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
SATURDAY, December 31, 2011
TRUE IN ALL RESPECTS.
got shot down over N Vietnam in 1967, a Sqdn. Commander.
After I returned in 1973....I published 2 books that dealt a lot
With "real torture" in Hanoi . Our make-believe president
Branding our country as a bunch of torturers when he has
No idea what torture is.
As for me, I was put thru a mock execution because I would not
Pistol whipped on the head....same event.. Couple of days
Hung by my feet all day. I escaped and a couple of weeks later, I
Shot and recaptured. Shot was OK...what happened afterwards
They marched me to Vinh...put me in the rope trick,
Pulled my arms out of the sockets. Beat me on the head with a
Little wooden rod until my eyes were swelled shut, and my unshot,
Unbroken hand a pulp.
Next day hung me by the arms....rebroke my right wrist...wiped
Out the nerves in my arms that control the hands....rolled my
Up into a ball. Only left the slightest movement of my L
So I started answering with some incredible lies.
Sent me to Hanoi strapped to a barrel of gas in the back of a
Hanoi ..on my knees....rope trick again. Beaten by a big
Into leg irons on a bed in Heartbreak Hotel.
Much kneeling--hands up at Zoo.
Really bad beating for refusing to condemn Lyndon Johnson.
Several more kneeling events. I could see my knee bone thru
There was an escape from the annex to the Zoo. I was the
Officer of a large building because of escape...they started a
Torture of all commanders.
I think it was July 7, 1969..they started beating me with a car
In first 2 days I took over 300 strokes...then stopped counting
Because I never thought I would live thru it.
They continued day-night torture to get me to confess to a
Part in the escape. This went on for at least 3 days.
Fan belting...cut open my scrotum with fan belt stroke.
Both knee holes again. My fanny looked like hamburger..I
Lie on my back.
They tortured me into admitting that I was in on the escape...and
That my 2 room-mates knew about it.
The next day I denied the lie.
They commenced torturing me again with 3- 6- or 9 strokes of
The fan belt every day from about July 11 or 12th..to 14 October
1969. I continued to refuse to lie about my roommates
Now, the point of this is that our make-believe
President has declared to the world that we (U.S..) are a bunch
Torturers...Thus it will be OK to torture us next time when they
Catch us...because that is what the U.S Does.
Our make-believe president is a know nothing fool who thinks
That pouring a little water on some one's face, or hanging a pair
women's pants over an Arabs head is TORTURE.. He is a
I just talked to MOH holder Leo Thorsness, who was also in my
In jail...as was John McCain...and we agree that McCain does
Not speak for the POW group when he claims that Al Gharib was
Torture...or that "water boarding" is torture.
Our president and those fools around him who keep bad mouthing
Our great country are a disgrace to the United States .
This info on to Sean Hannity. He is free to use it to point
Stupidity of the claims that water boarding...which has no after
If it got the Arab to cough up the story about how he planned the
on the twin towers in NYC ...
Hurrah for the guy who poured the water!
"Bud" Day, Medal Of Honor Recipient
George Everett " Bud " Day(born February 24, 1925) is a retired
U.S. Air Force Colonel and Command Pilot who served during the
Vietnam War. He is often cited as being the most decorated U.S. .
Service member since General Douglas MacArthur, having
Received some seventy decorations, a majority for actions
In combat. Day is a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
FRIDAY, December 30, 2011
PRESSURE MEDICINE BEFORE READING THIS !
DOLLARS AT WORK
900 teachers just got laid off
from the Los Angeles Unified School District ... They are $650,000 over
their annual budget.
The following English teacher
helps to explain one area that looms large over California 's
English teacher has phrased it the best I've seen yet.
should make everyone think, be you Democrat, Republican or Independent;
From a California
school teacher - - -
you listen to the news about the student protests over illegal
immigration, there are some things that you should be aware of: I am in charge of the
English-as-a-second-language department at a large southern California
high school which is designated a Title 1 school, meaning that its
students average lower socioeconomic and income levels. Most of the schools
you are hearing about, South Gate High, Bell Gardens , Huntington Park
, etc. where these students are protesting, are also Title 1 schools.
1 schools are on the free breakfast and free lunch program. When I say free
breakfast, I'm not talking a glass of milk and roll, but a full breakfast
and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would make a Marriott proud.
The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being
dumped in the trash uneaten.
(OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK)
estimate that well over 50% of these students are obese or at least
moderately overweight. About 75% or more DO have cell phones. The school also
provides day care centers for
the unwed teenage pregnant
girls (some as young as 13)
so they can attend class without the inconvenience of having to arrange
for babysitters or having family watch their kids.
TAX DOLLARS AT WORK)
was ordered to spend $700,000 on my department or risk losing funding
for the upcoming year even though there was little need for anything;
my budget was already substantial. I ended up buying new computers for
the computer learning center, half of which, one month later, have been
carved with graffiti by the appreciative students who obviously feel
humbled and grateful to have a free education in America .
TAX DOLLARS AT WORK)
have had to intervene several times for young and substitute teachers
whose classes consist of many illegal immigrant students here in the
country less than 3 months who raised so much hell with the female
teachers, calling them "Putas" (whores ) and throwing things, that the teachers
were in tears.
medical, free education, free food, day care, etc, etc, etc. Is it any
wonder they feel entitled not only to be in this country but to demand
rights, privileges and entitlements?
those who want to point out how much these illegal immigrants
contribute to our society because they LIKE their gardener and
housekeeper and they like to pay less for tomatoes: spend some time in
the real world of illegal immigration and see the TRUE costs.
insurance, medical facilities closing, higher medical costs, more
crime, lower standards of education in our schools, overcrowding, new
diseases etc., etc, etc. For me, I'll pay more for tomatoes.
we need to wake up. The guest worker
program will be a disaster because we
won't have the guts to enforce it.. Does anyone in
their right mind really think they will voluntarily leave and return?
does, however, have everything to do with culture: A third-world
culture that does not value education, that accepts children getting
pregnant and dropping out of school by 15 and that refuses to
assimilate, and anAmerican culture that
has become so weak and worried about "political
correctness" that we don't have
the will to do anything about it.
this makes your blood boil, as it did mine,
forward this to everyone you know including your Congressmen and
LABOR? Isn't that what the whole immigration issue is about?
doesn't want to pay a decent wage.
don't want expensive produce.
will tell you Americans don't want the jobs.
the bottom line is cheap labor. The phrase "cheap labor" is a myth, a farce, and a lie.
There is no such thing as "cheap labor."
for example, an illegal alien with a wife and five children. He takes a
job for$5.00 or 6.00/hr. At that wage, with six dependents, he pays no income tax, yet at
the end of the year, if he files an Income Tax
Return, he gets an "earned income credit"
of up to $3,200 free.
qualifies for Section 8 housing and subsidized rent.
qualifies for food stamps.
qualifies for free (no deductible, no co-pay) health care.
His children get free
breakfasts and lunches at school.
He requires bilingual
teachers and books.
He qualifies for relief
from high energy bills.
If they are or become,
aged, blind or disabled, they qualify for SSI. Once qualified for
SSI they can qualify forMedicare. All of this is at (our) taxpayer's
doesn't worry about car insurance, life insurance, or homeowner's
provide Spanish language signs,
bulletins and printed material.
and his family receive the equivalent of $20.00 to $30.00/hour in benefits.
Americans are lucky to have $5.00 or $6.00/hour left after paying their
bills AND his.
American taxpayers also pay for increased crime, graffiti and trash
labor? YEAH RIGHT! Wake up people!
THESE ARE THE
QUESTIONS WE SHOULD BE ADDRESSING TO THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES FOR
THURSDAY, December 29, 2011
TO THESE STORIES, ADD THE RECENT REPORTS THAT
"INSIDER TRADING" LAWS, PREVENTING COMMONERS LIKE THE REST OF US FROM
TRADING SECURITIES ON THE BASIS OF INFORMATION NOT PUBLICLY
NOT APPLY TO MEMBERS OF THE U.S. SENATE AND THE HOUSE OF
PRECISELY THE PEOPLE WHO BY THEIR EXALTED POSITIONS HAVE ALL THE
IS INSTITUTIONALIZED FRAUD AND CORRUPTION.
AMERICA. WE NEED A U.S. CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION AND SPECIFIC
TO THE CONSTITUTION - AND WE NEED THIS NOW.
Congress: Home of the rich and
12/27/2011 12:00 AM
12/27/2011 12:17 PM
Washington Post/Bloomberg News investigation, documenting how the
wealth accumulated by members of Congress has grown dramatically over
the last quarter-century, is attracting a lot of attention.
story claims that between 1984 and 2009, the median net worth of a
member of the House of Representatives more than doubled, according to
the analysis of financial disclosures, from $280,000 to $725,000 in
inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars, excluding home equity.
comparable number, also adjusted for inflation, shows the wealth of an
American family has declined slightly, with the median figure sliding
from $20,600 to $20,500.
appears that Congress, if not the 1 percent, is certainly the
are not all millionaires, however. Eastern Connecticut's 2nd District
Congressman Joe Courtney is listed as having a net worth of $364,010.
On the other end of the spectrum, Rep. Rosa DeLauro of the 3rd District
comes in as Connecticut's richest House member with a net worth of
for our take on what this means in The Day's Wednesday editorial.
Wealth gap grows between Congress and the people
Published 12/28/2011 12:00 AM
Updated 12/27/2011 04:40 PM
As if the public needed more reason to disdain Congress - its 83
percent disapproval rating is the worst Gallup has measured in more
than 30 years of tracking congressional job performance - now comes a
report that in the past quarter century, when the wealth of the average
American family declined, the median net worth of a member of the House
of Representatives more than doubled.
This disparity appears emblematic of a disconnect between citizens and
elected representatives who more than ever seem to act in political
self-interest rather than in the public benefit.
The report by The Washington Post Tuesday shows that between 1984 and
2009 the median net worth of a U.S. representative shot up from
$280,000 to $725,000 in inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars, excluding home
equity. At the same time the typical family net worth slid from $20,600
to $20,500, according to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from the
University of Michigan.
Analysts chose 1984 as a benchmark because it is the earliest year for
which consistent wealth statistics are available.
As the New York Times noted in a separate report on the same University
of Michigan study, "Congress has never been a place for paupers. From
plantation owners in the pre-Civil War era to industrialists in the
early 1900s to ex-Wall Street financiers and Internet executives today,
it has long been populated with the rich, including scions of families
like the Guggenheims, Hearsts, Kennedys and Rockefellers."
