is nearly upon us, complete with its
everlasting promise. So pray, folks; pray like you've never
prayed before. We sure need some divine intervention.
THURSDAY, December 8 through 11, 2008
THE ONLY THING NECESSARY FOR EVIL TO TRIUMPH IS FOR THE GOOD TO REMAIN
SILENT". And the "Good" are good at doing that. GS
the month before Christmas*
all through our land,*
a Christian was praying*
taking a stand.*
the PC Police had taken away,*
reason for Christmas - no one could say.*
children were told by their schools not to sing,*
Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.*
might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say*
is just a 'Holiday'.*
the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit*
folks down to the floor just to get it!*
from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod*
was changing, something quite odd! *
promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa*
hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.*
Targets were hanging their trees upside down*
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.*
K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears*
won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.*
words that were used to intimidate me.*
Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen*
Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!*
the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter*
eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.*
we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith*
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace*
true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded*
the season, stopped before it started.*
as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'*
your Starbucks, listen to me..*
your words carefully, choose what you say*
all Christians join together and
everyone you meet
is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!
SUNDAY, December 2 through 7, 2008
December 7, 1941, "a day that will live in infamy". That
was the day that America was jolted out of its decade-long
stupor. Weakened by the Great Depression, Americans naturally
turned in on themselves. They ignored the world and hoped they
wouldn't be noticed.
But that's not how life is. Life must be attacked and
squeezed of all it has to offer us and those around us. Two
quotations capture the thought.
" As life is action and passion, it is required of a man
that he should share the passion and action of his times at peril of
being judged not to have lived." Oliver Wendell Holmes.
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out
how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done
better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the
arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who
strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows
the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a
worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high
achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while
daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and
timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." Theodore
And one final thought: LIVE AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON
IT...BECAUSE IT DOES.
MONDAY, December 1, 2008
There are a lot of turkey left-overs on my plate
today. The following is my way of avoiding heartburn.
- First, a perenial favorite: the American Public School
System and its cynical and mean-spirited defenders. What
happened to "the best interests of the child?" See the article in
the Monday Nov. 24 edition of the WSJ (opinion, pA19) entitled: Change
Our Public Schools Need", by Terry M. Moe.
- The Iraq - U.S. Status of Forces Agreement...still
a work-in-progress, as we give in more and more to the demands of that
herd of cats. Perhaps we should focus their attention: "no
agreement, no withdrawal". President-Elect Obama, are
you paying attention?
- How about some world travel: perhaps to India
or Thailand; or perhaps to visit the pirates of Somalia; or maybe to be
among the tens of thousands of travellers who are kidnapped for ransom
yearly throughout the globe? Or maybe you want to be among the
first aboard a lusury liner with thousands of others to be boarded
while in international waters? FUGGEDABOUDET.
- It keeps ringing my ears: "Close Guantanamo"! And
then what, you ninnies? Even the NYTimes is starting
belatedly to question its self-imposed restrictive paradigm: is
terrorism a war or a criminal action? Of course, it has never
been either: neither subject to the Geneva Conventions nor appropriate
for our criminal justice system. Ergo, Guantanamo! But now
come calls, perhaps realistic...perhaps not...to develop a "hybrid"
form of approach. See "Ahead For Obama: How To Define Terror",
by Jonathan Mahler (NYTimes Sunday, Nov. 30, 2008, The Nation, pWK
3). See also "CGA Professor: Try Guantanamo Prisoners in
New Type Of Court", by Jennifer Grogan (The Day Sunday,
Nov. 30, 2008, pA1). One thing is for sure...and in this I speak
for all Americans: NOT IN MY BACKYARD!!".
- And then there are all the comments about the
impending demise of the print media, quite reminiscent of Mark
Twain in the same position: "News of my death has
been greatly exaggerated". Print
media will only die if it continues to commit
suicide, by presenting daily a toxic stew of facts,
factoids and opinions side-by-side. See "Connecticut's
Newspapers Are Dying - Good", by D. Dowd Muska (The Day, ibid,
pE3); see also the article by the NYTimes Public Editor, Clark
Hoyt, entitled: "Expert Opinions, From Neutral Observers" (ibid.,
WK p8). The choice is yours, print journalists.
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