In a Nutshell

Steve McMann at American Thinker writes a superlative piece in “After Osama.” His observations are on point.

“The Middle East of today is a far more volatile area than two years ago. Egypt, the largest country in the region, is about to be dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Yemen is near a takeover by al Qaeda sympathizers. Libya is in the throes of a stalemate or quasi civil war with rebel forces that include a high percentage of radical elements and Iran is determined to undermine Iraq and control Lebanon and Syria as the hegemonic power in the region. All the above countries will be determined to eventually destroy Israel. The Middle East has become a tinderbox akin to the Balkans in 1914.

“So while America rejoices in the death of a truly evil man, we should understand the potential consequences and ask ourselves do we have the leadership at the helm that can navigate the violent seas upon which the country finds itself?”

Election Commission Speaker

Carol CollinsworthThe Midtown Republican Club got an update on elections yesterday when Carol Collinsworth addressed our group.  An administration technician with the Election Commission, Ms. Collinsworth filled us in on all the changes that have occurred since the last election.

First, there will be a  new chairman. Bill Giannini, who was in charge, is taking a position with the state department of commerce and insurance in Nashville. He will be replaced by Robert Meyers, who has been on the commission for longer than a year. Then, two new Democrats will take the place of Democrats Myra Stiles and James Johnson. Norma Lester, who ran for the Shelby County Commission and lost will replace Stiles. George Monger, a vocal critic of the August 5, 2010, election proceedings, takes the other Democrat spot. He ran at age 18 for the City Council in 2007.

In addition, the legislature has passed a photo ID law that will require every voter to present a valid ID. “A photo ID is not going to disenfranchise anyone,” thinks Ms. Collinsworth. “It will cut down on people who should not be voting.”

Collinsworth, who began working for the Election Commission in 2008, feels confident in the voting system. “If you work at the election commission you realize that we can’t rig anything,” she said, referencing the August 5 election. She described the backups to all the votes, the tapes that are saved for years, the safeguards put in place to prevent tampering.

She welcomed, in fact, all the scrutiny the Democrats brought to the August 5 election because she felt confident that there had not been any foul play. “They snapped our pictures as we went into work and took down our license plate numbers,” but it didn’t bother her.

Collinsworth is a full time election commission worker. Now there are fewer than 20 people working, but during elections the number swells to the thousands.

“I encourage you to get involved,” she said. “We try to place you as close to your home precinct as possible. We try to get half Republicans and half Democrats, but in some precincts there is not one Republican – or they may not want to disclose it.”

“We pay $100 for the day and $30 for the mandatory class. Some people choose to donate their money for a group cause. Your group can earn $600 in one day. ” The requirements are you have to be able to work on a computer and you must arrive at the poll at 6 and stay past 7 when the polls close long enough to get everything tallied and the machines packed away.

You can work early voting, too, which pays $12.01 an hour. Good workers are always needed and it is a necessary and beneficial part of being a citizen.

“Besides,” Collinsworth says, “politics is fun!”

Floods and Politics

Our flooding problem and the nation’s economic problems make a good case for reading Amity Shlaes’ Pulitzer Prize winning book “The Forgotten Man.”

Her book, a new history of the Great Depression, begins in Memphis.

“Floods change the course of history,” she writes, “and the Flood of 1927 was no exception. When the waters of the Mississippi broke through banks and levees that spring, the disaster was enormous. A wall of water pushed down the river, covering the area where nearly a million lived. Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover raced to Memphis and took command. Hoover talked railroads into transporting the displaced for free and carrying freight at a discount. He commandeered private outboard motors and built motorboats of plywood…He helped the Red Cross launch a fund drive; within a month the charity had already collected promises of more than $8 million, an enormous figure for the time.”

Amusingly, not far from Memphis, bootleggers set up shop on high in treetops. New babies got flood names such as  Highwater Jones and Overflow Johnson.  The river below Memphis reached a width of 60 miles.

Hoover did such a good job of marshalling resources  that “things felt calmer on Hoover’s watch.”  Shlaes notes that “what the public liked about Hoover was their sense of him as guardian, that he would protect them and what they had. If Hoover could win the presidential election the following year, then he might hold back whatever waters of adversity threatened.”

He did such a good job that current President Calvin Coolidge decided against another term. The flood had flooded Hoover with goodwill translating into votes. He was elected president. The flood also buoyed Huey Long who became governor of Louisiana.

So far, national politics has ignored our flooding problems. Perhaps they do so at their peril.

The flooding, of course, did not cause the Depression, but it didn’t help. With the precarious financial situation the United States finds itself in, much worse than during the flood of 1927, it’s important to pay attention to what our politicians do.


Digging Through Rubble for the Truth

The fog of war seems to have invaded the White House and media. Since the killing of Osama Bin Laden, reports have been all over the place. First, the operation was started a week ago with Bin Laden’s DNA being tested in that time period.  Then it was within 24 hours; now it’s 48 or longer.Why can’t they get the story straight?

