A little Thanksgiving week giggle for you, courtesy of the Onion:
Obama Outlines Moral, Philosophical Justifications For Turkey Pardon
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
A little Thanksgiving week giggle for you, courtesy of the Onion:
Sunday, November 21, 2010
This week has been a tribute to heroes. On Tuesday, President Obama bestowed our nation's highest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, on Staff Sargeant Salvatore Giunta - the first living endowment since the Vietnam War. Sgt. Giunta's humility and his dismissal of his actions as merely doing his duty stood in stark contrast to the political spinning and inside ball going on in Washington. It was like a brief, cleansing shower of courage and humility, washing off the muck and mire that is our current reality. Congratulations, Sgt. Giunta. You are a man among men and an inspiration to us all. If only there were more like you.
The other tribute comes from little Pittston, PA. This week they laid to rest a native son, killed in Afghanistan November 7th. Wednesday, a public wake was held for Spc. Dale Kridlo (he was interred with full honors at Arlington Thursday). I got a call from my sister about it. She lives near Pittston, and called to ask what I knew of Westboro Baptist Church. She had heard that they were planning a demonstration at Spc. Kridlo's funeral, and the town was up in arms about it. According to the church's website (via the Times Leader):
“Military funerals have become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom & play taps to a fallen fool.”
The web posting says the above message will be “preached in respectful, lawful proximity to the memorial of Spc. Dale J. Kridlo” on Wednesday at the church service.
The web posting then states: “Spc. Kridlo gave his life for the Constitutional right of the Westboro Baptist Church to warn America. To deny our First Amendment rights is to declare to the world that Spc. Kridlo died in vain, and that America is a nation of sodomite hypocrites.”
The Westboro posting ends by stating, “The Lord no longer builds the American house; nor does the Lord watch over and protect America. These soldiers are dying for the homosexual and other sins of America. God is now America’s enemy, and God Himself is fighting against America.”
So this is their idea of "respectful"? One shudders to think what constitutes disrespect for these people.
The reaction in Pittston to Westboro's plans was swift and impressive. These are salt of the earth people who don't take kindly to strangers attacking one of their own. The area where Westboro was permitted to protest was surrounded by American flags, effectively blocking any protesters from view. Bikers from the Patriot Guard Riders were there in force, as were a huge number of Pittston residents. Hundreds turned out to pay their respects and drown out the lunatic rantings of Fred Phelps and his Westboro minions.
There are more and more stories of towns rising up in protest of the disgusting displays at the funerals of our military, and it seems to be working. First was Weston, MO, whose residents managed to block Westboro picketers from tormenting the families of Sargeant C.J. Sadell as they attended his funeral and graveside service. Then there was McAlester, OK, where the tires of the Westboro van were slashed and they were refused repair by every service station in town after they attempted to protest the funeral of Sgt. Jason James McCluskey. This after being confronted by up to a thousand counter-protesters earlier in the day.
And now the events in Pittston. The town mobilized in a big way, but it hasn't made much news beyond the local stations. It was the story of the week for the locals, heavily covered in the days prior to the funeral. Perhaps all that coverage, combined with the projected turnout to pay tribute to Sgt. Kridlo and protest Westboro was too much for Phelps and company.
Because this time, they didn't even show up.
For those who say that the people of Pittston were infringing on Westboro's right to free speech, they forget that the people of Pittston also have a right to free speech as well. In this case, their speech is in opposition - and, like the other towns that have rallied around their fallen heroes, they vastly outnumber Westboro's representatives. The first amendment protects free speech from being stifled by the government. There's nothing in there about protection from being drowned out by fellow citizens. Westboro has every right to protest those funerals (although some of the things they say can - and should - be seen as hate speech - please note the church's website is "godhatesfags.com"), and the people of Pittston had every right to honor their dead by protesting that protest.
More and more towns are realizing this, and Westboro seems to be getting the message.
Our heroes and their families deserve honor, not derision; tributes, not protests. The upswell of patriotism and support for our troops and their families is a beautiful thing. They deserve our respect, and it's wonderful to see them getting it.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
CNN reported a story on Nov. 5th about an elementary school teacher who attempted to kill her husband but is still teaching. Rebecca Allwine and her husband were having an argument and both had been drinking. She allegedly hit him a few times on the head and neck (he didn't hit back) and then eventually dropped 10 ambien and about 18 melatonin tablets into his beer. She left shortly after she gave him the drugged drink. He noticed a sludge at the bottom of the glass after a few sips and called 911. Mrs. Allwine was initially charged with battery and aggrevated assault but later pled down to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Because the crime had been pled down to a misdemeanor, Mrs. Allwine returned to her teaching job.
Okay, so she was drunk and wasn't thinking clearly. Obviously. The argument was over whether or not her husband had been to see his girlfriend that day, so it's pretty clear the relationship is rocky, at best. Apparently she was not aware of just how it is easy to get a divorce nowadays. Was this a spur of the moment crime of passion? Certainly. At best, we can establish that she has serious impulse control issues - always an asset in the classroom.
So, since this woman was so imbalanced that she tried to off her husband, is it really a good idea that she be allowed to continue shaping the young minds in her classroom? Shouldn't the parents of her students have been informed of the situation, perhaps given the choice on whether to keep their child in the class? Does Georgia really have such a shortage of good teachers that she could not be replaced? It's good that she was up front with the school and kept them informed on the progess of the case, but is she really a suitable person to have in a class full of seven year olds? Isn't there some sort of administration position she could have been moved to?