But because so many Americans today are out of work, behind on their
mortgages, and deep in debt, the contemporary contrast seems starker
and the large increase in congressional wealth over the last
quarter-century more alarming.
Before tarring every rich member of Congress with the same brush, it is
important to note that multi-million dollar representatives embrace a
broad spectrum of political belief.
For instance, the wealthiest member of the House, Republican Darrell
Issa of California, with a net worth of $448,125,017, is one of the
most conservative, but the sixth-richest member, Democrat Nancy Pelosi
of California, with a net worth of $101,123,032, is among the most
Here in Connecticut, the richest representative, Rosa L. DeLauro of the
Third District, with a net worth of $16,626,008, also is one of the
House's most progressive members.
Elsewhere in the state, which has an all-Democratic delegation, Jim
Himes of the Fourth District is the only other member of the
millionaires club, with a net worth of $4,324,025. The other
representatives are of substantially lesser means: Joe Courtney, Second
District, $364,010; John B. Larson, First District, $280,004 and
Christopher S. Murphy, Third District, $90,503.
Though the Washington Post analysis focused on members of the House, it
also listed the net worth of U.S. senators, showing that the first
seven of the top 10 are liberal-minded Democrats, including the
richest, John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, with $231,722,794; and the
sixth wealthiest, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, $73,151,590.
Connecticut's other senator, Joe Lieberman, a longtime Democrat who now
calls himself an independent, and who won't be seeking re-election next
year, reports a relatively modest - by senatorial standards - net worth
This newspaper doesn't necessarily begrudge politicians for their
prosperity - after all, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin
Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy were among the greatest and wealthiest
presidents. We also don't automatically consider less well-to-do ones,
such as Ulysses S. Grant or James Buchanan, to have been working-class
But when so many of the people's representatives depend on powerful
special interests to fund their campaigns; when they themselves enjoy
the privileges of both extreme wealth and political power, one has to
wonder how well they can really appreciate the trials and tribulations
of the common working person or the struggling small businessman.
WEDNESDAY, December 28, 2011
What a story ! What a screenplay.
Decades later, a Cold War
secret is revealed
O'NEILL | AP
Conn. (AP) — For more than a decade they toiled in the strange,
boxy-looking building on the hill above the municipal airport, the
building with no windows (except in the cafeteria), the building filled
wore protective white jumpsuits, and had to walk through air-shower
chambers before entering the sanitized "cleanroom" where the equipment
spoke in code.
knew the true identity of "the customer" they met in a smoke-filled,
wood-paneled conference room where the phone lines were scrambled. When
they traveled, they sometimes used false names.
one point in the 1970s there were more than 1,000 people in the Danbury
area working on The Secret. And though they worked long hours under
intense deadlines, sometimes missing family holidays and anniversaries,
they could tell no one — not even their wives and children — what they
were engineers, scientists, draftsmen and inventors — "real
cloak-and-dagger guys," says Fred Marra, 78, with a hearty laugh.
is sitting in the food court at the Danbury Fair mall, where a group of
retired co-workers from the former Perkin-Elmer Corp. gather for a
weekly coffee. Gray-haired now and hard of hearing, they have been
meeting here for 18 years. They while away a few hours nattering about
golf and politics, ailments and grandchildren. But until recently, they
were forbidden to speak about the greatest achievement of their
Hexagon," Ed Newton says, gleefully exhaling the word that stills feels
almost treasonous to utter in public.
was dubbed "Big Bird" and it was considered the most successful space
spy satellite program of the Cold War era. From 1971 to 1986 a total of
20 satellites were launched, each containing 60 miles of film and
sophisticated cameras that orbited the earth snapping vast, panoramic
photographs of the Soviet Union, China and other potential foes. The
film was shot back through the earth's atmosphere in buckets that
parachuted over the Pacific Ocean, where C-130 Air Force planes snagged
them with grappling hooks.
scale, ambition and sheer ingenuity of Hexagon KH-9 was breathtaking.
The fact that 19 out of 20 launches were successful (the final mission
blew up because the booster rockets failed) is astonishing.
too is the human tale of the 45-year-old secret that many took to their
was declassified in September. Finally Marra, Newton and others can
tell the world what they worked on all those years at "the office."
name is Al Gayhart and I built spy satellites for a living," announced
the 64-year-old retired engineer to the stunned bartender in his local
tavern as soon as he learned of the declassification. He proudly
repeats the line any chance he gets.
was intensely demanding, thrilling and the greatest experience of my
life," says Gayhart, who was hired straight from college and was one of
the youngest members of the Hexagon "brotherhood".
describes the white-hot excitement as teams pored over hand-drawings
and worked on endless technical problems, using "slide-rules and
advanced degrees" (there were no computers), knowing they were part of
such a complicated space project. The intensity would increase as
launch deadlines loomed and on the days when "the customer" — the CIA
and later the Air Force — came for briefings. On at least one occasion,
former President George H.W. Bush, who was then CIA director, flew into
Danbury for a tour of the plant.
other companies were part of the project — Eastman Kodak made the film
and Lockheed Corp. built the satellite — the cameras and optics systems
were all made at Perkin-Elmer, then the biggest employer in Danbury.
were many days we arrived in the dark and left in the dark," says
retired engineer Paul Brickmeier, 70.
recalls the very first briefing on Hexagon after Perkin-Elmer was
awarded the top secret contract in 1966. Looking around the room at his
30 or so colleagues, Brickmeier thought, "How on Earth is this going to
thing that made it possible was a hiring frenzy that attracted the
attention of top engineers from around the Northeast. Perkin-Elmer also
commissioned a new 270,000-square-foot building for Hexagon — the boxy
one on the hill.
for clearance was a surreal experience as family members, neighbors and
former employers were grilled by the FBI, and potential hires were
questioned about everything from their gambling habits to their
wanted to make sure we couldn't be bribed," Marra says.
could take up to a year. During that time, employees worked on
relatively minor tasks in a building dubbed "the mushroom tank" — so
named because everyone was in the dark about what they had actually
been hired for.
Prusak, 76, spent six months in the tank. When he was finally briefed
on Hexagon, Prusak, who had worked as an engineer on earlier civil
space projects, wondered if he had made the biggest mistake of his life.
thought they were crazy," he says. "They envisaged a satellite that was
60-foot long and 30,000 pounds and supplying film at speeds of 200
inches per second. The precision and complexity blew my mind."
years later, after numerous successful launches, he was shown what
Hexagon was capable of — an image of his own house in suburban
was light years before Google Earth," Prusak said. "And we could
clearly see the pool in my backyard."
had been earlier space spy satellites — Corona and Gambit. But neither
had the resolution or sophistication of Hexagon, which took close-range
pictures of Soviet missiles, submarine pens and air bases, even entire
battalions on war exercises.
to the National Reconnaissance Office, a single Hexagon frame covered a
ground distance of 370 nautical miles, about the distance from
Washington to Cincinnati. Early Hexagons averaged 124 days in space,
but as the satellites became more sophisticated, later missions lasted
twice as long.
the height of the Cold War, our ability to receive this kind of
technical intelligence was incredible," says space historian Dwayne
Day. "We needed to know what they were doing and where they were doing
it, and in particular if they were preparing to invade Western Europe.
Hexagon created a tremendous amount of stability because it meant
American decision makers were not operating in the dark."
other successes, Hexagon is credited with providing crucial information
for the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks between the United States and
the Soviet Union in the 1970s.
the outset, secrecy was a huge concern, especially in Danbury, where
the intense activity of a relatively small company that had just been
awarded a massive contract (the amount was not declassified) made it
obvious that something big was going on. Inside the plant, it was
impossible to disguise the gigantic vacuum thermal chamber where
cameras were tested in extreme conditions that simulated space. There
was also a "shake, rattle and roll room" to simulate conditions during
question became, how do you hide an elephant?" a National
Reconnaissance Office report stated at the time. It decided on a simple
response: "What elephant?" Employees were told to ignore any questions
from the media, and never confirm the slightest detail about what they
it was impossible to conceal the launches at Vandenberg Air Force base
in California, and aviation magazines made several references to "Big
Bird." In 1975, a "60 Minutes" television piece on space reconnaissance
described an "Alice in Wonderland" world, where American and Soviet
intelligence officials knew of each other's "eyes in the sky" — and
other nations did, too — but no one confirmed the programs or spoke
about them publicly.
employees at Perkin-Elmer, the vow of secrecy was considered a mark of
were like the guys who worked on the first atom bomb," said Oscar
Berendsohn, 87, who helped design the optics system. "It was more than
a sworn oath. We had been entrusted with the security of the country.
What greater trust is there?"
wives — who couldn't contact their husbands or know of their
whereabouts when they were traveling — for the most part accepted the
secrecy. They knew the jobs were highly classified. They knew not to
were born into the World War II generation," says Linda Bronico, whose
husband, Al, told her only that he was building test consoles and
cables. "We all knew the slogan 'loose lips sink ships.'"
Perkin-Elmer was considered a prized place to work, with good salaries
and benefits, golf and softball leagues, lavish summer picnics (the
company would hire an entire amusement park for employees and their
families) and dazzling children's Christmas parties.
loved it," Marra says. "It was our life."
Marra and his former co-workers, sharing that life and their long-held
secret has unleashed a jumble of emotions, from pride to nostalgia to
relief — and in some cases, grief.
city's mayor, Mark Boughton, only discovered that his father had worked
on Hexagon when he was invited to speak at an October reunion ceremony
on the grounds of the former plant. His father, Donald Boughton, also a
former mayor, was too ill to attend and died a few days later.
said for years he and his siblings would pester his father — a
draftsman — about what he did. Eventually they realized that the topic
was off limits.
about Hexagon makes me view him completely differently," Boughton says.
"He was more than just my Dad with the hair-trigger temper and
passionate opinions about everything. He was a Cold War warrior doing
something incredibly important for our nation."
Betty Osterweis the ceremony was bittersweet, too. Not only did she
learn about the mystery of her late husband's professional life. She
also learned about his final moments.
these years," she said, "I had wondered what exactly had happened" on
that terrible day in 1987 when she received a phone call saying her
53-year-old husband, Henry Osterweis, a contract negotiator, had
suffered a heart attack on the job. At the reunion she met former
co-workers who could offer some comfort that the end had been quick.
in the grounds of her late husband's workplace, listening to the
tributes, her son and daughter and grandchildren by her side, Osterweis
was overwhelmed by the enormity of it all — the sacrifice, the secrecy,
know that this was more than just a company selling widgets ... that he
was negotiating contracts for our country's freedom and security," she
a secret. And what a legacy."