Then yesterday there was talk of a big stock market rally as Americans rejoiced and felt confident once again. Only the reality at the end of the day showed America yawned. The Dow Jones actually dipped 3 points. Once again, pundits erred.

Then we were told it would give Obama’s campaign a big boost. The polls would show that Americans would realize he’s a good leader and his approval rating would be through the roof. Obama would be  a shoe-in for reelection> Analysts as profound as Joy Behar decided the whole 2012 election should be scrapped. She and others forgot that  Bush 41’s approval rating of 88% after the Gulf War did not win him a second term. Turns out, this morning, that Rasmussen finds “results for a single night of data collected on Monday show a modest improvement in the President’s Approval Index Rating. However, there was no improvement in the president’s Overall Approval rating.” Seems it wasn’t a silver bullet, as Obama might have expressed it.

In conjunction with this, we are told that Obama made the decision to go after Bin Laden when we got the tip on his whereabouts. But, not so fast. I’m reading a different account that sounds entirely plausible, given the president’s decision making hesitancy.

An Insider relates that there was a push to take Bin Laden out months ago. The senior White House staff resisted the efforts of Hillary Clinton, Bill Daley and Leon Panetta.  The information came from enhanced interrogation techniques used on Gitmo prisoners. Obama feared using something he had campaigned so vigorously against.

Seems the point of determination for the mission was made for Obama, not by Obama. Clinton, Daley and Panetta forced the president to engage. When the 48 hour go order was issued, Obama was told about it and had not requested it.  In fact, this person says, Obama people scrambled to abort the mission, fearing a Black Hawk Down scenario.

If you look at the picture released of officials in the War Room watching the video, you clearly see that Obama and Biden are on one side; Clinton, Daley and Gates on the other. Obama is in golf attire as if he had just been told to leave the links and take a look at this. His facial expression is not happy.

This Insider notes the whole operation was a coup within the White House and not the decisive presidential leadership presented by the media.

When a big event like this occurs, it is wise to let the dust settle before you settle on the truth. There’s a lot more to come out, it appears.

“We Got Him!”

The Navy Seals finally delivered justice to Osama Bin Laden and every American is glad.

While President Obama got to go on TV last night and announce the good news, Bin Laden’s death was brought to us courtesy of the U.S. military and the efforts of the Bush administration.

Karl Rove noted on Fox this morning that President Obama misspoke when he said he had given the orders to kill Bin Laden. That order was given by President George W. Bush  a decade earlier; it had never been rescinded.

Bush was proved right again regarding Guantanamo Bay and overseas prisons. The latest information says tips were given up on the mastermind’s whereabouts by Khalid Sheik Mohammed at Gitmo and from others in overseas prisons.

Rove applauded the capture but said, “I do think we need to step back. This is a moment of great danger for the Obama administration in that people now think that we’ve got Osama Bin Laden and this is over and the president’s already got numbers upside down on the conduct of the war in Afghanistan. He needs to now engage the American people and help them understand that as important as this was, we still have a long way to go to tear down al Qaeda and to make Afghanistan an ally in the war on terror. Now is the time that we need to redouble or efforts before we can say things are done and let’s come on home. It’s going to take presidential leadership.”

Obama has promised to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July. However, this seems premature.  After the Bush administration captured Saddam Hussein, things did not settle down in that country and are still unsteady.

What does it mean for our relationship with Pakistan? Were they helping to hide him? Evidently Bin Laden was cheeky enough to pick a home by a military school in which to live. Will Pakistan face open revolt from Islamasists?

The disarray of the Middle East at this point is also troubling. Some have likened it to the Balkans in 1914. Will Obama be adept enough to avert further wars? It’s not clear.



Words of the Week

Last week the royal wedding and beatification of Pope John Paul, plus Congress being out of session, brought fewer linguistics feasts than usual. But there were a few, once you got passed the weekend holiday that concerned “spring spheres” as the Seattle school district preferred to call Easter eggs.

President Obama used an unusual, violent metaphor in referring to our energy crisis. He discussed the rise in gas prices, saying “The truth is, there’s no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away.” Why he worked this gun imagery into gas, I don’t know, but he went on to urge Americans who drive gas guzzlers to just buy a new energy efficient cars.
It was kind of a let them eat cake moment, I thought. Usually the people driving the cheaper cars do so because they can’t afford to get a new one. Or, they have a lot of kids and need a vehicle that can carry them all to their destinations.  And, hey, aren’t we supposed to recycle rather than randomly throw working items into the landfill? I think the Prez shot himself in the foot with this silver bullet.

Then he went on to insult another group of people.

After Obama released his certificate of live birth, he criticized Donald Trump indirectly when he said: “We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.”

Politico reported that “many in the carnival community were not amused by the mention of their industry.” Indeed.

“I think that what Obama said is the same type of stereotype that has been placed on African Americans,” said Frank Zaitshik, who runs Wade Shows, a carnival with more than 100 rides attracting 15 million Americans each year. “You wouldn’t expect those comments from someone who is a minority and has faced prejudice.”

Yes, it was shocking. With the reputation politicians have, a carnival barker is a step up on the respectability scale, isn’t it?