No, of course not, because it all comes down to tenure. That job is her entitled right, and even attempted murder cannot keep her from her post. Thanks to her union contract, a misdemeanor is not grounds for termination, according to Julie Smith, a human resources consultant:
"Legally, they can't terminate based on a misdemeanor," she said in a telephone interview. "It's got to be a felony conviction."
Allwine's return to work has been greeted with disbelief, needless to say:
That rankled Bob Bowdon, an education expert.
"It's another 'Thank you, tenure,'" he told HLN's "Prime News." "Despite the teacher unions' refrain to be 'treated like professionals,' these are the moments when it becomes clear they also demand job guarantees that no other professionals have. How long would a CEO, a lawyer or a broadcast journalist get to continue their employement after admitting to poisoning his/her spouse? I think we all know."
Yes, we do. But, after all, those people don't have tenure. Once again the unions have shown that it's not about safer, better schools with talented, qualified (non-homocidal) teachers - it's about keeping tenured teachers working and paying dues no matter what.
No wonder so many people are home schooling these days.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
It's the Veteran... not the preacher,
who has earned for us freedom of religion.
It's the Veteran... not the reporter,
who has earned for us freedom of the press.
It's the Veteran... not the poet,
who has earned for us freedom of speech.
It's the Veteran... not the campus organizer,
who has earned for us freedom to assemble.
It's the Veteran... not the lawyer,
who has earned for us the right to a fair trial.
It's the Veteran... not the politician,
who has earned for us the right to vote.
It's the Veteran... who salutes the flag,
who has protected and served under the flag
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
On October 25, 2010, President Obama signed a memorandum that will exempt four countries from 2008's Child Soldiers Prevention Act - Yemen, Sudan, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This Act was a bipartisan effort to block countries that recruit child soldiers from getting US military assistance or buying US arms. Two other countries mentioned in the law, Myanmar and Somalia, are still prohibited.
So let me get this straight - if a kid in this country makes a gun shape with her finger and pretend 'shoots', she is suspended for making a "terroristic threat" to a teacher. But if some third world hellhole forcefully 'recruits' a kid, gives him a real gun, trains him and sends him off to war, they get Uncle Sam to supply the weapons and foot the bill.
Isn't this genocide? Why are we now supporting this?
For those not aware of the genocide in Darfur, many of those fleeing the violence are seeking refuge in Chad - another of the four exempted countries. Could there possibly be a spillover of violence?
This has gotten little notice, but it should. How can Obama in good conscience exempt these countries? What in the world is he thinking? The reason given for the exemptions is 'national security', and yet there is no explanation forthcoming on how, exactly, this affects our national security. Is there some crisis he sees down the road where we will need armed children at our disposal? Or does he believe the armed youth will be the voices of reason that will overthrow the government and then create a peaceful utopia?
Darfur is already in chaos. Tacit approval of child soldiers by the US government is like throwing gasoline on a brushfire. Please remember that this isn't economic aid, aid for reugees or food and other supplies for the poor. This is a block on military aid. Places like Darfur most definitely do NOT need more weapons. What they need is a functioning, accountable government and a return to sanity. This memorandum all but ensures they will not get it.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
This is a truly great country. Not just for her innovation or military might, not because of our bread basket that feeds the world or our economy which drives it, but because of her freedoms and the people who enjoy them.
On the one hand. we have a free society that enjoys truly free speech. Case in point, Westboro Baptist Church - the ultimate bullies. This tiny church which boasts a congregation of barely 200 (most family members, at that), but they have made quite a name for themselves. Their greatest joy, it seems, is to protest the funerals of our fallen military. No matter what you may think of the signs they hold or the things they shout at the grieving families, no one can deny that they have the right to do it. The question now seems to be at what distance, so that the families can grieve without suffering the emotional an psychological trauma Pastor Phelps and his minions would like to inflict upon them.
On the other hand, we have Rebecca Rooney. Ms. Rooney, upon hearing about Westboro's plans to protest at the funeral of hometown hero Sgt. First Class C.J. Sadell, took action. She rallied the people of tiny Weston, MO to join together in support of Sgt. Sadell and his family. They filled up parking spaces, and came armed with patriotic music and American flags. The best part? It worked:
"If you think about it, they've all gone to serve just so we could be able to do this," said Rebecca Rooney who organized the supporters. "He didn't die in vain."
Thursday, November 4, 2010
We here in Florida's 8th CD did our civic duty Tuesday and took out the trash:
Monday, November 1, 2010
One more day to go. Tomorrow the die is cast, and a decision will be made on which direction the majority of Americans want to head. Do we continue with the tax and spend social justice of the progressives, or a return to the small government, free market principles our founders envisioned. It has been an exhausting, vicious, hard-fought election, with a lot of mud-slinging, accusations and vitriol.
The most egregious harm done in this election cycle, though, is the inability of our states to get absentee ballots to our military serving overseas in time for them to be returned and counted. Those brave men and women who are fighting and dying for this country, of all people, should be the ones whose votes are counted first and foremost, and yet every election cycle is filled with reports of the military being denied the ability to cast a vote. It got so bad that in 2009 Congress passed the MOVE act. This is the first year the states need to comply, and the project seems to be off to a rocky start. States are required to mail out ballots 45 days before the election. Unfortunately, there are some states that are seriously late, giving their servicemembers less than 30 days to receive, fill out and return their ballots. That's a pretty quick turnaround for a war zone.
Michael Ramirez captures the issue perfectly, as usual: