Sunday, April 29, 2012

How Great Thou Art -- Susan Boyle


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Israel

Yom Ha'atzmaut is celebrated on the 5th day of Iyar (ה' באייר) in the Hebrew calendar, the anniversary of the day in which Israel independence was proclaimed, when David Ben-Gurion publicly read the Israeli Declaration of Independence. The corresponding Gregorian date was 14 May 1948.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Al Gore Effect Visits Earth Day in Progressive Paradise

Photo by Rachel Burkholder
I did feel sorry for the bundled-up-against-the-cold-wind-and-rain folks celebrating Earth Day yesterday here in Progressive Paradise, where one group gamely set about making smoothies with a bicycle-powered blender.

Despite hope for change (as long as the change is not a warmer globe), Progressive Paradise did not turn into a tropical paradise where heating is unnecessary, air conditioning is undesirable, and raw materials for smoothies are available for plucking off the nearest tree.

Mother Earth, a realist if ever there was one, offered her wanna-be protectors a lesson in reality when the wet chill she supplied for the Earth's Day celebration deteriorated into a late-night snow and ice storm that bent trees to the ground, closed area schools, and left about 4,000 (so far) local people without power. 

In other words, Earth Day celebrants got their wish, sort of. Right on cue, school buses stopped guzzling gas, as did the automobiles of parents who otherwise would have driven to gainful employment or on errands utilizing the services goods provided by the gainfully employed.

Bike paths were uncongested, leaving home-bound Earth Day celebrants who happen to own a bicycle-powered blender with an available bicycle with which to churn up tasty smoothies, provided that they are able bodied and had on hand fruits and vegetables grown in a more southern clime and transported north to their local health-food store, presumably by bicycle cart. Unless, of course, they still had in storage in their not-yet bicycle-powered home freezer some of the home-grown fruits and vegetables they harvested about eight months ago.

Like most days when Mother Nature's personal calendar reads: "snow day in Progressive Paradise," today plenty of burning logs in fireplaces and wood stoves (a favorite heating source of Earth Day celebrants) are pumping quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere at rates far surpassing other fuels, particularly the natural gas that Earth Day groups urged others to refrain from using (except when home-canning local foods with that bicycle-powered pressure canner manufactured from metal ores hand-shoveled from the Earth, refined by bicycle power, and manufactured in a garage somewhere in California).

I know, I know, it's science in its infancy. Well, maybe toddlerhood. Here's a design that was used in 1881, before the development of 58 ferad ultracapacitors and 1000 watt power inverters:

I think we should send one to BO to operate in the White House garden. Pending approval by PETA and the Department of Energy.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Flashback: Saul Alinsky & Al Capone's Mob

Mobster Frank Nitti's boys took
Saul Alinsky "everywhere."
The other day Glenn Beck mentioned that, early on, Saul Alinsky studied organization by befriending and socializing with Al Capone's mob of hit men. I'd not heard that before, so I looked it up.

Sure enough, Alinsky himself credited the mob with teaching him quite a bit: "I learned a hell of a lot about the uses and abuses of power from the mob, lessons that stood me in good stead later on, when I was organizing," he said. Also, "I was a nonparticipating observer in their professional activities, although I joined their social life of food, drink and women: Boy, I sure participated in that side of things -- it was heaven."

Alinsky's lessons from the mob didn't stop there. According to his  fellow Chicago radical, student, employee, best man, biographer, and all-around close friend, Nicholas von Hoffman:
Saul knew the mob very, very well, and he had studied them when he was a post graduate student at the University of Chicago, and he later got to know them again when he was the criminologist at Stateville, the Illinois penitentiary, and then, of course, in the course of much of what we were doing, we ran into the mob and had dealings with the mob one way or another, but he was never "mobbed up"; he never took a bad dime.
In a 1972 interview by Playboy Magazine, Alinsky had this to say:
ALINSKY: . . . I was awarded the graduate Social Science Fellowship in criminology, the top one in that field, which took care of my tuition and room and board -- I still don't know why they gave it to me -- maybe because I hadn't taken a criminology course in my life and didn't know one goddamn thing about the subject -- But this was the Depression and I felt like someone had tossed me a life preserver -- Hell, if it had been in shirt cleaning, I would have taken it. Anyway, I found out that criminology was just as removed from actual crime and criminals as sociology was from society, so I decided to make my doctoral dissertation a study of the Al Capone mob -- an inside study.

PLAYBOY: What did Capone have to say about that?

ALINSKY: Well, my reception was pretty chilly at first -- I went over to the old Lexington Hotel, which was the gang's headquarters, and I hung around the lobby and the restaurant. I'd spot one of the mobsters whose picture I'd seen in the papers and go up to him and say, "I'm Saul Alinsky, I'm studying criminology, do you mind if I hang around with you?" And he'd look me over and say, "Get lost, punk." This happened again and again, and I began to feel I'd never get anywhere. Then one night I was sitting in the restaurant and at the next table was Big Ed Stash, a professional assassin who was the Capone mob's top executioner. He was drinking with a bunch of his pals and he was saying, "Hey, you guys, did I ever tell you about the time I picked up that redhead in Detroit?" and he was cut off by a chorus of moans. "My God," one guy said, "do we have to hear that one again?" I saw Big Ed's face fall; mobsters are very sensitive, you know, very thin-skinned. And I reached over and plucked his sleeve. "Mr. Stash," I said, "I'd love to hear that story." His face lit up. "You would, kid?" He slapped me on the shoulder. "Here, pull up a chair. Now, this broad, see . . ." And that's how it started.

Big Ed had an attentive audience and we became buddies. He introduced me to Frank Nitti, known as the Enforcer, Capone's number-two man, and actually in de facto control of the mob because of Al's income-tax rap. Nitti took me under his wing. I called him the Professor and I became his student. Nitti's boys took me everywhere, showed me all the mob's operations, from gin mills and whorehouses and bookie joints to the legitimate businesses they were beginning to take over. Within a few months, I got to know the workings of the Capone mob inside out.

PLAYBOY: Why would professional criminals confide their secrets to an outsider?

ALINSKY: Why not? What harm could I do them? Even if I told what I'd learned, nobody would listen. They had Chicago tied up tight as a drum; they owned the city, from the cop on the beat right up to the mayor. Forget all that Eliot Ness shit; the only real opposition to the mob came from other gangsters, like Bugs Moran or Roger Touhy. The Federal Government could try to nail 'em on an occasional income tax rap, but inside Chicago they couldn't touch their power. Capone was the establishment. When one of his boys got knocked off, there wasn't any city court in session, because most of the judges were at the funeral and some of them were pallbearers. So they sure as hell weren't afraid of some college kid they'd adopted as a mascot causing them any trouble. They never bothered to hide anything from me; I was their one-man student body and they were anxious to teach me. It probably appealed to their egos.

Once, when I was looking over their records, I noticed an item listing a $7500 payment for an out-of-town killer. I called Nitti over and I said, "Look, Mr. Nitti, I don't understand this. You've got at least 20 killers on your payroll. Why waste that much money to bring somebody in from St. Louis?" Frank was really shocked at my ignorance. "Look, kid," he said patiently, "sometimes our guys might know the guy they're hitting, they may have been to his house for dinner, taken his kids to the ball game, been the best man at his wedding, gotten drunk together. But you call in a guy from out of town, all you've got to do is tell him, 'Look, there's this guy in a dark coat on State and Randolph; our boy in the car will point him out; just go up and give him three in the belly and fade into the crowd.' So that's a job and he's a professional, he does it. But one of our boys goes up, the guy turns to face him and it's a friend, right away he knows that when he pulls that trigger there's gonna be a widow, kids without a father, funerals, weeping -- Christ, it'd be murder." I think Frank was a little disappointed by my even questioning the practice; he must have thought I was a bit callous.

PLAYBOY: Didn't you have any compunction about consorting with -- if not actually assisting -- murderers?

ALINSKY: None at all, since there was nothing I could do to stop them from murdering, practically all of which was done inside the family. I was a nonparticipating observer in their professional activities, although I joined their social life of food, drink and women: Boy, I sure participated in that side of things -- it was heaven. And let me tell you something, I learned a hell of a lot about the uses and abuses of power from the mob, lessons that stood me in good stead later on, when I was organizing.

Another thing you've got to remember about Capone is that he didn't spring out of a vacuum. The Capone gang was actually a public utility; it supplied what the people wanted and demanded. The man in the street wanted girls: Capone gave him girls. He wanted booze during Prohibition: Capone gave him booze. He wanted to bet on a horse: Capone let him bet. It all operated according to the old laws of supply and demand, and if there weren't people who wanted the services provided by the gangsters, the gangsters wouldn't be in business. Everybody owned stock in the Capone mob; in a way, he was a public benefactor. I remember one time when he arrived at his box seat in Dyche Stadium for a Northwestern football game on Boy Scout Day and 8000 scouts got up in the stands and screamed in cadence, "Yea, yea, Big Al. Yea, yea, Big Al." Capone didn't create the corruption, he just grew fat on it, as did the political parties, the police and the overall municipal economy.
Alinsky indirectly transmitted his life lessons to government, where every schoolchild gets to live with them:
His most enduring influence may have been to inspire the National Education Association to become a political powerhouse. Sam Lambert, the executive secretary of the NEA in 1967, when it hired Alinsky as a political trainer, boasted that it would “become a political power second to no other special interest.” The NEA delivered on that promise. Between 1963 and 1993, the number of teachers belonging to unions grew to 3.1 million, up from only 963,720.
Alinsky also transmitted his life lessons to government directly, through his students and his students' students. Alinsky thought enough of Hilary Clinton to offer her a job, and Alinsky's son David thought enough of Barack Obama to write (in the Boston Globe in 2008) that "Obama learned his (Alinsky's) lesson well.

A study of the Alinsky/Chicago Politics legacy led John Fund, author of Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens our Democracy, to issue a warning to American conservatives as the 2012 election approaches:
You can expect that the Obama 2012 campaign and allied groups will be filled with people deeply steeped in Rules for Radicals. That is good reason for conservatives to spend time studying Saul Alinsky. It also explains why liberals are so anxious to sugarcoat Alinsky and soft-pedal his influence on Team Obama.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Where the Soul of Man Never Dies -- Johnny Cash

A little something Johnny Cash learned from his sharecropper mother, who used to play it on her old Sears-Roebuck guitar:


Taxman -- The Beatles (Updated)

Americans will spend more in taxes in 2012 than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined.

Just thought you might like to know that.

Four more years of a president who spends more on luxury vacations than on taxes?

I don't think so.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Obama's War on Women: 18% Paycheck Discrimination at White House

But paychecks are soooo yesterday.

From The Washington Free Beacon, via The Right Scoop:
Female employees in the Obama White House make considerably less than their male colleagues, records show.

According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000).
Calculating the median salary for each gender required some assumptions to be made based on the employee names. When unclear, every effort was taken to determine the appropriate gender.

The Obama campaign on Wednesday lashed out at presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney for his failure to immediately endorse the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, a controversial law enacted in 2009 that made it easier to file discrimination lawsuits.

President Obama has frequently criticized the gender pay gap, such as the one that exists in White House.

“Paycheck discrimination hurts families who lose out on badly needed income,” he said in a July 2010 statement. “And with so many families depending on women’s wages, it hurts the American economy as a whole.”

It is not known whether any female employees at the White House have filed lawsuits under the Ledbetter Act.

The president and his Democratic allies have accused Republicans of waging a “war on women,” and have touted themselves as champions of female equality. Obama’s rhetoric, however, has not always been supported by his actions.
Read the rest here.