O'Neill is a New York-based national writer for The Associated Press.
She can be reached at features(at)ap.org.
TUESDAY, December 27, 2011
APPRECIATE THIS AND SOME WILL NOT.
HOWEVER, ALL OF IT IS TRUE.
After two years of Obama ...
Avg.. Retail price/gallon gas
Crude oil, European Brent
Crude oil, West TX Inter.
Gold: London (per troy oz.)
Corn, No.2 yellow, Central IL
Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, IL
Sugar, cane, raw, world, lb. Fob
Unemployment rate, non-farm,
Unemployment rate, blacks
Number of unemployed
Number of fed. Employees
Real median household income
Number of food stamp
Number of unemployment
Number of long-term unemployed
Poverty rate, individuals
People in poverty in U.S.
U.S.. Rank in Economic
Freedom World Rankings
Present Situation Index
U.S.. Dollar versus Japanese
yen exchange rate
U.S.. Money supply, M1, in
U.S.. Money supply, M2, in
National debt, in trillions
Just take this last item: In the last two
years we have accumulated national debt at a rate more than 27
times as fast as during the rest of our
entire nation's history.
Over 27 times as
fast. Metaphorically speaking, if you are driving in the right lane
doing 65 MPH and a car rockets past you in the left lane.
27 times faster, it
would be doing 7,555 MPH!
(1) U.S. Energy Information Administration;
(2) Wall Street Journal;
(3) Bureau of Labor Statistics;
(4) Census Bureau;
(6) U.S. Dept. Of Labor;
(8) Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller;
(10) Heritage Foundation and WSJ;
(11) The Conference Board;
(13) Federal Reserve;
(14) U.S. Treasury
So, tell me
again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and
impressive? Can't think of anything? Don't worry. He's done all this in
29 months -- so you'll have one year and five months to come up with an
answer. Every statement in this email is factual and
directly attributable to Barrack Hussein Obama. Every bumble is a
matter of record and completely verifiable.
SHOULD READ THIS...
I WONDER HOW MANY
WILL FORWARD THIS ?
can't fix stupid, but you can vote it out."
"In God We Trust."
MONDAY, December 26, 2011
THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 2012..so
I recently noticed a car bumper sticker that is appropriate
that may even be life-saving:
A Loose Cannon. I am coming to see that being a
is incompatible with living in civil society.
Good ideas, and a stinger to boot. But no chance.
A good man, but not enough depth. No chance.
The best of the group, in ideas, intellect
courage. He says and would actually implement what everyone else
thinking but is too political to say. And that is why he is being
attacked by all sides of the status quo, including the Republican
Mr. Gingrich will probably end up proving once again the observation of
historian Arthur Schleshinger: the truth-teller loses for telling the
has the greatest influence on the subsequent actions of the
Improving, "evolving", Presidential, and the
likely Republican nominee.
And then the real fight begins. This is still an election for the
Republicans to lose...and they are up to the task. Here's a
the Tea Party and the Wall Street protesters to embrace in order to
become effective rather than flailing around, while saving their
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION ORGANIZATION,
to achieving the call of a Convention
that would work to produce much need Amendments to the U.S.
regarding election financing and term limits at all levels. Their
opposition would be all current Federal office-holders, the organized
Democratic and Republican Parties, and the ignorance and 30 second
span of too many of their fellow citizens.
Yet it could still be accomplished...that's how much faith I have in
majority of the American People and in "an idea whose time has come".
SUNDAY, December 25, 2011
The world seen from Rome
to Infant Jesus: Manifest Your Power
of God's Might in Christmas Eve Homily
CITY, DEC. 24, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI voiced a prayer tonight
during his homily at the Christmas Eve Mass: O mighty God, you have
a child and we love your childish estate, your powerlessness, but we
you, manifest your power.
a radiantly illuminated St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope made this
he recalled that all three Christmas Masses present a quote from
describes the epiphany that took place at Christmas in greater detail:
is born for us, a son given to us and dominion is laid on his
this is the name they give him: Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God,
Prince-of-Peace. Wide is his dominion in a peace that has no end.'
Holy Father said it is unknown if the prophet had a particular child in
mind from his own period of history, but, he said, it seems impossible.
the only text in the Old Testament in which it is said of a child, of a
being: his name will be Mighty-God, Eternal-Father. We are presented
vision that extends far beyond the historical moment into the
child, in all its weakness, is Mighty God, the Pontiff declared. A
all its neediness and dependence, is Eternal Father. And his peace 'has
on that peace, Benedict XVI said that God as a child pits himself
against all violence and brings a message that is peace.
this hour, he continued, when the world is continually threatened by
violence in so many places and in so many different ways, when over and
again there are oppressors' rods and bloodstained cloaks, we cry out to
Lord: O mighty God, you have appeared as a child and you have revealed
to us as the One who loves us, the One through whom love will triumph.
have shown us that we must be peacemakers with you.
love your childish estate, your powerlessness, but we suffer from the
continuing presence of violence in the world, and so we also ask you:
your power, O God. In this time of ours, in this world of ours, cause
oppressors' rods, the cloaks rolled in blood and the footgear of battle
burned, so that your peace may triumph in this world of ours.
SATURDAY, December 24, 2011
follows is a
fine expression of a root cause of perpetual national and world-wide
in addition of the tribalism embedded in our human DNA. There can
be "Peace on Earth" without the perception and actuality of equality of
opportunity...the right to the "pursuit of happiness" even without
any guarantee of equality of outcome. What we need is Fairness,
Greed. What we have is Greed, and no Fairness. That should
achievable despite the infirmities of Human Nature. Let us all be
evangelists for that Religion.
Seeking peace at home, abroad this
Christmas Eve 2011
12/24/2011 12:00 AM
12/23/2011 04:15 PM
could be no more poignant time than Christmas Eve to observe and
appreciate the advance of peace: the end of the Iraq War, at least for
Americans and, hopefully, for Iraqis.
war concludes in only the most literal sense - combat ends - but
continues in other agonizing ways. The victors occupy the vanquished.
The vanquished are humiliated in a way that virtually assures a thirst
for vengeance and a recommencement of hostilities.
Iraq War has ended with its own unique and possibly tragic post-war
condition: an unresolved sectarian divide. Fortunately, the Iraqi
Constitution was drafted with a safety valve designed to prevent
devolution into armed strife. Any two or more contiguous Iraqi
provinces may form a semi-autonomous Region; such a Region has long
existed in the Kurdish North. Currently, observers speculate that the
Sunni minority may be maneuvering to form a Sunni region and that
Shiite President Maliki is resisting, desirous to institutionalize
permanent Shiite hegemony over the entirety of Iraq.
Maliki has arrested Iraq's Sunni vice president on sedition charges,
thrusting the nation into political crisis just a day after completion
of U.S. withdrawal. In the best scenario the present crisis resolves,
perhaps via Iraq's constitutional provision for regions joined in loose
federalism, and a lasting peace emerges.
of us have held strong opinions about the Iraq War. Was it a mistake?
Was it worth it? Is it truly over? Should we have withdrawn completely
or rather have maintained a stabilizing force in Iraq?
defer this inevitable debate at least beyond the Christmas season so
that we Americans can unite now in thankfulness that the war is over
for us, and, more particularly, for our brave troops who served
steadfastly and honorably in tamping down what was almost full-scale
sectarian warfare. Their courage delivered to Iraqis the chance they
now have to forge a unified and peaceful nation.
the home front, compromise and political consensus remain elusive. Our
politics and our body politic seem as sharply divided as ever. In one
sense, it is a good thing, since democracy thrives on freedom of
expression and lively debate. On the other, it is worrisome, because
any society depends upon some organizing consensus. If we disagree
about everything all of the time, it is hard to see how society and
government can function. And there is plenty of dysfunction on display
in the nation's capital.
the formal political parties for the moment, we have seen two
grassroots political movements well up amidst our economic crisis - the
tea party and Occupy Wall Street. Singular issues have incensed each
movement. The tea party faithful were infuriated by, and remain hostile
to, the Democrats' health care legislation, seeing it as a woefully
ill-timed expansion of an already-unsustainable welfare state. Occupy
seems most angry about the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the
wealthy. Interestingly, a solid majority of Americans agree with the
tea party on health care and Occupy on taxes.
this is the "grand bargain" - repeal of the health care act in exchange
for ending the Bush tax cuts.
passed the Bush tax cuts when they controlled the White House and
Congress. The health care act passed when Democrats had similar
control. One-party rule can lead to extreme acts. Undoing those actions
could demonstrate - and generate - some badly needed functionality and
domestic harmony and tranquility, the pursuit of which would be most
appropriate in keeping with this season.
Jahncke heads the Townsend Group, a business consulting firm in
Greenwich and is a regular contributor to The Day.
FRIDAY, December 22 and 23, 2011
- and well
is the last refuge of nincompoop
12/22/2011 12:00 AM
12/21/2011 11:50 PM
Is George Lucas
writing the script for the U.S. Senate? Did any of these distinguished
gentlemen stop to consider that they would grant to the president
(commander in chief of the armed forces) the authority to detain,
without charge or legal recourse, the entire Senate? Patriotism truly
is the last refuge of the nincompoop.
intentions aside, history teaches that the practical intent of power is
decided by those who wield it, not by those who granted it, and this
bill comes terrifyingly close to consolidating power in the hands of a
single branch of government. Particularly troubling is the denial of
habeas corpus to citizens, which removes the ability of any but the
most activist of supreme courts to challenge its constitutionality.
is deeply troubling that the only thing our dysfunctional Congress
seems able to agree upon is a means to rob the citizenry of our fourth
amendment rights. Keeping these protections from terrorists is an
admirable goal which I support wholeheartedly, but this provision is a
misguided attempt at doing so, and must not pass into law.
tremble at the vast potential for abuse held by this provision, and
given the physical might of this great nation, the world should tremble
MONDAY through WEDNESDAY, December 19 through 21, 2011
news. It will only thwart the will of the majority, whatever that
is. And this still is...or should be...a
government of majority rule.
a third-party try
12/22/2011 12:00 AM
12/21/2011 11:50 PM
presidential candidates have never come close to gaining election in
the last hundred years - Theodore Roosevelt lost in 1912, George
Wallace in 1968, John Anderson in 1980, H. Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996
and Ralph Nader in every race since 1996 - but they have often served
as spoilers for the Democratic or Republican in the race.
that capacity they sometimes have helped defeat the candidate more
closely aligned with their interests: the conservative Mr. Perot ruined
Republican George H.W. Bush's re-election bid in 1992, opening the door
for Democrat Bill Clinton; Mr. Nader, a left-leaning consumer advocate,
helped Republican George W. Bush beat Democrat Al Gore in 2000.
a privately financed group called Americans Elect is organizing an
online effort to run a third-party candidate for the White House. Given
the general dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama and any of his
would-be GOP challengers, along with the influence social media and
Internet communication have had on such movements as Arab Spring and
Occupy Wall Street, the major parties should sit up and take notice.
Monday, after submitting the signatures of more than 1 million
registered voters, Americans Elect won a spot on the 2012 ballot in
California - the 12th state in its drive to get slots on all 50 by
Election Day. Also on board are Arkansas, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado,
Florida, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio and Utah.
movement plans to nominate a ticket through online balloting in June.
Only former Republican Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, a relative
political lightweight, has expressed an interest in an Americans Elect
Elect would vastly prefer someone like New York Mayor Michael R.
Bloomberg or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
ready-made ability to get on most and perhaps all state ballots could
invite a late entry into the race. Gov. Christie appears unlikely. If
viewed as a spoiler that helps re-elect President Obama, he could ruin
his future in the Republican Party nationally. On the other hand Mayor
Bloomberg, who could finance much of his own campaign, could prove a
this newspaper welcomes any effort to engage voters, we also urge
Americans Elect to identify the source of its $30 million campaign. Its
chairman is Peter Ackerman, a Wall Street financier who worked with
junk-bond trader Michael Milken at Drexel Burnham Lambert in the 1980s,
giving us pause.
the movement suggests that in the digital age conventional assumptions,
such as third-party candidates have no shot, may no longer hold true.
SUNDAY, December 18, 2011
falls into the "the more things change, the more they stay the same"
file...but it DID make me laugh!
SATURDAY, December 17, 2011
occurs to me that,
since I commented on Islam in a recent Rapid Response, I
re-post my own understanding of that great Religion, such as it is.
ISLAM – A PERSONAL STUDY
ISLAM. As a
Christian and before the events since the late 1980’s, my knowledge of
interest in Islam and the Muslim world were cursory at best. I am not proud of such ignorance; it’s just
fact. All of that changed on 9/11/2001…and
by March of 2003 I had begun to share my quest for insight into that
humanity – and America’s role in that part of the world – through the
of the section entitled “Rapid Response: Daily Commentary On News Of
on my web-site (www.asthma-drsprecace.com).
Now, hundreds of thousands of lost lives later,
lead me toward a conclusion that America is engaged in the wrong
the wrong place and time and for the wrong reasons.
We always retain the right to self-defense
(including pre-emptive self-defense) and the right to pursue our vital
self-interests. But we are wrong to try
to impose our views of democracy and universal human rights on other
different cultures. We should offer;
and, if the offer is accepted, we should facilitate such actions. But we should not and cannot impose such
views on an alien population by force and coercion.
At the very least, it is a fool’s
errand. It greatly
weakens our own nation. It is also immoral.
As suggestions for those who would pursue their
personal study, I offer the following:
- “Islam – A Short History”,
by Karen Armstrong, The Modern Library, New York, 2000;
- “A Dangerous Delusion: We Go To
War To Defend Our Interests, Not To Encourage Democracy”,
by Andrew McCarthy, National Review, Sept. 4, 2009;
- “To Beat Al Qaeda, Look To The
East”, by Scott Atran, NYTimes Sunday, December 13, 2009, Sunday
Opinion, Wk p11; Ethics”.
- Point and Counterpoint
Offering #26 on my web site under “Abortion, Morality and Ethics.
The following are some highly abbreviated
gleaned from the above and from other continuing readings:
- For thousands of years, the
people of the Arabian Peninsula developed within tribes, tribalism and
- In the seventh century A.D., the
Prophet Muhammad offered through Divine Revelation and personal
experience a monotheistic Faith build directly on that of his Hebrew
and Christian forefathers. His was a
religion of Peace, Equality, Tolerance, Compassion and Justice. Furthermore, these goals were to be pursued
and achieved within the daily living community and its political life,
and not to be sequestered in some austere and separate religious life.
- The first Muslim experience with
Jews and some Christians was when this new Faith of Islam was ridiculed
and shunned by them in Medina during his lifetime.
The next Muslim experience with The West and with
Christianity was during the Crusades, which destroyed Jerusalem and its
inhabitants – the third most holy place for Muslims, then and now.
- The Colonial Era produced nothing
but misery and confusion for the Islamic world…until the discovery of
Oil enabled some of their own leaders to prey upon the people. A prime example was the Royal Family of Saudi
Arabia, which in the 1930’s asserted its primacy over the world of
Islam and imposed strict tenets of Wahhabism over all Muslims…thereby
enhancing its control.
- Meanwhile, the Muslim world
witnessed the secular and irreligious West nearly destroy itself during
the 20th century through two great wars and a prolonged Cold
War. The West became more and more
secular, anti-religious and decadent in the eyes of Muslims…who as
always did not compartmentalize their Faith from their community and
politics, but rather saw their Faith as being entirely woven into the
fabric of their society. And what they
witnessed and had personally experienced was not a high-minded
Jeffersonian democracy, but rather the immorality and unjust plunder of
an unfettered marketplace, totally alien to their community life and to
their Faith. Then came the TV and the
Internet, not our shining moment.
- And the vast majority of Muslims
are having none of it. Although there is
great debate within Islam regarding the role of military Jihad and
especially of terrorism, they are in the main “Islamists”.
What is “Islamism”? In the
description of Andrew McCarthy: “It is the belief that Islam is not
merely a religious creed but a comprehensive guide to human
existence, conformity to which is obligatory, that governs all matters
political, social, cultural, and religious, from cradle to grave and
beyond”. A far cry from Western
secularism and its “Freedom from Religion”.
Is it any wonder, then, that the West
personified by that “Great Satan”) is losing everywhere in its poorly
battle against…what? This is a
war against terrorism directed against us.
It cannot be a war against Muslims or Islam, against their way
or their Religion. And regardless of the
ambivalence toward or actual opposition to the tools of terrorism on
of the vast majority of Muslims, any “free”, Western-style elections in
nations of Islam (if that were possible) would very likely produce
the proponents of “Islamism”.
So, what is our goal in that part of the
world? We had better figure that
out soon, and in
conformity with the above facts on the ground, before we as a nation
George A. Sprecace, M.D., J.D.
FRIDAY, December 16, 2011
atheists' favorite atheist, is dead. I believe that he will rest
God. And here's why. Agnostics are thinking and searching
people. Atheists are, in my opinion, certifiable...and as with
mentally ill persons...they are children of God.
Besides, I'm willing to bet that the last words he uttered to himself
his last breath were:
"THANK GOD I DIED AN ATHEIST."
THURSDAY, December 14 & 15, 2011
Now for another
of "Around The World In Eighty Opinions.
States. Ditto. The
first test comes in November of 2012.
Are we a nation of independents or of dependents? Thereafter, a
Constitutional Convention must be convened to consider Amendments that
re-calibrate our government to the needs of this century...beginning
we select and elect our leaders. For details on how to address
several serious pending problems facing our nation now, please see the
positions of Newt Gingrich. There is a "truth-teller".
- Australia. Now
there's a nation and a people that we can really bond with. And
their strategic geography down under within a hotbed of Islamic
countries doesn't hurt either. Glad to see that we recently
enhanced our military presence there.
- Myanmar. What's
that about? Besides supporting the Nobel Prize winning patriot
who suffered house arrest for years under the despotic government
there, do we have a chance for democratic influence in that same part
of the globe.
- Meanwhile, India has
to some extent replaced China as the "inscrutable" one. But India
has two advantages for us: it is an English speaking democracy that
sends its bright children here to out-perform us; and it is a useful
counter-weight to unstable Pakistan.
- China. We can
live and work with them...so long as we don't try to change their
government or their "ethics". Let their own people do that, in a
- Japan. We're
bound at the hip with them...and a good thing it is. They have
become a worthy ally.
- South Korea.
- Pakistan. Like
carrying around a bottle of nitroglycerin...very carefully.
- Afghanistan. It's
in our strategic national interests to maintain a strong military and
economic presence there...however we justify it. The geography is
just too important. Just look at the map.
- Russia. Always
an adversary: their choice.
- Iran. A
dangerous mixture of secular Islam and a client of Russia.
- Islam. It
would appear that a purely religious Islam is an oxymoron. But
the critical question is: Is there a Moderate Islam? If
not, we're heading for another World War.
- Iraq. It was right
to invade and overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime. Rumsfeld was
wrong to address the challenge on the cheap, with much unnecessary loss
of life and limb. It would be wrong for us not to maintain a
substantial military presence in that country or in the immediate area,
since now Iraq could easily become a failed State ready for takeover by
Iran. I hope that the current ruffles and flourishes about getting out
if Iraq are just that.
- The Arab Spring will
degenerate into a very hot Summer if democracy does not replace
militant and secular Islam.
- Israel. Consistent
with guaranteed self-defense and national progress..."He who seeks
equity must do equity".
- Turkey. Yes, a
secular and moderate Islam can exist and thrive, with the proper
leadership and a firm internal hand. Thank God for Turkey.
- The Eastern European
Countries are once again in danger of becoming pawns in
the eternal chess game between the West and Russia. That would be
outrageous and immoral.
- The nations of Western Europe
are reaping the results of Socialism, not as virulent a form as
occurred in the former Soviet Union, but just as deadly in time...and
not too much time at that. There is no substitute for freedom,
for individual initiative and for the right to succeed or to fail and
- England. At risk!
Wake up, folks.
TUESDAY, December 13, 2011
CHRISTMAS STORY 1964, USS SAM HOUSTON, SSBN 609 HOLY LOCH, SCOTLAND.
Christmas Story from
It was mid-December 1964 and it was as cold as one would expect
to be at that time of the year. We boarded the buses and after a
were on our way to Quonset Point Naval Air Station where an aircraft
take us to Scotland. We were going back a few days early this
idea was to relieve the other crew so they could get home for
The faces of the men betrayed their remorse at leaving home at
of the year. There was little of the usual horseplay and chatter
normally enjoyed on these trips. Instead, the men stared out the
reflecting on the price they and their families paid for the security
nation. Children would rush downstairs on Christmas morning to
bounty of presents. Their fathers would share that precious
unaware that somewhere out in the worlds oceans, other fathers, crammed
cylinder of steel, kept watch over the delicate world peace. On
watch, there was peace on earth.
always amused me. I chuckled watching men who would take a
boat to test depth and think nothing of it, grip the armrest so hard
knuckles turned white. They sat rigid with their heads back and
eyes closed, perhaps making peace with their maker, while the plane
climbed out into the morning sunshine. In a few minutes we had
our altitude and leveled out. Almost immediately, I noticed a
the guys begin to move around the plane having conferences with first
and then another. Soon they approached us with their proposition.
They proposed that although we had our duty to do we need not
our customs and traditions. We couldn't be home for Christmas
kids but we could share with others. There was an orphanage in
with children in need of what we had to give. Soon the hat was
monies collected, plans made and duties assigned. The
the flight seemed more relaxed, and it was not long before I heard
question the masculinity of a Nav ET. I knew then that all was
we arrived in Holy Loch the usual change of command process went
forward with a greater sense of urgency than usual. Clearly the
crew wanted to go home. In no time the process was complete and
the boat. When the opportunity for liberty came along we
committee to the orphanage and they returned with a list of children
be invited aboard for Christmas dinner. The list included their
age and gender. Each child was assigned to a "Daddy for the
Day" who was charged with escorting them around the boat and
them to all functions. It's funny, but although I have not been
put a name to the faces of the men who organized this event, I still
the name of the child I looked after that day. Angus Naylor.
second committee, armed with the list that indicated age and gender,
shopping for Christmas presents for the Children. Soon the local
merchants became aware of what we were doing and our money went much
than we had estimated. Our men returned with a huge supply of
Instead of the usual movie we spent one evening wrapping the
The role of Santa Claus went to our Hospital Corpsman,
known as "The Quack".
liberty launch brought the kids out and that in itself was a thrill for
them. Some were scared and others mischievous. We gave them
of the boat, then took them to the crews mess where they enjoyed
best Christmas dinner of their lives. After dinner they were
treated to a
Walt Disney movie. The Amazing Mr. Limpet, starring Don Knotts.
When the movie was over, we took them up to the periscope stand
Quack was decked out in an ill-fitting Santa Claus suit. He had a
of helpers in some form of costume. This was when we discovered
British Children believe in Father Christmas, not Santa Claus.
One of the
guys quickly explained we had invited our American Santa Claus to come
especially for them. As the child sat in Santa's lap the Quack
their name and then repeat it loud enough for his helpers to hear it.
This would send the helpers frantically searching among the huge
presents to locate the ones intended for this child, who was kept
answering the usual questions concerning their behavior during the
When found, a present would be placed in Santa's hand. He
present it to the child while the two of them smiled at the camera.
end, each child received about three presents and a picture of
the most ridiculous looking Santa Claus.
it was time for them to go and the tears began to flow. Tiny
little girls held tightly to their "Daddies" and cried out that they
wanted to stay. Everyone was affected. We escorted them
presents back to the tender where the liberty launches waited to return
the cold reality that we had given them temporary respite from.
launch pulled away the children waved and all the "Daddies" waved
farewell to them as I had seen them do to their own children a few
before. It was not lost on me that here were men who wielded on
most powerful warships ever conceived, who struck fear in the Russian
who could unleash an attack never before seen on Earth. There, at
moment, these warriors of the deep wiped tears from their eyes; and
MONDAY, December 12, 2011
ONCE AGAIN ON POINT, LIKE A LASER!
Campaign For Class Resentment", in The Day (www.theday.com) Friday, Dec. 9,
SUNDAY, December 11, 2011
that both Democrats and Establishment Republicans are "whistling as
go by the cemetery". Newt Gingrich articulates...and actually
believes in...positions that this nation absolutely needs at this time
crisis. And that is terrorizing the power purveyors of the status
quo. Furthermore, "the people" are actually beginning to
"get it". And the more Gingrich's detractors emphasize who he
allegedly was rather than who is today, the stronger he will get.
The Presidential Election of 2012 continues to be entirely one for the
Republicans to lose; and they they are doing a great job of it so far.
puzzles critics of his record
CHARLES BABINGTON | AP – Fri, Dec 9, 2011
(AP) — Newt Gingrich's rapid rise in presidential polls has left
veteran Republicans scratching their heads, and not just because he
vaulted from far back to lead Mitt Romney in several key states.
trying to figure out why the former House speaker is supported by GOP
voters who think he's not particularly honest and doesn't share their
values. They're puzzled that Iowa evangelical Christians are flocking
to a man who was unfaithful to two wives, paid $300,000 in House ethics
fines and converted to Roman Catholicism.
surprised that Republican voters say they value Gingrich's experience
far more than that of his rivals. Gingrich's record of earning millions
of dollars in the government influence business, after 20 years in
Congress, seems to upend the notion that this election cycle is driven
by tea partyers' hostility to Washington insiders.
can't decipher what's going on," said Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., one the
tea party's best-known first-term lawmakers.
had a little trouble figuring it out, too," said Rep. Steve King,
R-Iowa, one of Congress' most conservative members.
the perplexity are three independent polls of Iowa Republicans, who
will hold their caucus Jan. 3. They show Gingrich leading, with Romney
and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas battling for second, and four others
elected officials and strategists offer an array of theories, with
varying degrees of confidence.
school holds that Gingrich articulates conservative positions so
forcefully that he attracts hard-right voters willing to overlook his
record of inconsistencies and foibles. While many people see Gingrich
as a consummate Washington insider -- making $1.6 million advising
Freddie Mac, for instance -- his sharply anti-Washington rhetoric and
unorthodox views convince others that he's willing to buck the system
and make needed changes.
theory, however, suggests that many Republicans simply don't know much
about Gingrich, 68, whose greatest political triumph was 17 years ago
when he rose to become House speaker. Voters may be unaware of his
repeated clashes with fellow Republicans, or his 1995 complaint about
being seated in the back of Air Force One. Gingrich said the "snub"
contributed to that year's budget impasse with President Bill Clinton
and the unpopular government shutdown that followed.
Gingrich, "the message resonates more than the record," said Mark
Meckler, a co-founder of Tea Party Patriots. Gingrich is skilled at
synthesizing and expressing conservatives' goals and anger, Meckler
said. But he also has "a long history that's hard to explain away."
that's true, it's possible the attacks being launched against Gingrich,
mainly by Paul and groups backing Romney, will take a big toll before
the Iowa caucus and the Jan. 10 New Hampshire primary.
also possible, some GOP analysts say, that the attacks will endear
Gingrich to conservatives more than ever. Romney has struggled for
months to rise above 30 percent in Republican horserace polls.
obvious hunger for a non-Romney candidate could anoint Gingrich if he's
the last rival standing after others have fallen.
and questions raised by the three polls of Iowa Republicans include:
surveys for The Des Moines Register and New York Times-CBS News showed
Gingrich with an overwhelming lead on the question of which Republican
has the best experience to be president and handle world crises.
raises serious doubts about Romney's strategy. The former one-term
Massachusetts governor says his decades as a businessman are preferable
to the background of someone who "has spent the last 40 years in
campaign this week brought out former congressional colleagues of
Gingrich who said he was divisive and erratic in his four years as
his toughest critics generally praise Gingrich for leading the 1994 GOP
takeover of the House. But they note that his tempestuous time as party
leader led to a failed Republican coup attempt in 1997, and then his
departure from office after the disappointing 1998 elections.
Gingrich critics are trying to remind voters that he has favored bank
bailouts, an individual mandate to buy health insurance and a
bipartisan push to combat climate change. They highlight the millions
of dollars he made in the Washington influence world, including his
contract with Freddie Mac, a mortgage backer he publicly criticized.
decades in Congress, followed by big paychecks from special interest
groups, would hardly seem the type of resume embraced by tea party
activists. But King, the Iowa conservative, said staunch conservatives
know that some level of government experience is needed to change
anti-Washington part of the tea party seems to have diminished a little
bit," King said. "They've become more sophisticated. They have a better
understanding of how Washington works."
Times-CBS poll asked Iowa Republicans to name the candidate that best
represents "the values you try to live by." Rep. Michele Bachmann, Paul
and Romney were bunched near the top, although no one was chosen by
more than 19 percent of the respondents. Gingrich finished fourth, at
Washington Post-ABC News poll found that only 13 percent of likely Iowa
caucusgoers see Gingrich as the most honest and trustworthy in the
field, also a fourth-place showing. Yet Gingrich easily leads on the
"who would you vote for" question.
may have struck a nerve with voters by saying the 2012 election against
President Barack Obama will be a campaign of ideas. Curt Levey, who
heads the conservative Committee for Justice, said Gingrich recently
told a private gathering of activists in Washington, "Don't support me,
support my ideas."
the Des Moines Register poll, Gingrich finished sixth on the question
of which candidate is "most likeable." But he was the overwhelming
choice as "best debater." He has challenged Obama to seven three-hour
debates in the Lincoln-Douglas mold.
politicians sometimes roll their eyes when Gingrich unspools yet
another round of ideas, which have included "a massive new program to
build a permanent lunar colony to exploit the Moon's resources."
Republicans, at least for now, seem drawn to his intellect and ideas.
the Times-CBS poll in Iowa, Gingrich held a 2-to-1 lead over his
nearest rival, Paul, among white evangelicals. He held a 3-to-1 lead
over Romney, a Mormon.
acknowledged infidelities and two divorces are well documented. He was
having an affair with a House staffer, now his wife, when he pushed for
Clinton's impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
latest TV ad notes that he has been married to the same woman for 42
years. Republican strategists are divided on the likely impact of such
messages. Some think religious conservatives will turn against Gingrich
when they learn more details of his past. Others think these voters
might embrace Gingrich's story of contrition and hoped-for redemption.
the Times-CBS poll, nearly half of Iowa Republicans said it's more
important to pick a nominee who can beat Obama than to have one who
agrees with them on the issues. Gingrich has a 23-point lead among
these voters: 43 percent to Romney's 20 percent.
most polls show Obama faring better against Gingrich than against
Romney in hypothetical match-ups in key states. The findings puzzle
some GOP insiders.
sometimes express conflicting views, they note. And voters might
believe Gingrich is stronger, or will become stronger, than the polls
the tea party activist, thinks close and literal readings of the Iowa
poll results can give a misleading picture of the contest. He also
noted that Rudy Giuliani led the GOP field at this point four years
ago, only to collapse.
thinks many Republicans are embracing Gingrich's robust attacks on
institutions they dislike, such as the news media and congressional
wheeling and dealing.
way he pushes back against the press is very appealing to a lot of
people," Meckler said. "People feel like he speaks for them."
Gingrich used "stupid" to describe the bipartisan "supercommittee,"
which failed to break the political logjam on deficit spending, he
expressed "our feelings exactly," Meckler said. "We knew it would fail.
It was fake."
said such bombastic, anti-establishment language helps Gingrich obscure
his history of cutting deals and pushing agendas as a lawmaker and
well-paid consultant. "There is a disconnect between that and his
long-term record," Meckler said.
goal in the next few weeks, either directly or through third parties,
is to make that connection for voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond.
"is not a reliable or trustworthy leader," Jim Talent, a Republican who
served with Gingrich in the House, said in a Romney-sponsored
conference call Thursday.
campaign will test whether conservative voters will overlook such barbs
and embrace Gingrich's ideas and in-your-face rhetoric.
Deputy Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.
LIE..AND LIARS FIGURE". GS
further review, there is no proof of a near-poor spike
12/10/2011 12:00 AM
12/09/2011 03:35 PM
A recent census report appeared to suggest that the nation has a huge
segment of its population hovering near poverty. It was a striking
piece of information, one I reported on in my column. Unfortunately,
it's not accurate.
The U.S. Census Bureau report featured a new poverty assessment formula
called the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). Creating the furor was
one poorly designed graphic indicating that the nation's population of
"near-poor" is much larger than previously thought.
The information caused a small stampede into print, one that drew much
media attention, ranging from the venerable New York Times to this
The offending graphic employs a side-by-side comparison of two bar
graphs, a format that normally involves apples-to-apples analysis. It
shows the U.S. population of 306 million broken into brackets of
What leaps off the page is the difference in the "near poor" bracket,
those whose incomes are one to two times above the poverty line. Using
the new measure that number of near poor is 31.8 percent, compared to
18.8 percent using the long-standing official measure. That's 97
million citizens versus 58 million.
Developed in the 1960s, the official measure fails to account for the
impact of the many anti-poverty programs launched since then. It is
based on "the cost of a minimum diet multiplied by three (to allow for
expenditures on other goods and services)"; and household income
includes only "before-tax cash income."
The formula misses in-kind assistance, such as food stamps, a $50
billion program, and many housing subsidies. The new SPM measure
captures these previously overlooked in-kind assistance programs.
But why the seeming huge increase in citizens considered near poverty?
A closer examination shows that while the new SPM measure is
undoubtedly better, it is also different, a fact camouflaged by the
misleading apples-to-apples format of the Census report graphic.
SPM income, it turns out, is an after-tax figure, while the official
poverty measure of income is a pre-tax number. No wonder there was a
seemingly big change.
Obviously, the two are very different. As household income increases,
the household qualifies for fewer anti-poverty programs and pays an
increasing amount of taxes (FICA and income taxes). So, taxes represent
the major difference between the two bar graphs.
For example, consider a household with pretax income of $50,000, or
more than twice the poverty threshold. Assuming a combined FICA and
income tax rate of 20 percent, this equates to after-tax income of
$40,000, or less than twice the poverty threshold - dropping the
household into the enlarged "near poor" population. Nothing changed in
the household's economic circumstances; it dropped solely as the result
of a change in poverty measurement methodology.
This statistical warping does not exist at very low levels of income,
when households pay little or no taxes. In fact, both the official
poverty measure and the new SPM measure arrive at approximately the
same figure for the poverty line: $22,113 for a family of four under
the traditional formula and $24,343 using SPM.
Just to be sure I wasn't missing something I spoke with Census
statisticians. I came away convinced that the tax differential is the
predominant factor responsible for the much greater number of people
being captured within the SPM bracket of up to twice the poverty rate,
or near poor.
In my rush to share the census data I bought into the rise in poverty
angle, a sin shared by the New York Times, but one it has not conceded
to. While the population of low-income citizens has certainly grown
over the last three years, it has not skyrocketed in some previously
unrecognized way based upon any sea change in the economic
Basing decisions on the deceptive graphic would lead to bad policy.
Policymakers need to take a closer look, as I did.
Red Jahncke heads the Townsend Group, a business consulting firm in
Greenwich and is a regular contributor to The Day.
FRIDAY, December 9, 2011
SPEECHLESS...except to invoke that famous movie line: STUPIDO, STUPIDO,
London board takes no action on raising academic standards
12/08/2011 12:00 AM
12/08/2011 10:10 PM
London — The Board of Education took no action Thursday on a policy it
is considering, which would raise the academic requirements of students
participating in extra-curricular activities.
proposed policy would require students to maintain a 1.7 grade-point
average, which is a low C grade, to participate in clubs, athletics and
athletes would have to earn a 1.7 GPA at the beginning of each season.
Currently, the school abides by the Connecticut Interscholastic
Athletic Conference rules, which require students to maintain a 0.66
GPA to be eligible to compete.
board, which has four new members, voted 6-1 to send the item back to
the policy committee for further discussion and review. Board president
William Morse was in favor of moving the policy forward as it was
Newt Gingrich relishes role of antagonist
THOMAS BEAUMONT | AP – Wed, Dec 7, 2011.
Iowa (AP) — Newt Gingrich grinned as he pledged to dog President Barack
Obama at every turn and from coast to coast next year if he's the
White House will be my scheduler, and wherever the president goes, I
will show up four hours later to respond to his speech," the GOP
presidential candidate said wryly on a recent visit to Iowa.
in unison, the 500 Iowa Republicans crowded into the banquet hall rose
from their seats applauding, for there he was — the tested antagonist
that Republicans here have been craving to go toe to toe with the
looking for Ulysses S. Grant. And Newt Gingrich is the only one who has
said we need to attack," said Craig Bergman, a Des Moines Republican
who had been leaning toward Gingrich recently — and was hooked after
last week's speech.
there's any one reason that may explain Gingrich's sharp rise in Iowa,
where he now leads in polls, it's this: Republicans, in Iowa at least,
are aching for an attack dog candidate in the effort to beat Obama.
prospective Republican caucusgoers, who are looking for a fighter
prepared to go up against the well-funded, politically deft and
oratorically gifted Obama, have gravitated to other GOP candidates not
shy about lobbing verbal bombs at Obama — Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry
and Herman Cain among them. But those candidates have either faded or
dropped out. In Donald Trump's case, he never ran but his
no-holds-barred criticism of the president helped him briefly rise to
the top of national polls.
pitched battles with Democratic President Bill Clinton while he was
House speaker serve as an important reminder to GOP voters that he's
challenged the opposition at its highest level. But, should he win the
GOP nomination, he will have to do more than rally a frustrated GOP
base; he will have to convince swing voters he can lead a worried
Jim Dyke, a former Republican National Committee communication director
now based in South Carolina, put it: "He's been a chief antagonist in
the past, so that certainly gives him credibility. ... But we're not
voting for chief antagonist. We're voting for president."
however, the candidate must get through the GOP nomination race.
less than a month until the leadoff Iowa caucuses, Gingrich's
reputation as a bulldog is setting up a key stylistic contrast to
former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is focusing largely on
Obama's handling of the economy in his second bid for the GOP
with Romney, Gingrich seems more at home in the role of adversary. And
he doesn't simply note his disagreements with Obama. He casts himself
as the Democrat's philosophical opposite.
is an Alinsky radical," Gingrich told The Associated Press last week,
calling Obama a disciple of Saul Alinsky, the late left-wing activist
from Chicago. "And I am an American exceptionalist. He believes in
fundamentally undermining the America we inherited. I believe in
fundamentally rebuilding the America we inherited."
look at the past illustrates Gingrich's knack for confrontation.
was the engineer of the Republicans' 1994 House takeover. By 1995 and
1996, he was engaging in an epic battle with Clinton; the federal
government shut down twice after the Democratic president and
Republican-led Congress could not agree on a budget deal.
the 68-year-old Gingrich has not mellowed in his tendency for inviting
sweeping confrontation, recently telling an audience of Texas
conservatives, "I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the
struggle over the nature of America, by the time (my grandchildren) are
my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one
dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it
once meant to be an American."
also is working to turn his own perceived weaknesses into points of
contrast with Obama. The Republican, for example, is facing criticism
for supporting legal status for longtime, law-abiding illegal
immigrants with community ties. But he didn't hesitate to assail the
Obama administration for suing South Carolina over an immigration law.
a simple way to think of it: President Obama sided with Mexico. I would
side with South Carolina," he said last week in Charleston, S.C.
mindful that he can sometimes take his attacks too far, Gingrich is
seeking to emphasize his softer side in his campaign advertisements. In
his first TV commercial in Iowa, he promotes "working together" and
"respecting one another" while making an upbeat call for unity.
so, his provocation of Obama thrills partisan audiences — at least the
one last week at the Polk County Republicans' annual fundraiser in
he's the nominee, Gingrich said, he will invite Obama to debate seven
times in the three-hour Lincoln-Douglas style and added, "How does a
Columbia, Harvard law graduate, editor of the law review, greatest
orator in the Democratic Party, look in the mirror and say he's afraid
to stand on the same platform with a West Georgia College professor?"
with that playful taunt, Gingrich had his audience.
WEDNESDAY, December 5 through 7, 2011
What an appropriate message for the Christmas
any season. The gift of a child is the most direct gift from God. This
regardless of the child's condition or infirmities. In fact, a child
infirmities is an opportunity for the parents to achieve for their
lives more than they ever thought possible. By contrast, the choice of
is one of the most grave repudiations of God's love for each of us as
We cannot earn Heaven by our actions: that is
to us. But we can certainly refuse it. That is the challenge of another
Free Will. Think about that. GS
ZENIT, The world
seen from Rome
No Detecting the Joy Awaiting
Founder of Advocacy
Group on Her Book A Special Mother Is
By Kathleen Naab
Connecticut, DEC. 6, 2011 (Zenit.org).- A
prenatal test released a few weeks ago is being hailed (in some
the end of Down syndrome. The implication, of course, is that if
discover more quickly and easily that their unborn child has Down, they
opt for abortion.
that already in the vast majority of
cases (more than nine out of 10), abortion is the route parents choose
currently available reveal their child has the condition. So an easier,
test could indeed mean the end -- not for Down syndrome itself, but for
who carry it.
considers this a grave mistake.
Velasquez is the co-founder of KIDS (Keep Infants with Down Syndrome),
the mother of Christina, who has the condition.
Velasquez released A Special Mother Is Born,
which tells the story of 34 people -- mostly moms, and a few dads too
have embraced a special-needs child as a gift.
ZENIT spoke with
Velasquez about her book and what these
special-needs kids -- and their families -- need most.
ZENIT: You probably
saw the news about a new test that
will be the end of Down syndrome. What are your comments on it?
Velasquez: The new
test, MaterniT21, does pose a serious
threat to the lives of many more unborn babies with Down syndrome.
statistic in the Archives of Diseases in Childhood: Due to the trend of
having children later in life, between 1989-2005, it was
that there would be a 15% increase in babies born with Down syndrome.
there was a 34% decrease. This means there was an effective decrease of
births of babies with Down syndrome in that period, due to prenatal
abortion. The abortion rate for babies diagnosed with Down syndrome is
currently 92% in the U.S. and higher in Europe. Once MaterniT21, a
blood test which is done at 10 weeks, with 99% accuracy, is widely
available, many more women will know if they are carrying a child with
syndrome. If current trends persist, the abortion rate of these
If the test is paid
for by [President Barack Obama's
health care reform package], as Health and Human Services Secretary
Sebelius recommended recently, most women will opt to take the test. If
abortion rate holds steady, then we could expect that abortion number
precipitously. In addition, the idea of an abortion at 12 weeks is less
abhorrent to women than an abortion at 22 weeks, when the results of
tests are available.
In order to combat
this trend, we have to focus on the
opportunity that an early diagnosis presents to the medical community.
longer is a woman forced to make a rapid decision before a legal
deadline of 24
weeks for late term abortion, so there is no need to rush such a
life-or-death decision. Now the mother has plenty of time to learn
true nature of life with Down syndrome: the amazing array of free
medical treatments for common problems such as heart defects; the
for education through college; and inclusion in everyday community
An important survey
published by Dr. Skotko in the
American Journal of Medical Genetics shows a 99% rate of
experienced by families of people with Down syndrome, as well as a 99%
their children being happy with themselves. Researchers say within 10
there will be a drug available that will make their learning
memory completely normal. There has never been a better time in history
born with Down syndrome. Doctors owe their patients this type of
information, and it's my goal to make sure they have access
We also have to
re-evaluate what it means to be a parent.
Are we looking to create a clone of ourselves or fulfill our own dreams
our children? Author Amy Julia Becker wrote A Good and Perfect Gift
having her daughter Penny with Down syndrome. She says in Time
to Princeton, I graduated Phi Beta Kappa, I have always been smart. I
realize how much I assumed I'd have a daughter just like me. Having
really challenged me to rethink what it means to be a whole and full
ZENIT: Tell us about
how you selected the profiles in
your book. Were there many more to choose from than those who made it
Special Mother Is Born?
compiling stories for the book, I looked
for parents who understood that their special-needs children were
gifts to their families, and the larger community. Some were writers,
were personal friends, but all of these people understood that they
to an extraordinary commitment to parenthood. They understand
parenting such a child is to be a sign of contradiction to
which rejects these children at an increasing rate. They understand
that the call to parent a special-needs child is a
invitation to grow in life-giving love. The most moving aspect of this
these life-changing lessons were learned from children who could not
this verbally, they merely taught their families by their example of
visited disabled youth in Madrid this
summer and said, Because the Son of God wanted freely to embrace
death, we we are also capable of seeing God's image in the face of
who suffer. This preferential love of the Lord for the suffering helps
see others more clearly and to give them, above and beyond their
demands, the look of love which they need.
ZENIT: Your book
brought me to tears many times, but this
collection is not an appeal to sentiments (or not only that). What is
what do you hope it to be?
Velasquez: I want my
readers to see the glory of a life
fully lived, in the irresistible beauty of a life lived in
the power of
our faith. That is what makes these stories so profound: God's
been permitted to shine powerfully in the lives of these parents
families by their surrender to his will. Once God has overtaken a
capacity to love expands, and we who witness it say, See how
love one another? I hope to inspire those who fear such surrender --
of us do -- to take the plunge and trust God's will for us when love
sacrifice. After all, what is more challenging than the illness or
death of a
ZENIT: Do you
consider these stories only for Christians?
Velasquez: No, I
have heard parents of other faiths
discuss the extraordinary spiritual gifts of special-needs
is a film about a Jewish youth endowed
spiritual gifts called Praying With Lior. Many parents of special-needs
children will recognize this about their own children, regardless of
faith tradition. I merely wanted to write a book focusing on the
richness of our Catholic faith from the perspective to whom much is
ZENIT: Though not a
resource manual, the book includes a
list of resources at the end that is varied and extensive, even a board
for toddlers. Are resources what these families need most?
Velasquez: No, we
need far more than resources. We need a
society that welcomes our children with open arms, not one that
right to exist. I offer resources and inspirational stories to
parents in their journey of giving birth to a special-needs
they, and the authors of the book, strive to create this culture of
together. Many of my contributors offer their personal support to such
ZENIT: So what would
you say is the one thing that
mothers of special-needs children need to know when faced with the
Velasquez: I quote
the co-founder of Keep Infants with Down Syndrome (KIDS), Eileen Haupt,
who says in her story of her daughter Sadie, born with Down syndrome.
The doctors can tell you your child's diagnosis, but they cannot tell
you the joy your child will bring you. Ninety nine percent of people
with Down syndrome say they are happy with their lives; as a parent,
having a happy child who gets to heaven is my goal. My daughter
Christina at age 9, is already well on her way.
SUNDAY, December 4, 2011
follows is part
of a discussion with my son Perrin regarding the State of the Union.
Perrin, we'll take this from the top.
- Your description of "society" is right
- I hope that the key point regarding
the reported rape is that the victim refused to press charges.
That ties everybody's hands, except for some on-the-spot rough
justice. But if the crowd refused to report it despite the
victim's publicized charge, I believe that even in Common Law
they would also be complicit and chargeable.
Line: Things are going to have to get
worse before they start getting better. If Obama and his gang are
re-elected in 2012, they will certainly get worse...perhaps to a
mass. If real Republicans with conservative principles and balls
may be able to limp out of this situation within a few years.
pray...and work like hell as best we can to influence the
- I'm not sure I follow your position
regarding election financing. I'm against the current situation
wherein even the Presidency of the United States can be bought and
sold, as is happening right now in preparation for 2012. And
it's being done by both Parties and their members. The difference
between a legal donation and a corrupt and illegal "donation" is the
production of a "quid pro quo" between the parties involved. The
magnitude of the contributions now involved, especially regarding the
legal "person" called the corporation, virtually guarantees a "quid pro
quo" and should be rendered illegal. Especially after the Supreme
Court decision of last year on the subject, changing that will require
a Constitutional Amendment. Likewise, the absence of statutory
term limits, together with the House and Senate seniority rules for
accumulating power, not only mints new multi-millionaires among those
"honorables" over the years, but also produces the corruption of too
much power. That also would require a Constitutional Amendment to
correct. Ergo, my position. Had the Occupy Wall Street crowds
articulated that position...against the Wall Street crooks and against
their Washington handlers, they would have rendered a great service.
But they had no chance to do that once they were also prostituted by
their own handlers with their own agendas.
- Your third paragraph is also right on.
And you and I have a real horse in this Republican derby: Newt
- Again, the last paragraph accurately
describes what has been going on for the last fifty years in
America. The result is the same as when a perfectly healthy
person is simply put to bed and kept there for an extended period of
time. He or she progressively loses his physical, mental and
emotional strength. That's what has happened to large groups of
Americans: DEPENDENCY. And what is Obama's solution and that of
his ilk? More dependency on hand-outs, which the people's
resultant irresponsibility will (they hope) immediately produce more
indebtedness...and more dependency. Doesn't that sound familiar?
- The European "Union" is facing the
same dilemma: impose structural medicine, as Merkel is demanding; or
feed more sugar, as countries like Greece are hoping for.
MEANINGFUL MEDICAL MALPRACTICE TORT REFORM - RESPONSIBLE FOR 25% OF ALL
CARE EXPENDITURES - TO THE PLAN, PAUL RYAN GETS A BIG SLOPPY KISS FROM
See also my writings going back to the mid 1970's.
Ryan's strong antidote to Obama health care
10/05/2011 12:00 AM
10/04/2011 11:40 PM
say they want to "repeal and replace" the health care law President
Barack Obama signed last year, but they are a lot more specific about
the first half than the second. Rep. Paul Ryan wants to bring some
balance to the slogan.
Sept. 27 speech to the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the
Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee supplied an Obamacare
alternative of his own. Ryan has the right diagnosis of what's wrong
with federal health care policy, and the right prescription, too. He
just needs to adjust the dosage.
in large part to Ryan's efforts, congressional Republicans have already
embraced two of the ideas in his speech. They want the federal
government to give states a fixed amount of money to run Medicaid,
instead of paying for half of whatever the states decide to cover for
the poor. And they want to replace Medicare with "premium support" for
future senior citizens, who would purchase private insurance using
capped federal subsidies.
Republicans have had less to say about the uninsured, or the majority
of Americans who are eligible for neither Medicaid nor Medicare. They
have advocated tort reform and the creation of an interstate market for
the purchase of individual insurance, both of which might make coverage
a little bit more affordable. But as Ryan acknowledges, that's not
believes that we should change the way the tax code treats health
insurance. Employer-provided coverage is not taxed on par with wages,
and thus the federal government encourages companies to offer coverage
rather than provide higher wages and let employees buy coverage. The
more expensive the coverage, the more the tax break is worth. The
fundamental flaw of Obamacare, as Ryan sees it, is that it leaves the
inflationary incentives of current policy in place.
Ryan's proposal, the tax break would become a credit available equally
to those who get coverage from their employers and those who buy it
themselves. Anyone who wanted to buy coverage that costs more than the
credit would have to pay the difference themselves. The expectation is
that people would buy less expensive coverage and more often pay for
routine expenses out-of-pocket. The new cost pressures thus created
would, together with competition, drive prices down.
would have more control because they would be more likely to own their
insurance policies rather than rely on their employers. Over time, the
problem of people who can't get insurance because of pre-existing
conditions would diminish, because people would have to change
insurance less often. "This is the 21st century," Ryan tells me.
"People do not have the same jobs for their entire careers. The tax
benefit should be attached to the worker, not to the job."