Indoctrination? It’s Elementary

While in the car Friday I stumbled upon Glenn Beck on the radio. A little girl was singing a song she learned at school. Six year old Kyla is a first grader in a Memphis school. She launched into “Litterbug” with all the confidence of someone who has had it pounded into her head so many times that she wasn’t afraid of missing a lyric. And that was scary.

“Litterbug” was performed for Earth Day by the children of the unnamed school. It urged: “Throw out your trash before you g0-go/ You know you don’t want to hurt the ozone” and similar ideas. It  was not the song she was supposed to perform.  That one, “Earth Day Rap” was what first alarmed her mother who contacted Glenn Beck about it.”Litterbug” was just another in the school repertoire.

Mom Rachel explained how Kyla came home from school one day talking about the “Earth Day Rap” song. When mom heard the lyrics she couldn’t believe it and promptly went to the school principal. “It’s a cute song,” the principal said, “it doesn’t mean what you think it does.”

Rachel disagreed. “Recycle, bicycle, don’t drive by yourself/ don’t buy those plastic products on the supermarket shelf” and “boycott, petition, let the big business know/That if we mess it up here, there’s nowhere else we can go.”

What 6 year old would understand boycott, Rachel rightly asked? The point was to  lock them into ideas before examining them. “If I don’t stand up and do something and try to change it, they’re going to still keep doing that to other kids,” she said. Rachel has since gone to Nashville to talk to legislators there.

Beck says he wants to start a nationwide movement, including Rachel, to highlight and stop such indoctrination in the schools. No one should be surprised at this if you recall the pro Obama songs promulgated before his election. He’s right. It must stop.

Food For Thought

Blogger Instapundit (he’s a professor at UT Knoxville) reports that only four in ten Americans approve of President Obama’s handing of the economy. This makes an all time low. In addition, only 21% say the U.S. is moving in the right direction.

Does this spell trouble for Obama’s reelection? Take a look at Pennsylvania, where he won 55-44%. He’s dropped there, too. Independents there only give him a 37% approval. Instapundit related what a reader, Bill Archer, wrote to him. It’s interesting.

“As a Pennsylvania resident I can attest to the sea change in attitudes towards Barack Obama here.

It’s public, it’s palpable and it’s entirely due to inflation.

It’s astonishing to me that a bunch of guys who are supposed to be so smart think that women aren’t going to the grocery store and leaving in a state of shock, disbelief and, occasionally, panic.

And a Democrat who frightens women cannot win anything. Period.

I just started playing a sort of instant citizen poll at stores. It began a week or so ago at Sam’s Club.

I was in one of THOSE lines and ended up chatting with a well dressed middle aged woman with a cart half  full of grocery items.

I made mention of the fact that while I didn’t normally make the hike to Sam’s that with prices going up I figured I had to make the effort.

She exploded: Prices are sky high, she’s feeding three kids, eating store brands and sale items but can’t afford to stock up, on and on.

Then the lady in front of her piped in: If prices keep going up she doesn’t know what she’ll do, their budget is already at the breaking point, trying to keep  a daughter in college, off she goes.

Then a man in the next line overheard them and he jumped in: This is ridiculous, Washington is killing us, economy broken, he’s off to the races.

I thought maybe this was just a coincidence, so I’ve started the same conversation in store lines twice more in the past week and it’s exactly the same: People are frightened and everyone wants to talk about it outloud.

The interesting thing to me is that everyone used to be very reluctant to speak out in public against Obama. You were always afraid some leftie whackjob would hear you and tear into you. You know what I mean.

But now the gloves are off, people are freaking out and Obama can raise five billion dollars for his campaign and organize until the cows come home and call everyone in the country a racist until he turns blue but it’s not going to convince anyone that they’re not paying an arm and a leg for half a cart worth of food.

There is no more basic thing to people, and it’s off the hook.

I don’t see how the Republicans could possibly mess this up. ”

Sounds like an interesting strategy. Engage someone in the grocery line in Memphis and see what they think. That might be your own private poll and a better indicator than all the Gallups, Zogbys and Rasmussens.

Twisted View on Twisters

The “compassionate” people over at Think Progress say Southerners  have no one else to blame except ourselves for the tornado devastation.

Brad Johnson wrote on April 28: “Today news agencies are still tallying reports of deaths from the most devastating storm system in the United States in decades:  ‘Dozens of massive tornadoes tore a town-flattening streak across the South, killing at least 250 people in six states and forcing rescuers to carry some survivors out on makeshift stretchers of splintered debris. Two of Alabama’s major cities were among the places devastated by the deadliest twister outbreak in nearly 40 years.’

“Given that global warming is unequivocal,” climate scientist Kevin Trenberth cautioned the American Meteorological Society in January of this year, “the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming rather than the inane statements along the lines of ‘of course we cannot attribute any particular weather event to global warming.'”

The congressional delegations of these states – Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia, and Kentucky – overwhelmingly voted to reject the science that polluting the climate is dangerous. They are deliberately ignoring the warnings from scientists.