Thomas Sowell Quote of the Day

In politics, few talents are as richly rewarded as the ability to convince parasites that they are victims. 


Read Sowell's article, "Why Politicians Promise Heaven And Deliver Hell," here.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

American Kids "Deported" to Satisfy International Treaty

Imagine your local county judge ordering you, a U.S. citizen, to board a jet plane with your three children to deliver them to your ex-spouse living in Zimbabwe, where you will be required to bid them farewell and get on the next return flight to the U.S. Your ex has threatened to revoke your children's U.S. citizenship. The judge has decided your family's fate following an international treaty that supersedes U.S. law, a treaty originally designed to keep foreign fathers from permanently removing their U.S. citizen children from the U.S. against the will of their mothers, but which is now being used by foreign fathers to achieve the polar opposite end.

This is one family's nightmare today. Three U.S. citizens, ages 9, 11, and 13, are being forced by a Northern California judge to move to Zimbabwe to live with their Canadian citizen father.

The children's mother is being required to deliver her children to Zimbabwe on April 19th and surrender them to their father on April 20th, then immediately board a plane to return back to the U.S. "Failure to follow this procedure could result in imprisonment or possibly death" for the mother in a country where the law permits women and children to be considered the property of men.

When they met and married, the children's parents were working as missionaries in Zimbabwe, where the children were born and spent most of their lives, a circumstance that seals their fate today.

Two years ago, with their marriage on the rocks and Zimbabwe an economic and human rights disaster zone, Jonathan and Krystal Curle moved their family to the U.S. "to seek marital counseling and safety from political unrest." When the marital counseling didn't help, they divorced. Subsequently, while crossing the border, the father was nabbed by U.S. immigration authorities for visa violations. He was denied entrance to the U.S. for five years and moved back to Zimbabwe.

The father sought recourse in the Hague Convention 1996, in which the determining legal factor is not the welfare of the children but where the children have "habitual residency."Although these American children have been living in the U.S. for the last two years, they have spent more of their time in Zimbabwe than in the U.S. Thus, according to the treaty, even though no members of this family are citizens of Zimbabwe, the U.S. has surrendered legal jurisdiction in this case to the Zimbabwean legal system, such as it is.

Lars Larson has been covering this story. The legal picture is available here. An interview with the mom's sister is here, as well as an interview with the children's grandfather.

Linked at Theo Spark by Chris Wysocki, who commented, "Remember this the next time Ruth Bader Ginsberg sings the praises of "international law." Thanks, Chris.

Addendum: Click here for the Help the Curles facebook page.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Kitchen Politics: Another Reason to Brew Your Own

In this case, tea.

Coke does it, Arby's does it, Kraft does it, and now, even Kraft's Miracle Whip does it:
Advertising ‘Fail’: Miracle Whip Seemingly Embracing the ‘Socialist Fist’

Miracle Whip has long made debatable advertising choices, seemingly trying to turn a kitchen condiment into the emblem of a social movement. . . .

And now, Miracle Whip seems to be jumping on the Occupy Wall Street bandwagon with an advertisement saying, “Keep an Open Mouth,“ and ”Join the Cause,” with the all too-familiar socialist fist clutching a bottle of Miracle Whip.

Miracle Whip’s website is running similar video ads that may or may not have political undertones.

For instance, in one of the advertisements a group of towns-people with torches and pitchforks (tea partiers?) are stirred into a frenzy over a bottle of Miracle Whip. They describe the bottle as having “red markings.”
There's nothing like knowing which side your bread is mayo'd on.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

VICTIMAE PASCHALI LAUDES -- Schola Gregoriana Mediolanensis

Happy Easter!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Laughing Through Tears, CLP-in-Chief Edition

It is, perhaps, not a strange circumstance that the Constitutional law scholar-in-Chief's attitude toward the Supreme Court, which may or (horrors!) may not approve of his pet project, Obamacare, is seen with exceptional clarity through the eyes of cartoonists such as Investor's Business Daily's Michael Ramirez, who placed Harvard Law School-educated Emperor Obama in the dunce's seat for failure to recognize one of this nation's essential founding legal decisions, or Hope n' Change's Stilton Jarlsberg, who wrote:
In a rose garden speech, the man who taught Constitutional law at the now thoroughly discredited University of Chicago petulantly announced that this so-called Supreme Court would be taking an "unprecedented, extraordinary step" if they overturn a law which was enacted by Congress.

Which, of course, is one of the primary responsibilities the Supreme Court was assigned when the body was created in the Constitution (which Obama hasn't actually read, but has "heard a lot about"). And far from being an unprecedented or extraordinary step, the Supreme Court has struck down over 150 laws deemed to not be Constitutional, and has done so for over 200 years now.

But the shocks did not end there for the president. Because with a look of slack-jawed, baffled outrage, he announced his discovery that the members of the Supreme Court are "an unelected group of people," implying that they lack the moral authority that comes from being answerable to voters.

Oh, really...?

Because the dark, ugly heart throbbing at the center of Obamacare is the Independent Payment Advisory Board - known as IPAB to the politically correct, and as The Death Panel to realists. This is Obama's 15-member board of unelected people who will decide what medical treatments the government will and won't pay for, and who will (and importantly, who won't) get treatment. These are the unaccountable individuals who will take Obama's euthanistic threat to pass out painkillers instead of pacemakers and give it the power of law. Law which is specifically not subject to review by any court.

Supposedly, it's the "unelected" status of the IPAB members which Obama heralds as making them more fair than any political body could be - which is the exact opposite of the president's criticism of the Supreme Court.
That's the kind of logic that earns one a position as President of the Harvard Law Review and Senior Lecturer of the University of Chicago Law School--two academic hiring decisions now earning so many belly laughs (and gasps of horror) throughout the country that even Eric Holder has been obliged to throw in the towel with this statement:
The power of the courts to review the constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute.

Nos Autem Gloriari -- Soulblackout

A hymn for Holy Thursday:


Nos autem gloriari oportet in cruce Domini Nostri Jesu Christi: in quo est salus, vita et resurrectio nostra per quem salvati et liberati sumus.
(Ps. 66,2)

Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis: illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri.

Nos autem . . . .


But it behooves us to glory in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ: in Whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection; by whom we are saved and delivered. -- (Ps. 66. 2).

May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us; and may He have mercy on us.

But it behooves us . . . .

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle . . .

Our dear Zilla of the Resistance, intrepid Politicaljunkie Mom, straight-talking BackyardConservative, courageous Atlas Shrugs, not-tongue-tied Sitting at the Edge of the Sandbox, erudite No One of Any Import, and stand-up Michelle Malkin, all ask us to to vote for Conservative Mom Bloggers vying for a listing as one of the Top 25 Political Mom Bloggers of 2012.

As my upstate New York blogging neighbor, The Lonely Conservative, put it, echoing sentiments by other Conservative blogger moms:
I’m in second place. I really don’t care if I win, all I care about is that one of the conservative moms wins. We’ve managed to knock another commie mommie out of the top 5. (That one brags about putting her son in pink girls clothing.) If you think we need to take back the culture from the far left, why not take just a few moments to vote for the conservative moms in this contest?
Or, as Zilla says: "Don't let the Commie Mommies Win!"

Voting is fun and easy. Here's the link.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Deus, Deus Meus -- Choeur Gregorien de Paris

A medieval Gregorian chant for Palm Sunday, Psalm 22, here sung by the Gregorian Choir of Paris. Graced by stunning manuscript illustrations of the period, this video is well worth viewing in full screen mode.

Psalm 22:

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? *

and are so far from my cry

and from the words of my distress?

2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; *

by night as well, but I find no rest.

3 Yet you are the Holy One, *

enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

4 Our forefathers put their trust in you; *

they trusted, and you delivered them.

5 They cried out to you and were delivered; *

they trusted in you and were not put to shame.

Read the rest here.