John McCain, an Arizona Republican, made a similar proposal during the
2008 campaign, and the Obama campaign attacked it relentlessly as a new
tax on employer-provided coverage. (Within two years, Obama had enacted
his own new tax on employer-provided coverage as part of his
health-care overhaul.) The McCain experience does not faze Ryan. "He
did a very, very poor job of defending the idea," he says. "This is not
taking away a tax benefit, it is improving a tax benefit for people."
People making low incomes, he points out, would get a larger tax
benefit under his proposal than they do now.
to explain his colleagues' reluctance to embrace this reform, Ryan
says, "I think people are just politically risk averse. As you know, I
am just more of a policy risk-taker."
may be that voters, too, are more risk averse than Ryan.
have repeatedly demonstrated a preference for the health-insurance
arrangements they have today, faults included, over politicians'
visions of some better system. That was one of the major political
obstacles to Obama's health legislation - and the reason he kept
insisting that it would allow everyone who liked their existing
coverage to keep it.
colleagues have shied away from his reform because they fear the
voters' fear - especially because they already think they took enough
risks on Medicare. Modifying his plan may be a prerequisite for getting
Republicans on board as well as the public.
important caveat aside, however, Ryan is on the right track. A credible
conservative alternative to Obamacare has to involve changing the tax
code. And without a credible alternative, Republicans won't be able to
repeal it, let alone replace it.
Ponnuru is a Bloomberg View columnist and a senior editor at National
FRIDAY, December 2, 2011
THIS A CHRISTMAS PRESENT...OR AN EMPTY BOX?
A careful reading and analysis by me of this report, offered by those
the belly of the beast that is Public Education, will follow
the success or failure of these recommended initiatives within the
Unions and their wholly owned subsidiary - the State Legislature - will
determine whether public school teachers continue to deserve their
tobacco companies regarding the health of this nation.
restructuring recommended for schools
12/04/2011 12:00 AM
11/30/2011 05:21 PM
It's time to change
the way we think about public education.
probably the biggest take-away from a fearless report offering 134
recommendations to transform Connecticut's education system to better
prepare students for life and work in today's global community.
should be mandatory reading for anyone with a stake in public
education, meaning all of us.
work of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents
(CAPSS), the report includes bold recommendations such as starting
school at age 3 instead of 5, replacing teacher tenure with five-year
performance-based renewable contracts, and granting local school
districts taxing authority. It also recommends that the state support
at least 55 percent of the cost of public education (it now covers less
than half), and that there be a minimum size for school districts so
that no district is too small to provide high-quality education.
just a small sampling of what is contained in "NextEd: Transforming
Connecticut's Education System," a two-year project of the state's
public school superintendents that was released last month.
is not the time to tinker around the edges, but to take major steps
toward restructuring what we do, how we do it and who will take
responsibility for improving student achievement in our state," said
Joseph Cirasuolo, executive director of CAPSS, in advocating for
profound and fundamental changes in the state's public schools.
report is timely. Lawmakers will convene this winter and make state
education reform a priority, at the request of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
These recommendations send the message that incremental changes are not
enough. Bold action will be necessary to improve public education in
touches on everything from academic standards to governance, finance,
teacher and administrator accountability, use of technology, school
district structure and capacity, public school choice, student learning
styles and needs and much, much more.
of it is common sense, a lot of it innovative, and some ideas, like
changing teacher tenure and consolidating small districts, are sure to
Connecticut can no longer rest on its past laurels. The world is a more
competitive, technological place today, and education must keep pace.
The superintendents suggest not just fundamental changes in how
children are taught, but in how curriculum is structured, including
higher standards, more choices, new and better resources, and
redefining the measurements of success for students and everyone else,
including teachers, administrators, school boards, and even parents.
report, which can be found at www.ctnexted.org, outlines the existing
problems in Connecticut's public schools, such as racial achievement
gaps and inadequate preparation of students for higher education and
employment, and outlines strategies for improvement.
expectation has always been that students will learn all they need to
know in 13 years, and that's not always the case. Today's students
start school with widely divergent skills and needs and some are never
able to catch up. The superintendents recommend the system abandon its
mid-19th-century roots and focus on universal success, not universal
has a much-lauded new education commissioner, Stefan Pryor, who has
just started work. It has a governor who is making education reform a
priority. And now it has a thoughtful, comprehensive report from the
top administrators at the state's 166 public school districts offering
specific ideas to transform public education in Connecticut to meet
21st century needs.
ambitious plan like this deserves a bold response. Not all of it will
be liked or adopted, but it surely can be used as a starting point for
meaningful discussion about major changes in the state's public schools.
Also relevant to this continuing sorry saga are
- "School Reformer Faces Tall
Obstacles", by Robert A. Frahm and Caitlin Emma, in The Day (www.thedaylcom) Sunday Oct. 30,
2011, Perspective, pE1;
- "Punishment Doesn't Fit Crime In
Case Of Cheating Teachers", by Dick Ahles, in The Day Saturday, Oct
22, 2011, Opinion pA6;
- A Civic Literacy survey published by www.americancivicliteracy.org/2008,
which could be otherwise be referenced as "Dumb and Dumber";
- A recent and very well referenced book
entitled "The Dumbest Generation";
- "Charters and Minority Progress",
Editorial in WSJ Friday, Oct. 21, 2011, pA14. With regard to the
continuing massive support maintained particularly by the Black
community for the Teachers' Unions and their associated
legislative miscreants, in direct opposition to their own children's
interests, please check out in Webster's Dictionary the definitions of "IGNORANT"
WE FORGET: STAND
November 30, 2011
REST OF THE SORRY
STORY ABOUT THIS GREAT RECESSION.
This is from the Huffington
Post in 2009:
"The legislation was the repeal
of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act (alternatively known as Gramm Leach
Bliley), which allowed banks to merge with insurance companies and
investment houses. And Dorgan was, at the time, on a proverbial island
with his concerns. Only eight senators would vote against the measure
-- lionized by its proponents, including senior staff in the Clinton
administration and many now staffing President Obama, as the most
important breakthrough in the worlds of finance and politics in
decades. ... Nevertheless, the bill did not lack champions,
many of whom declared that the original legislation -- forged during
the Great Depression -- was both antiquated and cumbersome for the
banking industry. Congress had tried 11 times to repeal Glass-Steagall.
The twelfth was the charm. ...
years later, Dorgan has been vindicated. His warning that banks would
become "too big to fail" has proven basically true in the wake of the
current financial crisis. He seems eerily prescient for claiming then
that Congress would "look back ten years time and say we should not
have done this." But he wasn't entirely alone. Sens. Barbara Boxer,
Barbara Mikulski, Richard Shelby, Tom Harkin and Richard Bryan also
cast nay votes.
did Sen. Russ Feingold, who, in a statement from his office, recalled
that "Gramm-Leach-Bliley was just one of several bad policies that
helped lead to the credit market crisis and the severe recession it
is from Counterpunch, an online newsletter, in September 2008:
"This disgraceful bow to the
banking industry, eagerly signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1999,
bears a major share of responsibility for the current banking crisis.
Here’s the complete roll call of shame:
Jan 3, 2007---Time for a reminder
FOR (52): Abraham, Allard, Ashcroft, Bennett, Brownback, Bond, Bunning,
Burns, Campbell, Chafee, Cochran, Collins, Coverdell, Craig, Crapo,
DeWine, Domenici, Enzi, Frist, Gorton, Gramm (Tex.), Grams (Minn.),
Grassley, Gregg, Hegel, Hatch, Helms, Hutchinson (Ark.), Hutchison
(Tex.), Inhofe, Jeffords, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, Mack, McConnell, Murkowski,
Nickles, Roberts, Roth, Santorum, Sessions, Smith (N.H.), Smith (Ore.),
Snowe, Specter, Stevens, Thomas, Thompson, Thurmond, Voinovich and
Warner.DEMOCRATS FOR (38): Akaka, Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman,
Breaux, Byrd, Cleland, Conrad, Daschle, Dodd, Durbin, Edwards,
Feinstein, Graham (Fla.), Hollings, Inouye, Johnson, Kennedy, Kerrey
(Neb.), Kerry (Mass.), Kohl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin,
Lieberman, Lincoln, Moynihan, Murray, Reed (R.L), Reid (Nev.), Robb,
Rockefeller, Sarbanes, Schumer, Torricelli and Wyden.
AGAINST(7): Boxer, Bryan, Dorgan, Feingold, Harkin, Mikulski and
VOTING: 2 REPUBLICANS (2): Fitzgerald (voted present) and McCain.
House Democrats were no less enthusiastic in their endorsement of this
invitation to plunder–the repeal passed there by a margin of 343-86,
with the Donkey Party favoring the measure by a two-to-one margin,
138-69. Current House speaker Nancy Pelosi managed not to register a
vote on this one, so great was her fear of offending her party’s
corporate paymasters even though she knew passage was a sure thing."
Don't just skim over this, read it slowly and let it sink in..... If in
doubt, check it out !!!
The day the democrats took over was not January 22nd 2009, it was
actually January 3rd 2007 the day the Democrats took over the House of
Representatives and the Senate, at the very start of the 110th Congress.
The Democrat Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first
time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995.
For those who are listening to the liberals propagating the fallacy
that everything is "Bush's Fault", think about this:
January 3rd, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the Senate and
At the time:
The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77
The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5%
The Unemployment rate was 4.6%
George Bush's Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of
Remember the day...
January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House
Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate
The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of
BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!
THANK YOU DEMOCRATS for taking us from 13,000 DOW, 3.5 GDP and 4.6%
Unemployment... to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6
TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac FIASCOES!
(BTW: Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie & Freddie -
starting in 2001 because it was financially risky for the US economy).
And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac?
And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie?
OBAMA and the Democrat Congress
So when someone tries to blame Bush... REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007....
THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER!"
Bush may have been in the car but the Democrats were in charge of the
gas pedal and steering wheel they were driving.
Budgets do not come from the White House. They come from Congress and
the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democrat
Furthermore, the Democrats controlled the budget process for 2008 &
2009 as well as 2010 &2011.
In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused
them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough
on spending increases.
For 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid by-passed George Bush
entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running
until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a
massive omnibus spending bill to complete the 2009 budgets.
And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that
very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he
signed the omnibus bill as President to complete 2009.Let's remember
what the deficits looked like during that period: (below)
If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the 2007 deficit, the
last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five
years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that,
Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes
Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets.
If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself.
In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is I inherited a deficit that I
voted for and then I voted to expand that
deficit four-fold since January 20th.
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